Brown appointed Baptist World Alliance general secretary

Contributed

Family is important to former Burnet Countian Elijah Brown, recently appointed to the post of general secretary of the Baptist World Alliance. He and his wife Amy have three children, from left, daughters Keziah and Sahara, and oldest son Hudson.

By Richard Zowie

The Highlander

In his childhood, Elijah Brown lived in Buchanan Dam and Granite Shoals before attending Marble Falls schools. When his father became pastor of First Baptist Church in Bertram, Brown finished his high school education at Burnet High School, where he graduated in 1999.

It was a joy to grow up in this area,” said Brown, who currently serves in Washington D.C. as the executive vice president of the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative, which focuses on international religious freedom.

On July 7, the Baptist World Alliance’s general council at a meeting in Bangkok elected him to serve as the next general secretary.

Brown will begin serving this position on Jan. 1, 2018.

I am grateful and deeply humbled by this opportunity and look forward with excitement to serving as the ninth general secretary of the BWA, which was first formed in London in 1905,” said Brown, who replaces Jamaica’s Dr. Neville Callam (who has led BWA since 2007). “I am deeply honored to have been asked to transition into this role. It is a humbling experience. I have much to learn and am grateful for the opportunity to continue to move forward in partnership with individuals from across the Hill Country and around the world.”

Chris Liebrum with the Baptist General Convention of Texas told the Baptist Standard that Brown “will make a historic impact” as general secretary of the worldwide Baptist alliance.

I have known Elijah since 2007, when he was part of an international emerging leaders group I had the privilege to lead. I saw in him maturity, intelligence and a passion for a lost world,” Liebrum said to the Standard. “Through the years, I have seen all of those qualities broaden and deepen in him. I truly believe his youthful maturity and his in-depth international experience will be a unique gift to the work of the Baptist World Alliance.”

Previously in October 2016, Brown also became the general secretary of the North American Baptist Fellowship (NABF), one of the six regions of the BWA.

Brown described BWA, located in Falls Church, Virginia, as a network of 235 member bodies from across 122 countries and territories, representing 45 million believers and 169,000 churches.

As I move into this role, I am hopeful that I will be able to bring some of the values and work ethic I first learned in the Texas Hill Country to stand with believers all over the world, many of whom live in the midst of difficult situations,” he said. “Seventy-eight percent of all Baptists in the world, around 35 million individuals, live in contexts where they daily face religious restrictions or social hostilities because of their deeply held religious convictions. This includes Baptists from Syria to Sudan, Cuba and to India.”

Brown returned July 14 from a week in northern Myanmar, where they met with officials at the U.S. Embassy in efforts to try to release two imprisoned Baptist pastors, Pastor Seng and Pastor Lat.

In addition, there are, for example, more individuals facing declared famines in the world today than at any point since World War II,” Brown said. “Earlier this year I was in Somalia and was shocked to hear that in the most deeply impacted areas more than 50 percent of all of the livestock in those areas have died in this year alone and that the number of children facing extreme malnutrition has doubled since this January. We must do all that we can to address these and other challenging circumstances around the world. But it is also a reminder that many of these individuals also have much to teach us: lessons about faith, hard work, and community relationships that support one another.”

Brown sees part of his responsibility at the BWA is to be an encouragement to conventions, churches and individuals alike, so they can use his and other Christians’ prayers, voices, and skill sets “as agents yielded in pursuit of transformation.”

In this globalized world, each and every one of us really can make a difference,” he said. “In the midst of all of the ups and downs, I know that my life has been deeply shaped by the values, work ethic and relationships that permeate the Hill Country. To the many across the region who invested in me during those early formative years, thank you. I am honored to continue to carry forward the investments, education, relationships and the shaping of faith that I received in the Hill Country. I would love to continue to connect with many across the region and hope to keep the conversations and relationships ongoing on Facebook.”

Brown and his wife, Amy, have been married for almost 15 years and have three children: Hudson, Sahara and Keziah. He is on Facebook as Elijah Brown and on Twitter as @elijahbrown.

He earned his undergraduate degree in religion and history from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and a PhD Degree in world Christianity from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.

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