VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 10/1/12)—Rev. Dr. Sumner M. Grant announced his retirement from The Ministers and Missionaries Benefit Board (MMBB) on September 21, 2012. Grant will serve as executive director of MMBB until a successor is named.
Executive director since 1998, Grant initially joined MMBB’s staff as assistant treasurer; in 1993 he was elected treasurer. Before joining MMBB, Grant served as executive director and treasurer of American Baptist Churches of New York State, and previously as the senior pastor at churches in New Hampshire and Maine for more than 15 years.
“I have reached this decision after much prayer and thought,” said Grant. “It has been an honor to serve as leader of MMBB—the highest of privileges. It has allowed me the exceptional opportunity to give back to the Board a portion of that which it has given so generously to me and my family.”
A graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (B.D., summa cum laude) and Gordon College (B.A.), Grant completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard University’s School of Business Administration. In 2002, he received an honorary doctor of divinity degree from Franklin College.
“Sumner has been the face of MMBB for most of the last two decades, and his unprecedented leadership ability, his broad vision, his interpersonal skills, and his strong focus on ‘the better maintenance of the ministry’ has established a united ministry for the MMBB staff and Board. Thousands of churches, pastors, lay staff and their families have benefitted from the implementation of this ministry,” commented Rev. Dr. George H. Tooze Jr., President, MMBB Board of Managers.
Grant saw MMBB through many changes. In order to meet the demographic challenges of the retiring baby boom generation, he opened MMBB’s membership to other Baptist denominations as well as all congregationally organized churches. He initiated a growth strategy to increase MMBB’s membership. He was also instrumental in the passage of the
American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA) organizational reforms.
“During my tenure as general secretary of ABCUSA, I have often relied on Sumner’s counsel,” said Rev. Dr. A. Roy Medley. “He has been a strong leader and advocate for providing much needed benefits to those in need. Finding a new leader always brings a new adventure, but we have faith that the future for MMBB and ABCUSA is as bright as the promises of God.”
The MMBB Board of Managers has a succession plan in place that will be implemented immediately. A comprehensive national search will occur to find the best leadership possible for the future of MMBB.
Initially focused on institutions associated with the Northern Baptist Convention (later renamed the American Baptist Convention and then American Baptist Churches USA), MMBB now offers benefits to any church or faith-based organization with similar faith and practice of ABCUSA.
A non-profit Christian organization, The Ministers and Missionaries Benefit Board (MMBB) has served churches and faith-based organizations since 1911. With a strong expertise of the ministry and its complex tax laws and other financial issues, MMBB serves more than 17,000 members across a wide range of denominations, offering “one-stop shopping” for employees including retirement, life, disability, medical and dental plans—to ensure that employers and their employees have sound peace of mind and financial security.
American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with 5,500 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.