Johnny Hunt advises be ‘close and clean’
    April 9 2010 by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Assistant Managing Editor

    WAKE FOREST — Pastors should surround themselves with the best team possible, Southern Baptist Convention President Johnny Hunt told Southeastern Seminary students March 25.

    “You will learn in leadership that it’s just not what you have been empowered and enabled and gifted to do, it’s having the capacity to bring better people around you that will really help you be the leader God called you to be,” said Hunt, pastor of First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Ga., and a Southeastern graduate.

    Hunt also shared the recent news that he is cancer free, after just learning surgery for prostate cancer in January was a success.

    While the average pastor is sound theologically, Hunt said he has learned during his 34 years as a pastor that they are “in trouble relationally” and in their stewardship. That’s why he works with pastors.

    Preaching out of James 1, Hunt emphasized that “not everyone that hears God’s word welcomes it. Our best people oftentimes don’t welcome it.”

    Only converted after his brother’s death and resurrection, Hunt called James a practical preacher. God used James to tell the people “God will use these trials to make you a better believer,” Hunt said.

    The trials one faces can prove faith, but “life at best is short so make it count,” Hunt said.

    BR photo by Dianna L. Cagle

    Johnny Hunt stuck around after his chapel sermon at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary to talk with a line of people.

    A problem people have is not dealing with evil or sin. He urged students to “keep a short list and confess it and stay clean before God.”

    Only a “steady diet of the Word of God” will save someone from reproach, Hunt said.

    “God’s not looking for somebody as smart as Him, God’s looking for somebody that’s just so in love with Him and so overwhelmed with who He is that knows if anything’s ever to happen He’ll have to do it,” he said.

    People are looking for someone who is different.

    “They don’t want somebody to crawl down in the pit with them, they want somebody by the grace of God that has a solid foundation to reach down and lift them up for the glory of Jesus,” he said.

    The very things James challenged the people on in the first century, “is still the greatest sin of the 21st century; it’s still moral impurity,” Hunt said.

    He shared a phrase he uses to remind himself of his place: “God keep me close and clean. If I stay close to Jesus and clean before Almighty God, He’ll bless my marriage, he’ll bless my life.” 

    Endowing chair
    Southeastern is in the process of endowing the Johnny Hunt Chair of Expository Preaching. The goal of $1 million is within $115,000.

    The night before his chapel sermon, Hunt arrived in Wake Forest. He pointed out the Johnny Hunt House and mentioned the Jan Hunt room in the president’s quarters.

    “We’re trying to pay for this chair,” Hunt said. “This chair costs more than the house and that room and everything.”

    Danny Akin, Southeastern’s president, said the process has taken about eight years, but that they’ve “made massive progress” recently.

    The endowment will free up $50,000 annually for other expenses at the school. Greg Heisler, associate professor of preaching and speech at Southeastern, will receive the honor of occupying the chair when it is fully endowed.
    4/9/2010 5:49:00 AM by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Assistant Managing Editor | with 1 comments

Gene Scarborough
Johnnie Hunt and I share a common interest: I pastored the Noonday Baptist Church just south of his church at Woostock. They are located on the same highway. Further, we share some families which moved from my church to his. It is a good relationship.

I really rejoice in his encounter with cancer. I am sure it makes him more in tune with those who suffer.

As SBC President he stands in a critical time of reorganization and critical decisions with the heads of 3 major Boards / Executive Committee in the balance.

In my mind the question is: Do we continue down a road which has led to flat growth and flat giving, or do we rediscover the Autonomy which help us grow in the 50-70's?

Has moral impurity and hubris led us to this state even in the SBC???
4/11/2010 12:04:42 PM

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