Dr. J.D. “Sonny” Tucker announced in an email on August 31 to the Executive Board and ABSC employees, his plans to retire as Executive Director of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention on December 31, 2022.
I am announcing my pending retirement as ABSC Executive Director on December 31, 2022.
A couple of factors have led me to conclude that now is the time for my retirement. On a family level, I realized early this summer that it is time for me to spend more time with my three wonderful grandchildren and be prepared for the fourth that is expected to arrive early next year. It is time for me to be a more present and participative father and grandfather. Children and grandchildren are wonderful gifts from God, and now my priority and focus is more time with them. Also, my wife has been a patient and supportive partner as I have striven to serve Arkansas Baptists from an intensive macro leadership level. Now, my priority and focus is more quantity and quality time with her to fulfill some of our mutual plans that have long been put on hold.
On a professional level, in the early summer I committed to pray and process the timing of my retirement and to finish my prayer journey at the Pastors Prayer Gathering on August 29-30. I have come to the conviction that my vision for the position of Executive Director has concluded. My vision carried up through the Covid crisis and the beginnings to reengage the “new normal,” but no further. I intend to stay involved in ministry. I plan to remain engaged as a volunteer with God’s wonderful ministries through Arkansas Baptists in the same world-class fashion of Emil Turner, Don Moore and Jimmie Sheffield.
As a departing Executive Director, I will immediately move to a transition role, working closely with the Operating Committee of this Executive Board to assist with transition in any way they desire. The stewardship of leadership means it is not my role to make any major or semi-major decisions, but instead, I will work closely with Operating Committee chairman Manley Beasley, the Operating Committee, and, when appropriate, the full Executive Board. The Executive Board staff is talented and trustworthy, and capable of handling their duties and fulfilling their roles with excellence during this transition time.
When we work with churches during pastor transitions, we strongly encourage those churches to capitalize on the transition phase and evaluate, evaluate, evaluate. It is my hope that the Executive Board will aggressively capitalize on this transition time and go through a solid evaluation process. It is always healthy to evaluate such things as the governing documents, convention procedures and processes, and Executive Board team assignments. As state leaders who are serving on the Executive Board you will easily discern the timing, pace and sequence of any evaluations you deem important.
I have been exceedingly blessed for 25 years to get up every day and go to my dream job. I could never adequately express with words my gratitude for the great love, support, encouragement and friendship that I have received from Arkansas Baptists. I retire from this position happy, deeply thankful and optimistic regarding the future of Arkansas Baptists. Thank you, Arkansas Baptists, for allowing me to serve God in ways beyond my greatest hopes or dreams. Arkansas Baptists are indeed the greatest folks in the world!