Missionary Spotlight Update: Bill Barker

Bill Barker picking up backpacks

In May 2017, while seeking direction for ministry, Bill Barker sensed God’s voice: “I am pruning you so that you can bear more fruit.” Effective January 1, 2018, the Georgia Baptist Mission Board called Barker to serve as state missionary/director of Appalachian Mountain Ministry and the Christmas Backpacks ministry focus. And in April 2018, he and his wife, Arlene, moved from West Virginia to Clayton, Georgia.

After nearly 17 years as director of Appalachian Regional Ministry with the North American Mission Board, Barker now continues as a servant to those who serve the poor within 12 states in Appalachia—Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. In cooperation with the state conventions, he mobilizes Southern Baptists and their resources to respond to physical and spiritual needs. He also works with churches, church plants, and compassionate ministry sites by mobilizing missions volunteers and making needs known to the larger Southern Baptist family.

The Christmas Backpacks focus has become a multistate missions emphasis, collecting and delivering backpacks to Appalachia, southwest Georgia, the Mississippi delta, and New York City. In January 2018, 9 state conventions and WMU agreed to continue the Christmas Backpacks project. The 2018 goal is 80,000 backpacks.

Bill Barker is featured in the September 2018 Missions Mosaic Missionary Spotlight article.

Georgia Herod has responded to God’s call to use her interests and expertise in editing and writing in this season of life.

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