For the last 17 years, Joe Burt has shared the Gospel and God’s love with Arkansans and people across the nations through his work with the Red River Baptist Association.
On Tuesday, Feb. 21, Joe was recognized for his dedication to serve and his partnership with the Arkansas Baptist State Convention during a banquet at DeGray Lake Resort State Park Lodge where he was named Associational Missionary of the Year.
The award was presented to Joe by Dr. Ben Sells, president of Ouachita Baptist University. The university provided and sponsored Tuesday’s dinner and annually presents the award to an associational missionary.
“It’s nice to be recognized,” Joe said. “It means a lot.”
When it comes to associational missionaries, Joe said one doesn’t work harder than the other. “All of their situations are so different, yet they are all so similar,” Joe’s wife, Peggy, said. “They’re all different but their heart for the ministry is the same. They all are so passionate.”
Peggy said it’s an honor that Ouachita Baptist University and the Arkansas Baptist State Convention acknowledge the work they’re doing.
“I think it’s nice because even though one person is standing up there, all of them know that other people recognize what they’re doing,” Peggy said.
Born in Webster, New York, Joe was in the Air Force until God called him out of the military to attend Cumberland College, now University of the Cumberlands, in Kentucky, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in pastoral ministries and psychology.
“I was called into the ministry at that time to go where He wanted me to go and do what He wanted me to do and serve how He wanted me to serve,” Joe said.
Joe then attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he met Peggy. After graduation, they moved to Star City, where he was called to pastor at Hickory Baptist Church. From there, he went to preach at Bellaire Baptist Church in Dermott, where they served for five years.
Joe and his family were then called by the North American Mission Board to serve in church planting. They served as church planters in Massena, New York, where they spent 17 years.
After that, they returned to Arkansas, where Joe has since served as the associational missionary for the Red River Baptist Association.
When presenting the award, Sells shared a few words others used to describe Joe. Some of those included champion for disaster relief and missions, friend, supporter and encourager to pastors.
Bob Johnson, associational missionary liaison at the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, said Joe is very deserving of the recognition. Joe has shown long-term commitment, works well with the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, always has a good spirit and is always attending convention events.
“He’s always been a great partner with us,” Johnson said, noting all the associational missionaries are good partners. He said it’s getting harder and harder to discern one to be recognized as Associational Missionary of the Year because they are all deserving of the recognition.