Perdue commissioned as 'missionary' to Trump cabinet

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and his wife Mary (left) were commissioned as 'missionaries' to Washington D.C. July 9 by Second Baptist Church in Warner Robins, Ga., where their son Jim (right) is pastor.
Photo courtesy of Christian Index, Georgia.
WARNER ROBINS, Ga. (BP) -- Former Southern Baptist Convention President Johnny Hunt was among the speakers July 9 when U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue was commissioned as a "missionary" to Washington D.C. by Second Baptist Church in Warner Robins, Ga.

The previous week, Perdue preached at First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Ga. -- where Hunt is pastor -- and told how he and his wife Mary believe "God spoke" to them and called them "to serve President Trump in his cabinet." Seven people made professions of faith Christ following the message, First Baptist told Baptist Press.

Currently a member of Second Baptist where his son Jim Perdue is pastor, Sonny Perdue was a member of First Baptist for eight years while he served as governor of Georgia. He has taught Sunday School at both churches.

Perdue was sworn in as secretary of agriculture April 25.

At the commissioning service, Hunt spoke about leaders in the Bible who finished their lives faithfully. He commended Perdue for exhibiting faith and intimacy with God throughout his service to state and federal governments.

"One reason I feel so encouraged in my soul about this country and its leadership," Hunt said according to a video of the service, "is [that] one of the people who sits on the cabinet of President Trump I know knows God." He added that other cabinet members know God as well.

Hunt said a friend told him the wife of U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., was surprised recently when she entered the chapel at the U.S. Capitol and found Perdue on his knees at the altar praying. Perdue introduced himself and had an "incredible impact" on the senator's wife, Hunt said.

"You may spend time in secret" with God, Hunt said. "But it never remains a secret that we spend time in secret."

Jim Perdue said the term "missionary" can be applied to his parents.

"A missionary is someone who ... listens when God calls," Jim Perdue said. "So what we're doing tonight in this commissioning service is certainly praying for mom and for dad. But we are commissioning two more missionaries out of Second Baptist to Washington D.C., to the cabinet of the president, to the United States Department of Agriculture."

Jim Perdue added, "When you think of the word 'missionaries,' don't just think of those that carry the Bibles into China or those that take the Gospel to the tribes of Africa. But put people like Sonny and Mary Perdue on your prayer list as they serve as missionaries in D.C."

The commissioning service's other featured speaker was Benny Tate, pastor of Rock Springs Church in Milner, Ga., and president of the Congregational Methodist Church denomination.

"The only reason God promotes us is to put us in a position so we can help other people," Tate said. "I know that's what Bro. Sonny Perdue will do. He'll take that position. He'll use it to help other people because Bro. Sonny Perdue realizes when God blesses us, He's got more than us in mind."

Video greetings were delivered by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and international Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias.

The service closed with believers gathered around Sonny and Mary Perdue to pray. Jim Perdue asked God to "use mom and dad in significant Kingdom ways to advance the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

The previous Sunday, at First Baptist's Fourth of July service, Sonny Perdue said he was not expecting God's call to Washington.

"People used to ask me, 'When are you going to Washington?' I said, 'When they move the capital to Bonaire, Ga.,'" Perdue said. "Nonetheless, God spoke to us again and changed our hearts to go to serve President Trump in his cabinet, and it has been an absolute thrill to get to know the men and women he has appointed."

Perdue said he meets every Wednesday morning for Bible study with Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price as well as other cabinet members.

Regardless of their status in politics, all Americans have an opportunity to make an impact for Christ in the nation, Perdue said.

"You don't have to be in the cabinet of the United States of America to make a difference," Perdue said. "God's given you a sphere of influence right where you stand to be strong for God."

At the close of his message, Perdue extended an invitation for people to trust Christ as their Lord and Savior.

David Roach is chief national correspondent for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention's news service. BP reports on missions, ministry and witness advanced through the Cooperative Program and on news related to Southern Baptists' concerns nationally and globally.
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