Creating the Future: A Tribute to R. Cal Guy -- By: Avery T. Willis, Jr.

Journal: Faith and Mission
Volume: FM 15:1 (Fall 1997)
Article: Creating the Future: A Tribute to R. Cal Guy
Author: Avery T. Willis, Jr.


Creating the Future: A Tribute to R. Cal Guy

Avery T. Willis, Jr.

Vice President for International Affairs
International Mission Board
Southern Baptist Convention
3806 Monument Avenue
Richmond, Virginia 23230

The International Mission Board, SBC, made sweeping, radical changes in its overseas operations in 1997 which has been publicized in many publications. In this article, the Senior Vice President of Overseas Operations, Avery Willis, shares the vision which is driving its new directions. R. Cal Guy, whom this volume honors, serves as a trustee of the IMB and has challenged the board to be willing to make bold changes. Willis pays tribute to Guy before spelling out the new paradigm, which he says Guy has influenced greatly.

Vision, passion, and strategy describe R. Cal Guy and his almost half century of involvement in missions. More than any other person, he has influenced the development of strategy as an integral part of the International Mission Board. This article is a tribute to him but more than that it is the expression of what the International Mission Board is doing to create the future following its reorganization and revitalization of 1997. The changes are a tribute to his insistence on using strategy to reach the world for Christ.

Guy has taught missions and mission strategy to approximately half of the missionaries of the International Mission Board. His students have risen to leadership in the last quarter of the twentieth century and have greatly effected the way the International Mission Board will enter the third millennium. The past two presidents of the International Mission Board (formerly Foreign Mission Board), R. Keith Parks and Jerry Rankin, were students of Guy, and basically followed his approach to strategy. His greatest influence has come through his teaching of missions at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and other schools since his retirement, his fervent preaching, and in his latter years, his role as a trustee of the International Mission Board.

Guy greatly impacted my life and has influenced my involvement in developing strategy both on the field and at the International Mission Board. I first heard him speak when I was a freshman in college. He so challenged me with that message that I immediately began to give a second tithe to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for Foreign Missions. An interview following the message had far reaching effect on how I led churches in missionary outreach.

As a seminary student, I was sometimes provoked by Guy’s criticism of FMB leadership and missionaries, but I was captured by his vision and passion for winning the world to Christ. I selected him as my major professor for

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