Dr. David Pope – President
David Pope was born in Atlanta, Georgia and re-born (came to faith in Christ) as a young boy in rural Hickory Flat, Georgia about seven years later. Upon graduation from Cherokee High School (Canton, Georgia), David received a congressional appointment to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. By his own admission, David was a “young” 17-year-old when he entered and lacked the maturity needed to excel at such a rigorous institution. At the end of his first year, he had achieved “all-pro” status … both academic and conduct probation at the same time! In the middle of his second year, both David and the Academy came to the mutual conclusion that he should move on. This is when he moved to Starkville, Mississippi and began to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Accounting at Mississippi State. By the grace of God, he met Cindy Smith in the fall of 1977 and, with a year left until graduation, they were married in July of 1978. Soon after graduation from MSU, David began a career in public utilities in Beaumont, Texas. The Pope’s first child was born in 1979 and a second followed in 1982 as they moved back to Georgia due to the tragic death of David’s father in an auto accident. By the time 1986 rolled around, he had broad experience in a number of financial roles with three different utility companies, had passed the Certified Public Accountant’s exam, and was at 28 excelling in his career. At the same time, David had grown increasingly uncomfortable spiritually.
In 1985, while away from home on a company outing, David received an unmistakable call from God and he told the Lord that from that point, he would go anywhere and do anything God told him to do. It would be another year before David would realize that this meant full-time vocational Christian service and, realizing he had little to no biblical education, made the decision with Cindy to move the family back to Mississippi where he would enter the Master of Divinity program at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in Memphis, Tennessee.
From the moment Dr. Pope entered seminary (he would return to earn a Doctor of Ministry degree in 1999), he and Cindy had a desire to reach the nations for Christ. For nearly 20 years, he served as a pastor in a local church (New York, Indiana, and Pennsylvania). For two years, David coordinated the collaborative efforts of 17 churches in Central New York. For a little more than two years, the Pope’s served as full-time missionaries in West Africa. Over the last seven years, David has helped lead two missions organizations: Reach the Rest and the Issachar Initiative.
Dr. Pope brings a strong sense of purpose, organization, and proven effectiveness to any effort and now with the launch of POPE Initiatives in August 2018, he plans to apply these characteristics and broad experience to advance multi-sector, multi-agency global mission initiatives that reach the unreached.