General Secretary

General Secretary

Rev. Elijah M. Brown, PhD
General Secretary & CEO

Rev. Dr. Elijah M. Brown is the General Secretary and CEO of the Baptist World Alliance (BWA). Founded in 1905, the BWA is a Christian World Communion that draws upon 400 years of shared Baptist history with 253 member bodies in 130 countries and territories representing over 51 million baptized believers and 176,000 churches.

As General Secretary and CEO, Rev. Dr. Brown has the overall leadership responsibilities for the BWA and is its chief representative within the Baptist family and to governments, global organizations and institutions, and other Christian World Communions and faith traditions 

Elected as the ninth General Secretary and the youngest in the history of the BWA, Rev. Dr. Brown brings strategic and visionary leadership as the principal leader to the Baptist movement as well as a ministry passion for the vision of the BWA to “network the Baptist family to impact the world for Christ.”

Rev. Dr. Brown has brought an entrepreneurial ministry passion across the five ministry areas of the BWA: worship, fellowship, and unity; mission and evangelism; aid, relief and community development; religious freedom, human rights, and justice; and theological reflection and transformational leadership. Since his January 2018 induction, Rev. Dr. Brown has launched:  

BWA Forum on Aid and Development – A network of more than 20 Baptist aid agencies collaborating globally and investing annually more than $20 million USD into aid, relief, and community development;   

21Wilberforce Global Freedom Center – As a religious freedom and human rights center of the BWA offering training, capacity building, and advocacy around the world; 

Horizons – As a global training and education program for children and youth workers in 12 languages with nearly 1,000 enrolled students; 

Global Baptist Mission Network – A network of more than 20 Baptist mission agencies and initiatives collaborating together with more than 7,000 missionaries in every region of the world.  

General Secretary
General Secretary
General Secretary
General Secretary

As General Secretary and CEO, Rev. Dr. Brown is a frequent speaker and has offered lecture series, commencements, dialogues, plenary sessions, and spoken in churches around the world. He is often quoted and has participated in a range of print, radio, and television interviews, and is serving on the United States National Association of Evangelicals Board of Directors. He has been recognized by several universities and Baptist denominations for outstanding service. Among his awards, he has been named a Patron of Bowen University, the largest Baptist University in Africa; honored with the Global Leadership Award of the Zomi Baptist Churches of America, a predominant refugee and migrant community from Myanmar and one of the fastest growing Baptist conventions in North America; and received the Campbellsville University Leadership Award from Campbellsville University in Campbellsville, Kentucky.  

Rev. Dr. Brown has traveled to more than 55 countries. He often prioritizes visiting refugee camps and hearing from individuals of variant backgrounds who have experienced persecution. He has been on the frontlines of many conflicts in war-affected areas including a February 2022 visit to Ukraine with more than 100,000 troops amassed on the border set to invade. He returned to Ukraine on the one-month anniversary of the war and also traveled to Russia where he met with the Baptist community and stood on behalf of Ukrainians in meetings with Russian government and religious leaders.  

Across his many travels, Rev. Dr. Brown has met with numerous Presidents, Prime Ministers, Elected Members, and Ambassadors in multiple countries and at the United Nations as well as with numerous religious leaders. 

General Secretary
General Secretary

Before being named as General Secretary by a Baptist Global Council of over 400 individuals, Rev. Dr. Brown was the General Secretary of the North American Baptist Fellowship, one of the six regions of the Baptist World Alliance. Prior to that position he had been named an emerging leader of the BWA, which recognized and networked 35 young adult leaders globally.   

Prior to beginning as General Secretary, Rev. Dr. Brown was the Executive Vice President of the 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative, a Christian religious freedom and human rights organization based in Washington, D.C. While in that role, Rev. Dr. Brown traveled with a team to Iraq and was the primary author of one of the first reports to document ongoing genocide being committed at that time. He also helped conduct a major research project on violence in the Middle Belt of Nigeria and its impact on religious minority communities which led to the first United States Congressional Hearing on rising violence in the Middle Belt, at which Rev. Dr. Brown was one of the three testifying experts.  

Rev. Dr. Brown previously served as an Associate Professor of Missions at East Texas Baptist University. While at the University, Dr. Brown was elected as the Chair of the Faculty Senate, voted favorite faculty and staff member by the student body, taught undergraduate and graduate courses, led international student mission trips, and was the founding Director of the Freedom Center, one of the only centers at a Baptist university or seminary in the United States uniquely designed to pursue international religious freedom. While at East Texas Baptist University, Rev. Dr. Brown undertook research among Eritrean refugee camps in Ethiopia and documented abuses that were later referenced in reports by the United Nations. At the University, Rev. Dr. Brown also served as one of two Faulty in Residence.  

The son of a pastor, Rev. Dr. Brown was ordained to Christian ministry in July 2002 and has served in various roles in the local church. Originally from Texas, he graduated Summa Cum Laude in three years with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor with a double major in Religion and History and a perfect Grade Point Average of 4.0. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of Edinburgh, one of the top 20 ranked universities in the world at the Center of Christianity in the Non-Western World. His Ph.D. researched the significant role of the church in the development of the comprehensive peace agreement between Sudan and South Sudan.  

Rev. Dr. Brown has been married to Amy Brown for over twenty years. Together they have three children: Hudson, Sahara, and Keziah. Rev. Dr. Brown continues to maintain his passion for mobilizing the church to engage in the global mission of God and to call people to stand together with those who experience persecution and injustice in anticipatory hope of the fullness of the Kingdom of God with its promise of flourishing freedom in the presence of the triune Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.