Jefferson City — When the Missouri Baptist Convention Executive Board tapped David Tolliver as its interim executive director upon the firing of David Clippard on April 10, it turned to one of the best-known activists in conservatives’ efforts to control the convention.
Tolliver, 56, served the past two years as associate executive director for the Cooperative Program, a position apparently created after he came onto the Jefferson City staff as a CP consultant, or specialist. Prior to that, he served six years as pastor of Pisgah Baptist Church in Excelsior Springs.
In 1995, Tolliver — then pastor of Oak Hill Baptist Church, St. Louis, after a merger with Calvary Baptist Church, St. Louis — was elected president of Southern Baptist Conservatives of Missouri, a group of pastors that strategized on how to achieve more influence in MBC life and gathered for fellowship and worship.
Messengers to the SBC elected him as a Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2001; last year he was elected to a second five-year term.
On April 10, Tolliver met privately with convention staffers for about half an hour to inform them of the board’s decision to fire Clippard before the announcement was made public in an afternoon open session of the Executive Board.
In a brief interview, Tolliver said he plans to continue the MBC’s evangelism and church planting focus.
“This is another time of life that I feel like…I’m not ready for the task,” he said. “My goal is to have staff and convention unification, to unify the staff and to work for unifying the convention.”
In 1992, Tolliver was elected to the Southern Baptist Convention’s powerful Executive Committee and served two four-year terms. He was elected president of the Missouri Baptist Pastors Conference in 1999.
Messengers elected Tolliver as MBC recording secretary in 2001 and as president two years later.
Tolliver, a graduate of Dallas Baptist University and Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, began his ministry in 1986 as pastor of Friendship Baptist Church in California.