Advance Magazine
Fall 2020

A Tribute to Dr. Vernon Rosenau

No other Baptist Mid-Missions president came to his position with more experience than Dr. Vernon Rosenau. Having grown up as a BMM MK in the Central African Republic, he and his wife, Jan, served there for 22 years. In 1999, Dr. Rosenau began a 15-year tenure as BMM’s Field Administrator for Africa and Europe, a position he held until beginning his presidency in 2016.

Vernon Rosenau on a 2006 survey trip to Cameroon
Vernon Rosenau, Dan Seely, and Steve Gault on a 2006 survey trip to Cameroon

Dr. Rosenau’s field administration successor, Steve Gault, has said, “It has been a blessing to have a former missionary in the office of president. Being that he has lived the missionary life, he is so capable of understanding missionaries’ needs.” That understanding was woven into every decision he made. The most familiar phrase missionaries heard in his video newsletters was, “Take care of yourself.” Vernon has long understood that missionary burnout and unresolved relational problems lead to missionary attrition. As field administrator, he instituted the European Enrichment conferences (later expanded to include Africa). BMM’s European Coordinator, Ken Houghton said, “He revealed his heart and concern for missionaries when he stated the conference’s purposes as spiritual enrichment, physical renewal, and cross-pollination of ministries.” As president, Dr. Rosenau established the groundbreaking Safe Haven Department within BMM. Dr. Jeff and Sherry Newman (see their appointee article) will function as Safe Haven counselors to confidentially meet the BMM Family’s needs.

Ken Houghten and Vernon Rosenau in England
Ken Houghten and Vernon Rosenau in England

Prior to his presidency, Dr. Rosenau served as coordinator of BMM’s Strategic Planning Initiative. This experience gave him a big-picture perspective that served him well in his presidency. He understood the need for missionary teams to cast a greater vision for their fields and work together to do even more for the gospel. His foresight also brought necessary updates to the BMM Home Office that have given us improved internet and phone services for greater efficiency, and needed parking lot repairs and office remodeling to reflect a unified, forward-thinking direction for BMM.

President Emeritus Gary Anderson noted that, as a third-generation BMM servant, Dr. Rosenau represents an unbroken tie to BMM’s original six missionaries. He is the president who led us to our 100th anniversary year, and no other president could represent BMM’s legacy so well. His heart was not only to rejoice over God’s past accomplishments through BMM but also to strategize and move vigorously toward future missions frontiers.

Vernon Rosenau leading the 2015 European Enrichment Conference
Vernon Rosenau leading the 2015 European Enrichment Conference

Dr. Rosenau accomplished much in his tenure. Dr. Dan Dickerson, BMM Council member and longtime friend, summed up his legacy: “His life is an excellent example of a man who so abides in Christ that, according to John 15, he bears much fruit that remains to the glory of God the Father!”

Fall20 Rosenau Malipou
Vernon Rosenau and his “Timothy,” Central African Republic pastor and FIBAT Seminary leader René Malipou

“His insights into people, big-picture needs, building relationships, being creative to do things in fresh and effective ways for the cause of Christ has moved the Mission forward during the years of his excellent leadership.”

Dr. Dan Dickerson

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