Faith, skills led Bill Skelton to ministry

He formerly chaired Love Worth Finding

By Scott Carroll, Commercial Appeal

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Bill Skelton CAIn Bill Skelton's 20 years as chairman of Love Worth Finding, a Christian radio and television ministry, the group expanded from airing on three TV and radio networks to about 14,000 international media outlets, including six satellite networks.

Mr. Skelton's planning and organizational skills were the catalyst behind the group's growth, his friends and colleagues said.

But throughout his success, and until he died Thursday at age 74, he remained dedicated to what mattered most to him -- his faith.

"My precious friend and mentor, he humbly led, quietly and faithfully, always in the background, never seeking recognition, always responding in obedience to the Lord's direction," said Karen McNeil, Mr. Skelton's former assistant.

Mr. Skelton joined Love Worth Finding in 1991 at the request of the group's late founder and Memphis pastor Dr. Adrian Rogers, who recruited him for his integrity and leadership, Mr. Skelton's colleagues said.

Soon afterward, others began taking notice of those qualities, and Mr. Skelton became an influential figure at National Religious Broadcasters, an international association of Christian communicators and umbrella organization for religious programming worldwide.

He helped launch the group's own broadcasting network in 2005, and became its chairman three years later, a position he held until last year.

"Bill Skelton left a mark of grace on almost everyone he encountered," said Dr. Frank Wright, president and CEO of NRB. "His words of wisdom, encouragement and challenge have blessed many in the community of Christian broadcasters."

In addition to his chairmanships with Love Worth Finding and NRB, Mr. Skelton was also the chairman of Life Choices of Memphis, a women's health care ministry.

His leadership roles in the Christian community reflected a deep love for God and for teaching, said Dick Bott, president of Bott Broadcasting.

"(Skelton) was my friend, my brother in Christ, my adviser about so many things in Christian broadcasting and in life itself," he said. "Yet with all his executive talent, he had a tender heart for God, and was always open to anyone who needed his help."

Cathy Allen, Love Worth Finding chief operating officer, shared Bott's sentiment.

"In his leadership, mentorship and personal life, he exhibited his love of the Lord," she said.

Mr. Skelton is survived by his wife, Barbara, three children and five grandchildren.

A private family service on Monday will be followed by a public memorial service at Faith Baptist Church in Bartlett on March 3 at 2 p.m.