Why I Think the IMB's Greatest Days Are Ahead


Why I Think The IMB’s Greatest Days Are Ahead

This past spring, while sitting outside a Circle S station in Tell City, Indiana, awaiting our second service, I asked our guest speaker that day to consider accepting the role of President of the International Mission Board should it be offered. While no clouds scrolled back from the sky, nor did the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove upon our Chevy Suburban, I did sense the presence of God’s anointing on a man obviously burdened to reach the nations with the gospel. Yesterday, that guest speaker was announced as the official candidate for the IMB. 

I’m doubtful there will ever be a monument laid at that gas pump, but I do believe the election of Paul Chitwood will eternally impact the kingdom far more than any ballot cast during yesterday’s midterms. That prediction is true for a number of reasons:


Having worked closely with Paul on a variety of denominational issues within our Commonwealth, I’ve seen him interact with numerous people both inside and outside church walls, pastors large and small, intellectuals and everyday Joes, and what I’ve found is "Dr. C” has a unique gift to connect with people from all walks of life. In fact, I’d say he’s as gifted in that area as anyone I’ve ever met. Seminary professors, missionaries on the field, denominational influencers, whoever: I’ve observed him break down barriers on multiple occasions in order to foster understanding. With a denomination as diverse as ours, that kind of relational insight will be invaluable whether or in Richmond or Riyadh, Nashville or Naples.


While our political world seems devoid of statesmen during this time, I believe our Southern Baptist sphere has just nominated one of the best in a generation. Dr. Chitwood possesses an innate sense of how to articulate the times in which we live to brothers and sisters across the denominational spectrum. Even when conversations become necessarily difficult, Paul has time and again called us back to our mission as heralds of the good news. Imagine someone with advanced governmental and administrative abilities coupled with a skill set to communicate complex issues in a simple way: now imagine that individual merged with a kingdom heart. That’s Paul Chitwood.


From humble beginnings in the foothills of Jellico, Tennessee, God has set Paul Chitwood on a path only the Lord could have paved. At every stop along the way, from trustee chair to foster care, he has supported the mission of our Lord through the strategy of our Cooperative Program, the idea that we are better together. No one is a greater champion of SBC causes than Dr. C. I believe God has raised him up for such a time as this.

While I’m sad for our Commonwealth, I’m excited for the nations. Let them be glad, because an effectual calling is coming their way.

Barry E. Fields

All Things New is the preaching and teaching ministry of Barry E. Fields, pastor of Hawesville Baptist Church, a regional congregation on the Ohio River with two campuses in Kentucky (Hawesville) & Indiana (Crossroads Tell City) and membership in five counties.

Originally from Bowling Green, he grew up at Glendale Baptist Church under the ministry of Pastor Richard Oldham, competed for Western Kentucky University's nationally recognized speech and debate team before receiving a B.A. in History in 2007, completed an M.Div. from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville in 2010, a Th.M. in 2012, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Homiletics and Church History at Southern, serving as Garrett Fellow to Dr. Hershael York from July 2012-December 2014. He has also taught theology and church history as an adjunct instructor for Campbellsville University. Before coming to his present ministry, he was pastor of Mt. Tabor Baptist Church in Buffalo, Kentucky, for almost 5 years.

Active in denominational life, Barry currently serves on the Southern Baptist Convention's Young Leaders Advisory Council, a small group of pastors and ministry leaders seeking to engage the next generation in cooperative missions and ministry; recently completed a term on the SBC's Committee on Committees; currently represents the Blackford Breckinridge Baptist Association on the Kentucky Baptist Convention's Executive Mission Board; and has served on the KBC's Committee on Nominations, as well as several associational roles.

In his free time, he enjoys reading history and politics, listening to WKYU's Barren River Breakdown (Bluegrass and folk music) along with a variety of podcasts, as well as watching historical and political documentaries and the Andy Griffith show. Barry has a desire to help people fulfill the Great Commission through the Great Commandments: by showing the love of Christ, we can better share the love of Christ, and make disciples of all nations. And just so you know, he bleeds BLUE (UK Basketball)!