BRENTWOOD — Trustees of the Tennessee Baptist Foundation unanimously elected C. William “Bill” Gruenewald III as the entity’s president-elect on Dec. 6.
Gruenewald will succeed Gary Coltharp as the Foundation’s president on April 1, 2014.
Coltharp announced in May that he will retire on March 31, 2014 after serving on the Foundation staff for 15 years. He has served as president of the Tennessee Baptist Convention entity since 2010.
Gruenewald joined the Foundation staff in April of 2011 as executive vice president. He will become the ninth president of the TBF, which celebrated its 75th anniversary this year.
He said it was a “great honor to be selected to follow in the footsteps of such great leaders of the Tennessee Baptist Foundation like Earl Wilson, Bo Childs, and Gary Coltharp.
“For 75 years the Foundation has held true to its mission as being the trust and investment institution of the Tennessee Baptist Convention by promoting Christian estate stewardship. I plan to continue to encourage and assist all Tennessee Baptists to create Christian legacies that will continue to support Baptist ministries until the Lord returns.”
A native of Memphis, Gruenewald accepted Christ at Trinity Baptist Church there. He later moved to Brownsville where he joined Brownsville Baptist Church and became an active leader in the youth group. He was ordained to the ministry by Brownsville Baptist in 1993. Gruenewald holds degrees from Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.
Prior to joining the Foundation staff, Gruenewald was minister of business administration at First Baptist Church, Hendersonville, from 1998-2011. He also served as minister of education and administration at First Baptist Church, Hickory, N.C., from 1992-98.
While at FBC, Hendersonville, Gruenewald received the Taylor Daniel Award for Excellence in Baptist Business by the Southern Baptist Business Officers Conference in 2010. He also served on the TBC’s Committee on Audits and was the committee’s chairman in 2005.
Since joining the TBF, he has completed Belmont University’s Center for Executive Education Financial Planning Curriculum, earning the certificate in financial planning.
“Bill has been a quick study in learning the many facets of Baptist Foundation work,” Coltharp observed. “His winsome personality and Christ-like spirit are among his most valuable assets,” he added.
John Garner, a member of ClearView Baptist Church, Franklin, and chairman of the trustees of TBF, noted the new president “brings with him a wealth of experience and knowledge in ministry and finance as a church administrator.”
Garner said Gruenewald has earned the trust of the trustees.
“Tennessee Baptists will find Bill to be a man of his word, knowledgeable, detailed, and trustworthy. His integrity is above reproach. When you combine all of that, you get a man who is uniquely qualified to help Baptists of Tennessee and their churches impact the world for Christ,” Garner said.
Coltharp said he has worked closely with Gruenewald and noted he is confident that the TBF “will be in good hands” and that the Foundation will carry on its 75-year history of “Service, Integrity, and Trust.”
Randy C. Davis, TBC executive director/treasurer, observed that Gruenewald’s local church background will serve the Foundation well in the days ahead.
“It is obvious that Bill has the gift set necessary to head the Foundation,” Davis said.
“Most importantly he has the character and the integrity to take the Foundation to the next level,” he added.