Baptist and Reflector
FRANKLIN — Bryant Millsaps, who became synonymous with Tennessee Baptist Children’s Homes during his nearly two-decade tenure with the ministry, passed away June 13 after battling Alzheimer’s Disease.
“The Tennessee Baptist Convention has lost a giant servant of the Kingdom,” said Randy C. Davis, president and executive director of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board.
Millsaps served on staff with Tennessee Baptist Children’s Homes for 18 years, including a 15-year tenure as president and treasurer. He retired from that position in 2015.
“Dr. Millsaps was a tremendous leader who poured himself into serving Tennessee Baptist Children’s Homes,” said Davis. “He was an encourager to me personally. He will be missed as a friend.”
Millsaps joined the TBCH staff in 1998 as assistant to then-president/treasurer Gerald Stow. He was selected as Stow’s successor and began his service as president and treasurer in 2000.
Greg McCoy, current president of TBCH, said Millsaps was a constant source of encouragement for those associated with the ministry.
“When he asked me to start serving on the board of trustees for TBCH, back in 2000, I could have never imagined the impact that he would end up having on my life,” said McCoy. “He was such a positive influence on me, and certainly, he is a large part of why I am at TBCH.”
McCoy served alongside Millsaps for one year before Millsaps retired in 2015. “That time with him was invaluable for me,” McCoy said.
Millsaps’ legacy with TBCH includes a passionate stance on the organization’s allotted percentage of Cooperative Program dollars. He developed and initiated a campaign called “A nickel for the children” that raised awareness and funding for TBCH.
“We never quite made it to the nickel,” said McCoy, “but his valiant efforts led us to a better place financially. We are now at four cents on the dollar — and that represents significant ministry to children. Thanks in large part to what he did, we are now in a really great position with Tennessee Baptists and our ministry partners.”
Before joining TBCH, Millsaps served in the House of Representatives as chief clerk, assistant chief clerk and assistant to the speaker.
McCoy noted that Millsaps maintained a humble and compassionate disposition.
“Dr. Millsaps carried an aura, I guess you could say, in terms of his presence and the respect that others had for him,” McCoy said. “And yet, he was such a gentle person, tenderhearted, and he loved our ministry. He loved making a difference in the lives of kids.
“When I became president (of TBCH), I inherited a team, a senior-staff team, that he had put together — and what a team it was,” said McCoy. “When I left the pastorate, I left a strong team at First Baptist Portland and I joined another strong team at TBCH, many of whom are still in place today. The team that he built made my life so much easier in terms of the transition.”
Millsaps earned a doctor of education degree in higher education administration from Vanderbilt University’s George Peabody College. He also held a bachelor of science degree in political science and a master of education in secondary school administration and supervision from Middle Tennessee State University, where he served as director of alumni and government relations.
A native of Soddy Daisy, Millsaps surrendered to a call to ministry in 1997 and was ordained at Two Rivers Baptist Church in May of 1999.
Millsaps is survived by his wife, Robbie, and their adult children. A “celebration of life” is being planned, but the date has not yet been set. B&R