Stephen Reeves, former director of public policy for the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission, has been elected executive director of Fellowship Southwest.
Reeves will succeed Marv Knox, who founded the ecumenical network affiliated with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship in 2017. Fellowship Southwest encompasses Arizona, New Mexico, Northern Mexico, Oklahoma, Southern California and Texas.
Reeves, an attorney, began working with CBF’s advocacy program in 2013 after serving with the Texas CLC in Austin. Previously, he was staff attorney for the Washington-based Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty.
In addition to leading Fellowship Southwest, Reeves will continue to direct CBF advocacy. CBF will provide financial compensation to enable Fellowship Southwest to hire an associate coordinator.
The move will bring Reeves from the CBF headquarters in Georgia back to his home region, where he grew up, was educated and worked much of his career.
‘Take the movement to new heights’
Michael Mills, chair of the Fellowship Southwest search committee and pastor of Agape Baptist Church in Fort Worth, expressed confidence Reeves will “stand on the shoulders” of the organization’s founding executive director and “take the movement to new heights.”
“We began our search by looking for a candidate with a compassionate and enduring heart, an entrepreneurial and adaptive mind, a collaborative and ecumenical spirit, and the experience to boot. We have found all this and more in Stephen Reeves,” Mills said.
Reeves expressed excitement about the opportunity to lead Fellowship Southwest.
“I am thrilled and humbled that the search team and board are giving me the opportunity to lead Fellowship Southwest into the future,” he said. “I believe deeply in the power and potential of this ecumenical, multi-racial Christian witness in the Southwest committed to cooperative and compassionate missions and advocacy.”
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Reeves said he considers it “an honor to build upon the strong foundation laid over the last four years.”
“I look forward to strengthening our congregational ties beyond our corner of the Baptist world as well as working with my CBF colleagues in the region,” he said. “And I’m proud of the progress we’ve made in CBF advocacy in the last seven years and delighted to continue providing leadership at a national level even as I bring more advocacy experience to Fellowship Southwest.”
Fellowship Southwest ‘at a critical juncture’
Meredith Stone, chair of the Fellowship Southwest board, affirmed the wisdom of naming Reeves to the leadership role at this point in the organization’s history.
“Fellowship Southwest is at a critical juncture as we are continuing our ministries in association with CBF Global while also taking steps and aspiring toward greater ecumenical partnerships within the Southwest,” said Stone, executive director of Baptist Women in Ministry. “Stephen Reeves is a proven leader in relationship building and ecumenical collaboration, which makes him an ideal choice to lead Fellowship Southwest into its next phase of ministry.
“Stephen’s experience, familiarity and connectedness within the Southwest region and his commitment to making the world a more just, equitable and compassionate place will serve Fellowship Southwest well in the years ahead.”
Knox expressed delight with Fellowship Southwest’s choice for its next leader.
“Stephen knows and loves the Southwest, and his heart beats for our vast and varied region,” Knox said. “He’s already familiar with our network, and he understands the issues—such as immigration, education and church vitality—central to our ministry and to our future.
“Stephen’s extensive advocacy connections will enable Fellowship Southwest to more than fulfill our aspiration to be a vibrant ecumenical organization. And he shares our values, so he will keep us faithful, agile and kind.”
Reeves’ tenure will begin March 15. To ensure leadership continuity, the Eula Mae and John Baugh Foundation has provided a grant that will enable Reeves and Knox to work together until Knox’s retirement later this year.
CBF Executive Coordinator Paul Baxley praised Fellowship Southwest’s selection of Reeves.
“Fellowship Southwest has made a remarkable decision in calling Stephen Reeves to serve as executive director,” Baxley said. “He is uniquely suited to lead Fellowship Southwest’s continued growth in public witness, ecumenical ministry and shared mission in the Southwest.”
Back home again
Reeves, who grew up in Austin, is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and the Texas Tech University School of Law. He is proficient in Spanish and is a member of the State Bar of Texas.
He serves on the boards of the Baptist Joint Committee and Passport Camps, as well as the strategic advisory board of Good Faith Media and the Baptist World Alliance Commission on Racial, Gender and Economic Justice. He is co-chair of the Center for Responsible Lending’s Faith & Credit Roundtable. He is a former board member of Christians for Environmental Stewardship and Stop Predatory Gambling.
He also served in youth ministry positions for churches in Virginia and Texas.
Reeves’ wife, Deborah, is an ordained chaplain. They are the parents of three children—Kellyn, Garrett and Landry.