By David Dawson
Baptist and Reflector
FRANKLIN — While coordinating and implementing stewardship campaigns for the past three decades, Archer Thorpe has continuously shared a simple, but biblical, principle with the countless churches that he’s worked with through the years.
“I’ve tried to emphasize that God has given us everything we have; all of it has come to us as a gift from God,” said Thorpe. “And because it all belongs to Him, we can live and work with a very open hand.”
Thorpe is scheduled to retire next month after 27 and a half years with the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board. During that time, he has served as a stewardship and leadership specialist. He was also the director of Cooperative Program promotions for about 10 years.
Thorpe said he is thankful for all the friendships and relationships that have been formed and cultivated throughout the past three decades.
“I think my favorite thing is having the opportunity to be a part of the life and ministry of pastors and their families and the opportunity to work with churches all across Tennessee,” he said.
“And what I am going to miss is the working relationships that I have had with Tennessee Baptist pastors. I’ve developed a lot of personal friendships with pastors — having had the opportunity to pray with them and coach them as they pursued what God was calling their church to do.”
Although it would be virtually impossible to tabulate, Thorpe estimates the amount of money he has helped churches raise through the years “would be hundreds of millions of dollars.”
What’s the secret behind the successful campaigns that he has led? It all goes back to his simple principle.
“I believe that being generous and loving is very natural for people who recognize that the resources they have don’t belong to them,” said Thorpe.
“It all belongs to God,” he added. “And we have the opportunity to manage what God has given us.”
Even though Thorpe is preparing to enter a new chapter in his life, it really doesn’t sound like he is retiring. In fact, it hardly sounds like he’s slowing down at all.
In the days ahead, he said he plans to write stewardship materials and serve as a transitional interim pastor.
He said he will also continue his “side job” with the Faith Riders — a motorcycle ministry that he has been involved with for many years — and said he will remain connected with churches across the state.
“I plan to continue with the stewardship ministry, working with churches in capital fund raising campaigns, and helping them raise money for new buildings and missions projects and that type of thing,” Thorpe said.
“I’ve been doing that for a long time, and I am going to continue to do that.”