The Baptist Center for Ethics' board of directors unanimously approved R. Mitch Randall as BCE's new executive director.
Randall will begin his tenure Jan. 1, 2018, becoming only the second executive director in the organization's 26-year history. He follows the tenure of BCE's founder, Robert Parham, who died in March 2017.
BCE's search committee recommended Randall as the next executive director After a rigorous search and interview process. The recommendation was approved by the board of directors in mid-October.
"In 1991, Robert Parham extended an important movement within Baptist life that informed and challenged goodwill Baptists to analyze, evaluate and address vital ethical issues within our culture," Randall said. "It's upon that solid foundation that I now have the distinct honor of working as the new executive director of the Baptist Center for Ethics."
"The BCE staff and board of directors have been outstanding during this process, encouraging Missy and me every step of the way," he continued. "Therefore, it is with a humble heart and a gentle spirit I accept this new challenge to lead this exceptional organization."
Randall is currently pastor of NorthHaven Church in Norman, Oklahoma, a position he has held since December 2006. A native Oklahoman, he pastored churches in Nickerson, Kansas; North Richland Hills, Texas; and Bedford, Texas, previously.
"Mitch Randall has had a long history of social justice work in Oklahoma. He's a true, courageous leader. He's made a tremendous difference in our state. And he's done it the right way, with patience, integrity and tolerance and respect for others," said Brad Henry, governor of Oklahoma from 2003 to 2011.
"I'm grateful Randall is now willing to focus his passion, vision and skills to advance the common good throughout our nation and world," Gov. Henry added. "I can think of no one better to lead the Baptist Center for Ethics, and I wish him the very best."
Randall holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Northeastern State University, a master of divinity with biblical languages from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a doctor of ministry degree from George W. Truett Theological Seminary.
He is a longtime BCE contributor and supporter. He appeared in the 2009 EthicsDaily.com documentary, "Different Books, Common Word: Baptists and Muslims," and he has contributed articles to EthicsDaily.com since 2010.
"Mitch Randall brings experience, energy and vision to the leadership position of BCE," said Suzii Paynter, executive coordinator at the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. "Picking up a strong legacy, he will forge a new bright future for BCE."
Randall is committed to upholding Baptist traditions while building ecumenical relationships with other Christians and other people of faith.
"Mitch Randall takes following Jesus seriously, and he makes following him following Jesus an adventure worth taking together," said George Mason, pastor of Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas.
Randall has served on many committees and boards for various Baptist and civic organizations, including service as the 2012-13 chair of the board of directors for the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty in Washington, D.C. He later served as the 2016-17 co-chair of the Religious Liberty Council.
"Mitch Randall is a terrific fit to lead the Baptist Center for Ethics," said Amanda Tyler, executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty. "He is a passionate advocate and has demonstrated for years that his ministry extends beyond the walls of the church building into public conversations to promote justice."
She added, "He has been a strong leader for religious liberty for all: engaging interfaith partners, taking tough but principled positions and using his good humor and excellent relationship-building skills to bring people together."
"Mitch Randall is just the right person to be the next executive director at BCE," said Jackie Baugh Moore, vice president of the Eula Mae and John Baugh Foundation. "Smart, creative, compassionate and wise, he is a man of integrity and is able to lead productive discussions on significant issues."
Kevin Heifner, chair of BCE's board of directors, said, "BCE's board believes our country and world need the organization now more than ever and is confident in Mitch's ability to lead the organization into a bright future."
Randall is married to Missy, and they have two sons, Cole and Tanner. In his free time, he likes reading, watching movies with his sons, jogging, photography, listening to jazz and enjoying time with friends.
"Missy and I would like to thank the board of directors and BCE supporters for their trust and encouragement as we begin this new season of ministry. We are extremely excited about the future," Randall said. "However, we would be remiss if we did not take time to express our deep appreciation and love to NorthHaven Church, as they have loved and cared for our family for the last 11 years."
"NorthHaven has been a tremendous support and encouragement, even as we make this new transition in life. They are a tremendous church, like so many others, that truly demonstrates the love of Jesus to those that lead them," he continued. "Thank you, NorthHaven, for allowing a pastor to find and shape his voice. That voice will now be used to inform, inspire and empower others with a Jesus-ethic of loving others and practicing social justice."