DALLAS—Texas Baptists have a story worth telling—“preaching grace and doing good”—newly elected Executive Director David Hardage said, and he looks forward to communicating that message.
At a called meeting January 12, the Baptist General Convention of Texas Executive Board elected Hardage by a 69-1 vote as executive director, effective Feb. 1.
Hardage—a veteran Texas Baptist pastor, associational leader and seminary development officer—succeeds Randel Everett, who became pastor of First Baptist Church in Midland one year ago.
In an interview soon after his election, Hardage cited as a key challenge for the immediate future “reenergizing Texas Baptists in cooperative missions.”
As soon as his nomination for the executive director’s position was announced, Hardage noted, he began hearing from Texas Baptists who expressed their opinions about what the BGCT and its Executive Board staff need to do.
“There is not any shortage of ideas,” he said. “We need to let the best ones rise to the surface.”
Hardage pledged to keep “an open door and a listening ear,” welcoming the input of all Texas Baptists. “Inclusiveness is something I intend to practice and promote,” he said.
Enhanced partnerships with educational and human-care institutions likewise should be a priority, he noted.
“We do institutions well. We need to play to our strengths,” he said.
Ron Lyles, chair of the executive director search committee, praised Hardage as a “gifted communicator” who possesses the “ability to unify and build bridges for more inclusive cooperation.
When the search committee asked Hardage to identify three key spiritual mentors, Lyles said, he named his father, former associational director of missions Bill Roe and BGCT Executive Director Emeritus Bill Pinson.
Hardage told the board he felt both humbled and honored to be considered for the executive director’s role. Introducing himself, he said, “I cannot tell you who I am apart from Texas Baptists.”
His parents met at Hardin-Simmons University, and he was born at Hillcrest Baptist Hospital in Waco. His father served first as a minister of music and later as a pastor of several Baptist churches.
Hardage described how he came to faith in Christ at age 9 and felt God’s calling to vocational ministry as a young teenager.
After graduating from Baylor University, he served as pastor of First Baptist Church in Blum while working on his master of divinity degree at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He later earned a doctorate from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo.
Other pastorates included First Baptist Church in Holliday, First Baptist Church in Blum and First Baptist Church in Weatherford, Okla., before he went to First Baptist Church in Sulphur Springs, where he served nearly 14 years.
Hardage became director of missions for Waco Regional Baptist Association in 2004, and he has served as director of development for Baylor University’s Truett Theological Seminary since 2007.
Interim pastorates include First Baptist Church in Waxahachie, Columbus Avenue Baptist Church in Waco, First Baptist Church in Huntsville and First Baptist Church in Bryan.
Hardage has served as chairman of the BGCT State Missions Commission, chairman of the BGCT Missions Funding Committee and trustee at East Texas Baptist University and Latham Springs Camp and Retreat Center. He also served on the BGCT Committee on Committees.
He and his wife of 31 years, Kathleen, have two grown children—John, an attorney in Dallas, and Rebekah, a marketing manager in Austin.