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Long, John Raycomment (0)

March 12, 2009

By Brittany N. Howerton

John Ray Long, director of missions (DOM) for Madison Baptist Association (MBA) and former Home Mission Board (HMB, now the North American Mission Board) missionary, died March 5. He was 62.

A graduate of Samford University in Birmingham and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., Long had been Madison DOM for eight years. He came to Madison from Baldwin Baptist Association, where he served as DOM for three years. Prior to that, he served with the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions (SBOM) for nearly 15 years in what is now the office of discipleship and family ministries. He currently was serving on the SBOM. Long also served as pastor of several Alabama Baptist churches through the years and spent almost three years as a HMB missionary (1973–1975). Long was elected second vice president of the Alabama Baptist State Convention in 1999.

At MBA, Long directed the leadership development and spiritual development ministry teams. He firmly believed the mission of MBA was “to serve churches and ministries by enabling them to fulfill effectively the mission of Jesus Christ in ways relevant to our world and appropriate to our diversity,” the association’s Web site states.

And it is that mission by which he will be remembered, fellow Baptists noted. “He was a visionary person and a hard worker,” said Harold Sellers, prayer and pastoral development director and now acting DOM for MBA. “Even Wednesday afternoon before we went home, he was casting a vision related to bringing evangelism to the forefront.”

Rick Lance, SBOM executive director, said Long’s passion for the gospel is how he will be remembered.

“John was always passionate about being on mission with the Great Commission both locally and globally,” Lance said. “He was deeply engaged in short-term ministry projects in various countries, and he led others to do the same. … Alabama Baptists have lost a true partner in missions and ministry.”

Long was a member of First Baptist Church, Madison, where Pastor David Tew said he faithfully lived out Acts 1:8.
“He lived out what it means to be a missional Christian,” Tew said. “He took his commitment to the Great Commission seriously, and every aspect of his life was a metaphor of what it means to be Baptist.”

Long is survived by his wife, Robyn; three sons, Ronald, Evan and Jamie; a daughter-in-law; his father; and five siblings.

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