VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 11/17/17)—In a special called meeting on November 11, 2017, the Executive Board of the West Virginia Baptist Convention, acting on the recommendation of the Executive Minister Search Committee, voted to hire Dr. Michael B. Sisson as the Executive Minister for the West Virginia Baptist Convention. Sisson will begin his duties on April 1, 2018. Until that time, Dr. Michael Stephens will continue in the interim role.
Sisson is currently the senior pastor of Crab Orchard Baptist Church (Greenbrier-Raleigh). He has served in that position for eight years. Prior to coming to Crab Orchard, he served the pastorates of Sutton Baptist Church (Elk Valley) and New Life Baptist Church in Shady Spring.
“After exemplary service in numerous roles in the West Virginia Baptist Convention, we are so excited that Dr. Sisson has agreed to serve as Executive Minister of the region,” said David Hoge, president of the West Virginia Baptist Convention and a member of the Search Committee. “Mike brings extensive experience as a pastor, teacher, administrator, and friend which will help ensure that the WVBC continues to fulfill its mission. The Search Committee is so appreciative of the many people, including our greater ABCUSA family, who offered prayers and insight as we worked through the discernment and selection process.”
“On behalf of the entire ABCUSA family, I am delighted to congratulate Rev. Dr. Michael B. Sisson on his call to serve as the next Executive Minister of the West Virginia Baptist Convention,” said ABCUSA General Secretary Lee B. Spitzer. “Michael brings a wealth of pastoral and educational experience to this leadership role, and I believe God will bless his next journey in West Virginia, which I have personally experienced to be a vibrant and exciting American Baptist region.”
Sisson earned his Master of Divinity from Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he received the Wilbur T. Elmore Prize in Church History and earned his Doctor of Ministry in Renewal of the Church for Mission from Palmer Theological Seminary.
Sisson’s leadership experience includes having served as the president of the West Virginia Baptist Convention and the president of Pastors4Pastors: The West Virginia Baptist Ministers’ Council. Sisson currently serves as chair of the West Virginia Baptist Convention School of Christian Studies and on the Board of Admissions for the Palmer Seminary Doctor of Ministry in Contextual Leadership. He has served on many boards and committees within the West Virginia Baptist Convention including the Committee on Ministerial Standing, Baptist Campus Ministries Board and the Executive Board as well as various committees and working groups.
Sisson is an adjunct professor for the Palmer Theological Seminary, teaching courses in the Doctor of Ministry and Master of Divinity academic programs. He has developed and led seminars and workshops on a variety of topics including Church Transformation, Leadership, Ministry Team Building and Visioning as an array of venues. He teaches regularly in the West Virginia Baptist Convention School of Christian Studies.
Sisson’s passion for ministry is directed toward the transformation and strengthening of the local church. He strives to use the gifts God has equipped him with as leader, teacher and communicator to assist the local church and its leaders to become missional-minded, intentionally sharing the love of God and the message of hope found in Jesus Christ in their local communities.
Sisson said, “I am deeply humbled by the opportunity to serve the West Virginia Baptist Convention and appreciate all the prayers and encouraging words I have already received. It was the early Baptist Missionary, William Carey, who is quoted as saying, “Attempt great things for God; expect great things from God.” These words no doubt formed his ministry and mission as he stepped onto an unknown mission field in India and as he undertook the monumental task of translating the Bible into at least seven new languages. Carey’s words describe the excitement and anticipation I feel as I look forward to working with a gifted Convention staff in serving the many wonderful churches of the West Virginia Baptist Convention! We worship a God of endless possibility, expectantly looking to Him to guide us into the future.”
Sisson currently resides in Crab Orchard, with his wife of 34 years, Lorie, their dog, Abby and cat, Sam.
Past president and chair of the Search Committee, Mark Wood said, “The search committee is grateful for the prayers of our West Virginia Baptist Convention family and we are excited about what Dr. Sisson will bring to the life and ministry of the West Virginia Baptist Convention.” Current president, David Hoge said, “As part of the selection process, the Search Committee listened to many different groups and individuals, and gathered considerable information about future opportunities for the WVBC. Thank you for the very robust input to helping us select a new Executive Minister, and know the Executive Committee will use this information to guide our future.”
The West Virginia Baptist Convention has 371 churches in the state and is involved in ministry around the world through International Ministries and its mission partnerships.
American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with approximately 5,000 congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.