'A great ride.' Colo. Exec Mark Edlund retiring
CENTENNIAL, Colo. (BP) -- A restructured executive board, a western state office and a renewed emphasis on prayer are among the improvements Mark Edlund has spearheaded during his 15 years as executive director and treasurer of the Colorado Baptist General Convention (CBGC).
The CBGC was governed by a 47-member executive board that met four times a year when Edlund began, but through a constitutional amendment the board was restructured to include 18 people.
The change "made it very interactive, everybody could have their say, [and it was] a real help to me as far as giving me direction," Edlund told Baptist Press after announcing his retirement. "And we put a major emphasis on prayer. We started every meeting with about three hours of prayer."
Edlund described Colorado as "two states" geographically, with a mostly urban eastern half and a more rural west. With the CGBC's main office just outside Denver, Edlund opened a regional office in western, rural Mount Rose with a full-time state missionary and ministry assistant focused on serving churches in western Colorado.
"We had a positive response to that, and so I think that was a big step forward," Edlund said. "We have 60 church plants statewide, but 13 of those are in western Colorado, and I'm real pleased with that."
The state has a total of 350 Southern Baptist churches and church plants, Edlund said, noting the cooperative work of many across the state who have worked to increase the number of established churches by about 40 over the past 15 years. The state has six North American Mission Board church planting catalysts and a state director of missions, who have worked with established congregations and church planters to organize new congregations.
Michael Routt, CBGC president and lead pastor of Circle Drive Baptist Church in Colorado Springs, called Edlund "a consummate servant leader, possessing a spirit of humility, yet demonstrating firmness in providing necessary leadership."
He noted Edlund's extensive research before recommending a change in the size of the governing board.
"Mark did an extensive study on governance before leading this change initiative," Edlund told BP. "Our state convention has benefited greatly as a result."
Edlund's 17 years of experience as an international missionary in Japan and the Western Pacific benefitted Colorado, Routt said.
"Being a former IMB [International Mission Board] missionary, Mark has demonstrated that kind of a heart in seeking to lead our convention of churches to saturate the state of Colorado with the Gospel of Jesus," Routt said. "Because of his passion to reach people, Mark emphasized the priority of planting churches during his tenure as executive director."
During his tenure with Colorado Baptists, Edlund concurrently serves as executive director of the Colorado Baptist Foundation, executive director of the Ponderosa Baptist Conference Center, editor of the Rocky Mountain Baptist news journal of the CBGC, and the CBGC interface with the Rocky Mountain Regional Campus of Gateway Seminary of the Southern Baptist Convention, formerly Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary.
Edlund and his wife Kristy have two adult children, Hans Howard and Anna Kristine.