Stephen Reeves, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s public policy leader, has been elected executive director of Fellowship Southwest.
Reeves will succeed Marv Knox, who founded the ecumenical network affiliated with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship in 2017. Fellowship Southwest encompasses Arizona, New Mexico, Northern Mexico, Oklahoma, Southern California and Texas. It organizes churches and individuals around shared compassion for people across the region. It also supports congregations in their missions, ministry and advocacy endeavors.
Reeves, an attorney, has led CBF’s advocacy program since 2013. Previously, he was director of public policy for the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission in Austin and staff attorney for the Washington-based Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty.
In addition to his leadership of Fellowship Southwest, Reeves will continue to direct CBF advocacy. CBF will provide financial compensation to enable Fellowship Southwest to hire an associate coordinator—a first for the young organization.
The move will bring Reeves from the CBF headquarters in the Atlanta area back to his home region, where he was raised, educated and worked much of his career.
Michael Mills, chair of the Fellowship Southwest search committee, looked back in gratitude and ahead with anticipation as he reflected on Reeves’ election and coming leadership.
“At the outset of our search process, we had to acknowledge an important reality: There will only ever be one Marv Knox. We saw the opportunity for the next leader of Fellowship Southwest to stand upon the shoulders of Marv and take the movement to new heights,” said Mills, pastor of Agape Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas.
“We began our search by looking for a candidate with a compassionate and enduring heart, an entrepreneurial and adaptive mind, a collaborative and ecumenical spirit, and the experience to boot. We have found all this and more in Stephen Reeves,” he added.
“With Stephen’s deep roots in the Southwest, his experience working at the intersection of faith and public policy with the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty and the Christian Life Commission, and his passion for ecumenism and advocacy seen in his current work with CBF Global, the future of Fellowship Southwest is extremely bright under Stephen’s leadership.”
Reeves expressed excitement about the expansive opportunity to lead Fellowship Southwest.
“I am thrilled and humbled that the search team and board are giving me the opportunity to lead Fellowship Southwest into the future,” he said. “I believe deeply in the power and potential of this ecumenical, multi-racial Christian witness in the Southwest committed to cooperative and compassionate missions and advocacy.
“It will be an honor to build upon the strong foundation laid over the last four years. I’m grateful that the transition phase will allow me to work alongside Marv Knox, whom I admire and respect immensely.”
“I look forward to strengthening our congregational ties beyond our corner of the Baptist world as well as working with my CBF colleagues in the region,” Reeves said. “And I’m proud of the progress we’ve made in CBF Advocacy in the last seven years and delighted to continue providing leadership at a national level even as I bring more advocacy experience to Fellowship Southwest.”
FSW Board Chair Meredith Stone affirmed the wisdom of naming Reeves to this post at this point in the organization’s history.
“Fellowship Southwest is at a critical juncture as we are continuing our ministries in association with CBF Global while also taking steps and aspiring toward greater ecumenical partnerships within the Southwest,” said Stone, executive director of Baptist Women in Ministry. “Stephen Reeves is a proven leader in relationship building and ecumenical collaboration, which makes him an ideal choice to lead Fellowship Southwest into its next phase of ministry.
“Stephen’s experience, familiarity and connectedness within the Southwest region and his commitment to making the world a more just, equitable and compassionate place will serve Fellowship Southwest well in the years ahead.”
Knox expressed delight with Fellowship Southwest’s choice for its next leader.
“Stephen’s selection is wonderful news,” he said. “Stephen knows and loves the Southwest, and his heart beats for our vast and varied region. He’s already familiar with our network, and he understands the issues—such as immigration, education and church vitality—central to our ministry and to our future.
“Stephen’s extensive advocacy connections will enable Fellowship Southwest to more than fulfill our aspiration to be a vibrant ecumenical organization. And he shares our values, so he will keep us faithful, agile and kind.”
“On top of everything else, Stephen is a longtime treasured friend,” Knox added. “I’m looking forward to our handoff season, for the opportunity to work alongside someone I hold in highest esteem, and then to pass the torch to a leader who will guide Fellowship Southwest into new frontiers of opportunity.”
Reeves’ tenure will begin March 15. The Eula Mae and John Baugh Foundation has provided a grant to ensure continuity for the young organization with a small staff. So, Reeves and Knox will work together until Knox’s retirement late this year.
CBF Executive Coordinator Paul Baxley praised Fellowship Southwest’s selection of Reeves.
“Fellowship Southwest has made a remarkable decision in calling Stephen Reeves to serve as executive director,” Baxley said. “He is uniquely suited to lead Fellowship Southwest’s continued growth in public witness, ecumenical ministry and shared mission in the Southwest.
“Stephen brings years of experience leading CBF’s advocacy efforts, which from the beginning have been rooted in the ministries of our congregations, field personnel and Together for Hope practitioners. Those efforts are deeply theological and intentionally ecumenical.”
“So, I am incredibly grateful through the best kind of collaboration, Stephen will not only lead Fellowship Southwest, but will also continue to give strategic direction to CBF’s advocacy ministries,” Baxley added. “I look forward to new days of thriving in Fellowship Southwest and across our entire Fellowship.”
Reeves is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and the Texas Tech University School of Law. He is proficient in Spanish.
Reeves is a member of the State Bar of Texas. He serves on the boards of the Baptist Joint Committee and Passport Camps, as well as the strategic advisory board of Good Faith Media and the Baptist World Alliance Commission on Racial, Gender and Economic Justice. He is co-chair of the Center for Responsible Lending’s Faith & Credit Roundtable. He is a former board member of Christians for Environmental Stewardship and Stop Predatory Gambling.
He also served in youth ministry positions for churches in Virginia and Texas.
Reeves’ spouse, Deborah, is an ordained CBF-endorsed chaplain. They are the parents of three children, Kellyn, Garrett and Landry. They are members of Smoke Rise Baptist Church in Tucker, Ga.