On November 5, 2015, Baptist Mid-Missions’ Elected Council was pleased to announce Rev. Vernon Rosenau as the successor to Dr. Gary Anderson, who served 26 years as our president until his retirement at the end of 2015. Rev. Rosenau stepped into the role of president on January 1, 2016.
Rev. Rosenau is Baptist Mid-Missions’ fourth full-time president and eighth president overall. We are exceedingly grateful for Dr. Anderson’s exceptional leadership marked by wisdom, faithfulness, and a shepherd’s heart. He leaves behind a strong legacy for Rev. Rosenau to build upon. On January 1, 2016, Dr. Anderson became President Emeritus and, as a representative of Baptist Mid-Missions, he is available for speaking engagements (contact firstname.lastname@example.org).
Our sincere thanks also goes out to our Leadership Succession Committee who put in many hours of prayerful, conscientious work over the past 18 months. Dr. Anderson said, “The Committee refused to simply land on the ‘best available candidate.’ They insisted that their candidate had to be God’s choice.They are bringing to you a man of genuine godly character and spiritual discernment who will bring fresh leadership to the Mission.”
Introducing Vernon Rosenau
Numerous factors caused Rev. Rosenau to stand out among many worthy candidates for Baptist Mid-Missions’ next leader. His roots in Baptist Mid-Missions are anchored to our very beginning. His grandparents, Ferd and Ina Rosenau, were recruited by our founder, William Haas, and served in our first missionary team in Central African Republic (CAR). Rev. Rosenau grew up an MK in CAR, where his parents, uncle, and aunt also served.
He became a third-generation CAR missionary when he and his wife, Jan, joined Baptist Mid-Missions in 1975. He embraced the challenge of teaching at Sibut Baptist Bible School. Moving into an administrative role, he saw the Lord double the school’s enrollment. Attuned to changes on the African continent, Rev. Rosenau pursued a master’s degree to help the school advance and retain legitimacy in Africa, where academic levels were advancing.
During their second term, Rev. Rosenau was elected field president. Another strength emerged in him: being a mediator and bringing others to common ground. He found it greatly fulfilling to watch people move toward shared goals and objectives.
A heart for nationals
God brought further experiences into the Rosenaus’ lives that prepared them for his new role as president. As missionaries retired around them, Rev. Rosenau realized he could not carry the load alone. “God taught me a ministry lesson through this,” he said. “Find a Timothy, pour yourself into him, and let him climb up on your shoulders and reach higher than you ever could in ministry.” Today his Timothy, Dr. Rene Malipou, serves as codirector of the graduate school of theology in CAR. Rev. Rosenau said, “There has been no greater joy in my ministry years than to watch Rene and his wife grow and develop.”
In the late 1990s, civil war in CAR kept the Rosenau family, including their children Julie, Sam, and Bill, from returning to CAR after furlough. As they awaited God’s direction, Rev. Rosenau became convinced they should not return to Africa. It was time for them to get out of the way and let God use the Africans in wonderful ways. He said, “We grieved leaving Africa but, as is so true with our God, He has brought us into ministry opportunities that are beyond our dreams.” In 1999, he was invited to be Baptist Mid-Missions’ field administrator for Africa and Europe.
Passionate about missionaries
During his tenure as field administrator, Rev. Rosenau oversaw the addition of four new fields in Africa and Europe. His leadership is firmly grounded in biblical fundamentals yet innovative in approach. Because of his own missionary experiences, he became passionate about member care: addressing missionaries’ spiritual and physical needs to enhance their ministries and to safeguard them from burnout. His European Enrichment conferences have been duplicated on many of Baptist Mid-Missions’ fields. When Baptist Mid-Missions launched its Strategic Planning Initiative, Rev. Rosenau helped craft the plans and was chosen to be their facilitator. These culturally insightful, forward-thinking strategies are helping missionary teams plant strong churches that continue long after the missionaries’ work is done.
A deep-seated respect for God’s work
Rev. Rosenau has earned the respect and trust of missionaries and BMM staff alike. Dr. Anderson fully supports his presidency as well: “He has a deep-seated respect for God’s work in and through the Mission, which suits him exceedingly well to lead. He has been a shepherd to young and old alike, constantly emphasizing generational interdependence on all of his fields. Vernon will move the Mission forward from his first day in office.”