This afternoon my dad, Paul Fries, was nominated and elected as the new President of the Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptist Convention. I couldn’t be more excited and more proud. I have watched my dad for almost 37 years now, and can testify that he is a man of character, passion, integrity, faithfulness, love for his family, his church, his denomination and, most of all, love for King Jesus. My dad has spent his life showing me what it looks like to love and serve others. He is a man who deflects praise, who often serves in ways that no one knows about, and who has tremendous faith and is willing to step out and exercise that faith. My dad and mom, Cheryl, have modeled a strong, biblical marriage for 40 years and they raised 3 kids with sacrifice, love and commitment to show us Jesus.
My dad currently serves as the pastor of not one, but two churches in Richland County, Wisconsin; he is the pastor of Blue River Valley Church and the Interim Pastor of First Baptist Church in Richland Center, WI. The churches he serves are smaller; one is in a town of 5,000 and the other is a rural church located about 7 miles outside of a town of 1,000. As such he represents leaders from across the Southern Baptist Convention, but he also represents the average pastor across America who pastors smaller churches and who will never be known for their sacrifice and faithfulness.
I love the folks who make up the Minnesota-Wisconsin State Convention, and love the work they are doing for the Kingdom of God. Dr. Leo Endel, their Executive Director, is leading them well, and I am looking forward to watching my dad work together with Leo, their Executive Committee and the State Convention over the next year.
I think denominations and movements are led well when they are led by faithful leaders who model tremendous faith, character and sacrifice. My dad embodies these things, from where I’m sitting, and I hope he will serve as a model and encouragement to pastors and leaders all over.
Beyond all that, though, he’s my dad. In fact, even though I’m 37 and have kids myself, I still call him my daddy, and I’m not embarrassed about it. He is the first hero I’ve ever had, and I want to be like him more and more each day. I’m glad he’s elected because I think he’ll serve well, and is well honored to step into the role, but mostly I’m just proud because he’s my dad and I love him. Congrats Daddy, from your pretty proud son.