“Every service opportunity that I have…I try not to turn anything down, honestly, because it’s…a privilege,” said Dr. Rex Horne, the new interim executive director for the Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC).
The ABSC Executive Board approved Horne at the beginning of November, following current ABSC Executive Director Dr. J.D. “Sonny” Tucker’s decision to retire at the end of the year.
“The choice of Dr. Horne to serve as interim executive director is a great fit for this season of ministry for the ABSC. Dr. Horne is a great friend and example, and he has a deep love for Arkansas Baptists,” said Craig Jenkins who serves as the ABSC director of convention advancement and news.
Growing up in Camden, Horne understands the importance of Arkansas Baptist ministry. Horne served as pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Little Rock from 1990-2006, president of Ouachita Baptist University (OBU) from 2006-2015 and president of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention from 1996-1997. Additionally, Horne was a trustee for OBU and a board member for Baptist Health.
The past several years, Horne has also interacted with several Arkansas Baptist churches in his work with the Arkansas Baptist Foundation (ABF) as a consultant for their Capital Campaigns resource. In helping these churches with stewardship and raising needed funds, Horne aids several churches each year. He will continue this ABF work along with his interim.
“This is a huge financial benefit. It’s a way I think that the Foundation and the Convention…[are] giving back to the churches of Arkansas, and I find a great joy to do it,” Horne said.
Horne has spent time behind the pulpit in several Arkansas Baptist churches as an interim pastor as well. Most recently, he has invested in Parkway Place Baptist Church.
“We had the privilege of Dr Horne serving as our interim pastor for the past ten months at Parkway Place Baptist Church. He brought great leadership for our church leaders and staff. He was “always” available and approachable making everyone feel valued,” Bit Stephens, a member of Parkway Place and the international student consultant for the ABSC. “Personally, I hated to see him leave as my pastor, but thought it a brilliant idea for him to lead the ABSC in this season.”
Horne believes that investing through interim positions is pertinent and never wants to passively lead.
“Even if I’m an interim…I’ve never viewed that as just kind of being a placeholder or just kind of biding time until somebody comes in or delaying things we know that we need to be about,” Horne said.
Horne looks forward to honoring this same commitment as he continues ministering to Arkansans in this new role. He especially looks forward to renewing friendships with pastors and churches across the state.
“One of the things that I hope to do and I’ve tried to do through the years is really to be an encourager,” Horne said. “I genuinely believe that no matter where we are and where we serve that it’s a big job and a big task and God’s in it.”
In everything he does, especially with the ABSC, Horne’s first priority is the Lord. Second to that, he wants to communicate the incredible resource every church, big and small, has in the ABSC.
“We are to be a resource to the churches, and I totally see it that way. And I know the people that I know here that serve through the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, their desire is to serve the local church,” Horne said.
Horne believes that “every church and every minister and every church member is important in the Kingdom of God and to the Lord.”
One reason he holds every church so dear is because of the way churches in this state have loved him. The Lord saved Horne at a morning service of a revival and was baptized at the age of six-years-old. Later on, after meeting his wife Becky, Horne surrendered to ministry. Since then, God has paved the way to where he is now.
“I see time and time again how the Lord has used past experiences in order to prepare me for whatever He wants me or leads me to do next. And I’ve been very blessed just to see the different doors that have been opened and the different opportunities that have come. So, I’m sold on the church, of course,” Horne said.
On a personal note, Horne is learning to be more grateful with age. Of course, outside of his salvation, Horne is most thankful for his precious family, including his wife, four children and fourteen grandchildren.
“Life is to be celebrated and to be enjoyed, and our family is pretty good about that,” Horne said.
In celebration, in sorrow and in the day-to-day, Horne remembers that through it all “God is faithful” and always there, making us the same promise He made to Joshua and Moses: “‘I will not leave you or forsake you.’”
“I am so grateful to God for every day. You know, it’s simple things like the scent in your office, a cup of coffee, a conversation with a friend, to notice the beauty of Arkansas in the fall,” Horne said.
Horne also has a deep sense of gratitude for Arkansas Baptists, and as long as he has the life and strength to do so, he plans to serve God by serving them.
“I’m available to pastors and associations and the churches to be of any help and encouragement that they think I can bring their way,” Horne said.