Bill Arnold, president of the Texas Baptist Missions Foundation (TBMF), has announced his retirement after 36 years of leading the foundation and more than 40 years of service with Texas Baptists. Arnold will continue working for the Convention on a contract basis through the end of 2020.
Through his able leadership, TBMF has raised more than $180 million to support Texas Baptist missions and ministries including church starting, collegiate ministry, disaster recovery, River Ministry and more.
“Texas Baptists are deeply grateful for the life and ministry of Bill Arnold,” said Executive Director David Hardage. “Bill has been instrumental in raising millions of dollars to support vital missions endeavors and new initiatives. We are thankful for the way God has used Bill and TBMF to advance the Kingdom of God throughout our state and beyond.”
Arnold joined the Texas Baptist staff in 1980 as a youth consultant. In 1984, under the directive of then-Executive Director Bill Pinson, Arnold joined the Mission Texas effort to start 2,000 new churches and raise $20 million in five years. The effort was an overwhelming success and more than $22 million was raised to start more than 2,000 churches over the time period. Arnold found that many donors were excited to give in support of individual causes such as church starting. Through this, the Missions Foundation was born and Arnold became president.
“We started with a blank sheet of paper,” Arnold said. “At that time, no other state convention had tried to do what we were doing.”
Arnold began cultivating relationships with donors to support a myriad of mission efforts. Every church started by Texas Baptists since 1984 has been supported, in some way, through gifts from TBMF. The foundation also created a $15 million loan fund for new churches. Arnold oversaw the funding of five building projects for Baptist Student Ministry buildings on the campuses of Texas A&M University, Stephen F. Austin University, the University of Texas at Tyler, the University of North Texas and most recently Texas Tech University, a $3.9 million project which was dedicated in the fall of 2019. Although the focus has been Texas, the Foundation has supported a variety of needs all over the world, including helping a seminary in Ukraine, building a hospital in Mexico, buying bicycles for missionaries living in the bush and providing leadership training for chaplains all over the U.S.
In 2019, TBMF worked with 4,798 donors who contributed 23,103 gifts. This spring, following the spread of coronavirus, TBMF assisted with two initiatives including the Pastor Relief Fund, to support bi-vocational ministers, and the Camp Relief Fund, to support Texas Baptist encampments suffering economic losses during the pandemic. As of July 23, $280,273 was raised to support the Pastor Relief Fund and $530,826 was raised to support the Camp Relief Fund.
“I am thankful for the team with whom I work, the Missions Foundation Council and the donors. All of them are some of God’s choicest people,” Arnold said. “It’s been an undeserved privilege for me to have the opportunity to work with them and to see what sacrificial giving is—from the small gift to the big gift. I have been blessed to see how God has used that sacrifice to make a difference for the Kingdom.”
Prior to joining the BGCT staff, Arnold worked for the Dallas Baptist Association for seven years. He earned a Bachelor of Science from Mississippi College and a Master of Arts from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a Certified Financial Planner, Certified Fund Raising Executive, and has served on numerous boards including the Baptist Credit Union, Texas Baptist Men and the Texas Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster.
He and his wife, Margaret, make their home in Dallas. The couple has two children, Jonathan and Meredith, and five grandchildren.