Posted on : Monday May 7, 2012

By Laura Fielding

RICHMOND, Va. (BP) — Long before he became IMB president, Tom Elliff dreamed of a new kind of missionary — Southern Baptist business leaders who leverage their resources, global connections and growth strategies to help fulfill the Great Commission.

That dream, which Elliff calls “global strategic mobilization,” or GSM, is a step closer to reality with his nomination of Scott Holste as vice president of the International Mission Board’s newly created GSM office.

Holste currently serves as IMB associate vice president of global strategy. Trustees will consider Holste for the new role in their May meeting.

“I see  as a focus of our mission that is long overdue,” Elliff said.

“It simply means that we would be partnering with SBC-led ministries and business professionals who are already traveling around the world and deeply desire to be involved in Great Commission ministries.”

Holste has served in IMB’s global strategy office since 2009, where he oversees affinity group leaders who direct the work of IMB’s nearly 5,000 field personnel. Holste also oversees IMB’s global research department, hunger and relief ministries and orality strategies.

“I’m very appreciative of Tom’s leadership and his confidence in me to head up this very important initiative,” Holste said. “It has been a joy to serve on the global strategy leadership team and to oversee the work of our affinity leaders. While the supervisory nature of those relationships will change, I look forward to continue working closely with these key field leaders as we seek together to fulfill the Great Commission.”

Holste, who holds a Ph.D. in organizational leadership, began working with IMB in 1987 when he was appointed as a missionary. In 1997, he transitioned into the role of director of the global research department at IMB’s home office in Richmond, Va. In 2005, he became associate vice president for research and strategic services before transitioning into his current role in 2009.

“Scott Holste is uniquely qualified to lead this initiative,” Elliff said. “Scott’s broad-based understanding of strategies to fulfill our vision and his insights into the opportunities and challenges in reaching all people groups provide a solid foundation on which to build this new component of the organization.”

If approved by trustees, Holste not only will mobilize, train and strategically involve SBC business leaders to fulfill the Great Commission but will supervise human needs strategies and serve as a member of IMB’s executive leadership team.

Holste hopes to help business leaders and marketplace professionals realize how they can be actively involved in missions by utilizing their knowledge, experience, connections and creativity to advance the Gospel worldwide.

“My dream is that through the work of this new initiative, we will match our  5,000 field personnel with 5,000 — or more! — passionate, trained and strategically positioned and connected marketplace professionals working in concert together and alongside national Baptist partners and other evangelicals to ensure the sustained, effective engagement of every people group,” he said. “My hope is that this radical involvement of individuals bringing all they are, have and know to fulfillment of the Great Commission might serve to energize, even transform, the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention.”

Elliff said the GSM concept is based on the first-century model of church planting, which was facilitated by taking the Good News along the Roman roads of commerce.

“We’ll be able to show  how they become involved, give them and their organization training in the best ways to become involved and also show them, … where possible, there could be a strategic alignment between the work that they are doing on the corporate level and the work that our personnel may be doing on a strategic level,” Elliff said.

If trustees ratify Holste’s nomination during their May 22-23 meeting in Nashville, Tenn., he will immediately move into the new position. Business leaders from across the United States also will meet in Dallas in May to participate in a “think tank” to further develop GSM and its strategies.

“I am convinced that  is a vital, yet missing piece of our global mission strategy,” Holste said. “While we have made a number of attempts to address this need over the years, it is clear that we need to be involved in a much more significant way as an organization and as Southern Baptists. GSM will help establish the marketplace as an essential component of our overall mission strategy.”

Holste and his wife Janie, daughter of emeritus missionaries Robert and Myrtle Daugherty, have three sons and three grandsons.

Laura Fielding is a writer for IMB.

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