Missouri Baptist Convention associate executive director Larry Thomas has accepted an extended sabbatical leave from his duties effective July 15. The leave will last until Thomas' official retirement at the end of the year.
"I have no regrets," Thomas said in a brief telephone interview. "Through the years, I have had many opportunities to serve Missouri Baptists."
A 20-year MBC veteran, Thomas served first as director-elect for stewardship, then as director of the Cooperative Program and stewardship areas. In 1986, he was named director for church services. He became the ministry support group leader under MBC's New Directions organizational structure in 2000.
Thomas was named associate executive director for support services as part of MBC executive director David Clippard's reorganization plan in January 2003.
According to several sources, support service functions will be divided among other departments. The controller's office, placed under support services as part of the 2003 reorganization, will report directly to the executive director as it did under New Directions.
In the past, Thomas served as pastor and youth director in several Missouri churches, including nine years as pastor of First Baptist Church, Moberly. He left First Baptist in 1984 to begin work at the Baptist Building in Jefferson City.
A Marshall native, Thomas earned a bachelor of arts degree at William Jewell College and a master of divinity degree at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has been active as a supply and interim pastor throughout his ministry. Thomas plans to continue to serve in that capacity and will be available to the convention as a consultant until his retirement.
"I will continue the supply and interim work, and I will continue to support Missouri Baptists," he said.
Thomas and his wife, Janet, plan to settle in Lee's Summit at the end of the year.