A third senior-level administrator is leaving the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship since last fall’s retirement announcement by longtime CEO Daniel Vestal.

By Bob Allen

Ben McDade, coordinator of Fellowship advancement, is stepping down July 31 after 10 years of heading the Atlanta-based CBF’s communications, marketing and development efforts to become executive vice president for Baptists Today.

ben mcdadeHis departure comes on the heels of the June 30 retirement of Terry Hamrick, coordinator of missional visioning, announced weeks after last fall’s announcement by CBF Executive Coordinator Daniel Vestal that he was retiring after 15 years. In March, Global Missions Coordinator Rob Nash resigned after six years to teach at McAfee School of Theology.

In his newly created role, McDade, 51, will be responsible for development and marketing both for the independent national newspaper founded in 1983 as SBC Today and its new publishing subsidiary, Nurturing Faith.

“Ben brings the right gifts, experience and energy to Baptists Today at just the right time as we grow and expand our ministry,” said John Pierce, Baptists Today editor. “He will be a vital part of a dynamic team of talented and committed people with whom I’m privileged to work.”

McDade, a who has both bachelor and master’s degrees in communications from the University of South Carolina, joined the CBF staff as a private consultant before being elected director of communications in 2002. In 2009 he assumed chief development officer responsibilities and his department was re-named to encompass communications, marketing and development.

He worked previously as vice president for university relations and marketing at Mercer University, 1996-2001; vice president for marketing and communications at Smyth and Helwys Publishing, 1994-1996; and associate director for communications and marketing at the South Carolina Baptist Convention, 1982-1994.

“My 10 years at CBF have been among the most rewarding and challenging days of my career,” McDade said. “It has been a joy to be a part of the CBF community as it has gained stature across the greater Baptist landscape, and more importantly as together we have sought to assist churches and individuals as they work to more faithfully live into their part of God’s work on earth. I leave to pursue a new challenge while CBF is poised for a bright and impactful future.”

CBF Interim Executive Coordinator Pat Anderson credited McDade for tireless efforts to help the Fellowship maintain its financial footing during a slipping economy. “We will never know how much more difficult these days would have been for CBF without Ben’s energy, leadership and passion,” Anderson said.

After his retirement June 30, Vestal, 67, took a new job as director of Mercer University’s new Eula Mae and John Baugh Center for Baptist Leadership, endowed by a $2.5 million grant from the Eula Mae and John Baugh Foundation.

A search committee led by Dallas pastor George Mason is in the process of finding a successor to Vestal. Jim Smith, a veteran of CBF global missions, is serving as interim coordinator of that department with a search for a permanent leader expected to begin this fall. The position vacated by Hamrick is being evaluated in light of a two-year revisioning process by the 2012 Task Force that will begin to be implemented this year.

Two members of the permanent CBF leadership team remain — Connie McNeill, coordinator of administration since 2005, and Bo Prosser, coordinator of missional congregations since 2002.

With reporting by Lance Wallace of CBF communications