In loving memory of Alabama’s top church planting mentor, cheerleader Lamar Duke


February 11, 2020

Lamar Duke, church planting strategist for the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions (SBOM), died Feb. 11. He was 69.

Duke, who joined the SBOM staff in 2013, was known for his effective leadership in training and mobilizing church planters around the state. Before that, he served the Baptist Convention of New York, guiding their church planting ministry efforts.

He also spent six years as a church planter, 10 years as a North American Mission Board missionary and 25 years as pastor of a number of churches across Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and New Jersey.

“Lamar Duke was a treasured friend and missions colleague,” said Rick Lance, SBOM executive director. “His positive spirit was contagious and appreciated by so many who knew him.

“Since joining the SBOM staff in 2013, Lamar brought Alabama Baptist church planting strategy to a new level of effectiveness for the Kingdom,” Lance said. “Our prayers are with his sweet wife, Dolly, and their family. Lamar’s impact for the Lord in Alabama and beyond will endure for the furtherance of the gospel for many years to come.”

Alabama Baptist church planter Terrence Jones shared on Facebook how Duke was his “biggest cheerleader and biggest door opener within the Alabama Baptist community.”

“He took whatever influence and leverage he had and used it for my good and the good of Strong Tower,” said Jones, pastor of Strong Tower at Washington Park. “He saw things in me I barely could see in myself. … I will miss his heart, his humor, his passion.”

Alabama Baptist church planter Jarman Leatherwood describes Duke as his hero, mentor and a father figure in a post on Facebook.

“This was a tough one today when the call came through as we were assessing five other (church) planters doing what he loved to do,” said Leatherwood, pastor of the House of Hope and Restoration in Huntsville. “But we rejoiced at the thought of His life and the impact Lamar made on all of us! … He believed in us and poured out his life to show us how much we meant to him. He loved the Lord and was faithful to the work of advancing the kingdom.

“(He was) a giant of a man, a humble servant, and one we were blessed to have been able to be in his presence. Take your rest sir, you finished strong!”

Duke earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Mobile and a master of divinity from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

He is survived by his wife, Dolly; son, Tommy; daughter, Cheri; six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren with one on the way. (TAB)

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