Reflections on the Selection of Suzii Paynter

by John Lepper, Coordinator

I was in Atlanta last week to meet Suzii Paynter, who has been nominated as the next Executive Coordinator of Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.  Suzii is the person we have been praying for since Daniel Vestal announced his retirement.  I met Suzii a few years ago when leaders from across the CBF movement met at Callaway Gardens in Georgia.  I was quite impressed when I first met her and I’m even more impressed now. 


Suzii brings the kind of experience and leadership abilities that CBF needs at this time in our history. She is a layperson, a pastor’s wife, an ordained deacon, Sunday School teacher and director of the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission and director of the Advocacy Care Center of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, one of the convention’s three major divisions.

Suzii brings the kind of experience and leadership abilities that CBF needs at this time in our history.

It has been suggested that our first two leaders brought to CBF those things which were needed at the time and that Suzii also brings what we currently need.  Look at our name: Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.  Cecil Sherman, it has been said, helped us focus on the “Baptist” part of our name by helping us focus on our Baptist identity and be grounded in Baptist principles.  As we grew as a movement, Daniel Vestal offered quality leadership and has helped us focus on the “Fellowship” part of our name.  As someone said at the meeting in Atlanta last week, “Under Daniel’s leadership, our meetings have been like family reunions.” 

Even before the selection of Suzii Paynter as the nominee for Executive Coordinator, it was said that CBF needs to grow in our ability to cooperate.  George Mason, pastor of Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas and chair of the search committee, said in the announcement of her selection that she brings the kinds of gifts to CBF that are needed—namely the gifts and skills to help us learn better how to cooperate. 

In listening to her speak to state and regional coordinators last week, I resonate with George Mason’s affirmation.  As leader of the Christian Life Commission of Texas, she has led various groups to collaborate by building coalitions.  She expressed to those of us in that meeting that she wanted us to focus on our assets – on the national level, on state levels and on congregational levels.  She pointed out that in her work at the Christian Life Commission she has a track record of helping build coalitions in order to accomplish some large goals.

Suzii Paynter will be voted on by the CBF Coordinating council at its regularly scheduled meeting February 21-22.  If approved, she is expected to begin work in March at the CBF Resource Center in Atlanta.

Click the links below to get to know Suzii Paynter better. And stay tuned.  We will contact Suzii soon to arrange times for her to visit Kentucky.

Read more about Suzii Paynter.

Or watch her introductory video: