Five nominees for three top SBC posts
    May 7 2010 by Staff and press reports

    While three candidates have been announced as candidates to lead the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), only one candidate has been announced for each of the two next positions.

    The SBC annual meeting will be June 15-16 in Orlando.

    North Carolina native Johnny Hunt is completing his service as SBC president, having been elected to a second one-year term at last year’s SBC annual meeting in Louisville, Ky. Hunt is pastor of the Atlanta-area First Baptist Church in Woodstock.

    Georgia pastor Bryant Wright, Jimmy Jackson, president of the Alabama Baptist State Convention, and Ted Traylor, pastor of Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola, Fla., have all been announced as possibilities to lead the SBC.

    Evangelist Ron Herrod and Ray Newman, ethics and religious affairs specialist for the Georgia Baptist Convention, will be nominated for first and second vice president, respectively.  

    Bryant Wright
    The nomination of Wright, senior pastor of the Atlanta-area Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in Marietta, will be made by David Uth, pastor of First Baptist Church in Orlando, according to a March 12 report by the Florida Baptist Witness. (Read interview.)

    Wright is the founding pastor of Johnson Ferry Baptist Church, which began in 1981 and now reports average weekly worship attendance of 4,383 and a resident membership of 6,121.

    The church reported 459 baptisms in 2009. Wright was president of the SBC Pastors’ Conference in 2006 in Greensboro.

    Bryant Wright

    The church gave $638,992, or 3.9 percent, of its undesignated receipts through the Cooperative Program in 2009, according to the Georgia Baptist Convention’s Annual Church Profile, a decrease from 4.9 percent of undesignated giving in 2008 and 5.1 percent in 2007, The Christian Index of Georgia reported March 12.

    Wright, in comments to Index editor Gerald Harris March 12, said he wants to see “a greater percentage of our dollars (going) to the IMB, NAMB (North American Mission Board) and our seminaries.”

    From 1982 to 1997, Johnson Ferry gave 10 percent of church receipts through the Cooperative Program, The Index reported, noting that in 1997 the 10 percent given to CP “causes” entailed 7 percent to the Georgia convention, which forwards 40.35 percent of its receipts to SBC missions and ministries, and 3 percent directly to the IMB through the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.

    Beginning in December 2003, The Index reported, that figure went to 5 percent GBC/SBC, 5 percent IMB. In April 2009 the church gave 7 percent to CP causes, with a 3.5 percent split between the GBC/SBC and IMB, The Index reported.

    Joe Shadden, Johnson Ferry’s finance manager, told the Florida Baptist Witness that the church reduced CP and IMB gifts from 5 percent to 3.5 percent each in its 2009 budget as part of an overall budget reduction in response to the economic recession.

    David Uth, the Orlando pastor who announced his intention to nominate Wright for SBC president, told the Florida Baptist Witness that Wright is “uniquely positioned to continue the much-needed focus on the Great Commission as set forth by Johnny Hunt and the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force.”

    “Bryant has been a consistent leader among Southern Baptists who acknowledges and appreciates our traditional heritage while embracing some of the creative and innovative methods of reaching today’s generation for Christ,” the Florida paper quoted Uth as saying. Uth described Wright as an “example of a missional mindset in leading his church to not only aggressively support the Cooperative Program, but to give generously to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering and to other mission causes beyond his own church.”

    Uth said Johnson Ferry “has had a strong missional emphasis from the beginning.” Uth said the Georgia church gave 17 percent of budgeted receipts to mission causes in 2009 and “last year alone more than 1,500 members went on 70 mission trips to 27 nations around the world.” Uth said the church has started seven mission churches in Cobb County and north Atlanta and co-sponsored five other church plants.

    Johnson Ferry’s overall undesignated receipts for 2009 were $16,074,014, according to its ACP data, with overall missions giving listed at $3,015,335. An amount is not listed specifically for the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions. Wright, in a Nov. 5, 2009 column in The Index, called for “a radical reprioritizing of Cooperative Program (CP) funds through our state conventions,” affirming SBC President Johnny Hunt’s call “for a resurgent focus on fulfilling Christ’s Great Commission.”

    Wright proposed that each state convention keep no more than 25-30 percent of CP funds in-state so that 50 percent can go to international missions.

    “(A)s our lay volunteers began to go in great numbers on mission trips and to partner with ministries around the world, they were absolutely appalled to find how high a percentage of our CP dollars stayed in the state and how little actually wound up on the international mission field,” Wright wrote. “So several years ago, we began to dramatically shift the funding to Southern Baptist mission causes by giving 5 percent of the church budget to the CP and 5 percent directly to the IMB in what is considered a monthly gift to the Lottie Moon offering.”

    “We’d prefer that the full amount we give to Southern Baptist mission causes go through the CP,” Wright continued, “but until the formulas change dramatically and most of the dollars go to international missions, we’ll keep giving directly to international mission causes, and that percentage may even increase in the days ahead. Our lay leaders in missions are ‘chomping at the bit’ to do so today.”

    Wright also called for an increase in funding for the North American Mission Board “to help us reach our nation for Christ, with a primary focus on church planting — especially in unreached areas.” Funding for the SBC’s six seminaries also should “dramatically increase,” he wrote, to support the training of “thousands of men and women who will lead the way in carrying out the Great Commission.”

    “This is a major change that would need to be implemented over 3-5 years to allow the state conventions to adjust in their planning,” Wright wrote. “But implementation toward this goal needs to begin immediately with the state CP budgets that will be planned in 2010.”

    Wright, a native of the Atlanta area, holds a master of divinity degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., and a bachelor of arts in English from the University of South Carolina. After graduating from college, he worked for Puritan Chemical Co. for two and a half years before enrolling at Southern Seminary. After earning his M.Div., he was minister to single adults at Second Baptist Church in Houston before accepting the pastorate of the fledgling Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in December 1981.

    Wright and his wife Anne have three children and three grandchildren.

    Jimmy Jackson
    Jackson was the SBC’s first vice president for 2006-07 and has been senior pastor of Whitesburg Baptist Church in Huntsville, Ala., for 31 years. (Read interview.)

    “I’ve been encouraged to be a candidate for the Southern Baptist Convention president,” Jackson told The Alabama Baptist. “As we move forward as a state convention and the Southern Baptist Convention to reach the world for Jesus Christ, I would like to be a part of that.

    “As I’ve prayed about the opportunity, I have a peace about it and have consented to be nominated.”

    Jackson, who has led the Alabama Baptist convention the past two years, also has served as first and second vice president of the SBC. He holds a divinity degree and Ph.D. in Hebrew and Old Testament from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a native of Greenwood, Miss., and a graduate of Mississippi College.

    Jimmy Jackson

    He has been an assistant parliamentarian at the SBC’s annual meetings for nearly 25 years. He is a trustee at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a former member of the SBC Executive Committee.

    Information from the 2009 Annual Church Profile for Whitesburg Baptist Church lists 163 baptisms and primary worship service attendance of 1,556. The church gave $295,748, or 4.64 percent, through the Cooperative Program from total undesignated receipts of $6,364,921. According to the ACP, the church also received $236,735 for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions and $138,548 for the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions. ACP data for 1978, the year Jackson became pastor, is not available; according to data from 1980, the church gave $55,625 through the Cooperative Program, or 4.57 percent, from $1,217,454 in tithes and offerings.

    Rick Lance, executive director of the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, described Jackson as “a statesman-like figure in Alabama Baptist life.”

    “Jimmy has strong leadership qualities and has remained consistent through the challenges of more than 30 years as pastor of one church,” Lance added.

    If elected, Jackson would be only the second SBC president from Alabama in the history of the SBC. Jonathan Haralson was the first Alabamian to fill that role (1889–98).

    Under Jackson’s leadership, Whitesburg Baptist Church has grown from less than 3,000 members in 1978 to more than 7,000 today. Nearly 6,000 baptisms have taken place at the church since he became pastor, The Alabama Baptist reported.

    But pinning down those numbers just by talking to Jackson is pretty difficult to do, several Whitesburg Baptist members told The Alabama Baptist, saying that he’s never let the numbers become more important than the people they represent.

    “One thing about Brother Jimmy is that he’s never cared about the numbers,” said Karen Tidwell, his executive assistant for the past six years and a church member for more than 30 years. It’s always been about the people.

    In fact, the names of the people who make up Whitesburg Baptist Church have been on Jackson’s lips every day of all his years there, with The Alabama Baptist recounting that one of his first requests as pastor was for a list of members so that he could pray for each one by name every week. He has continued that practice for 31 years, the paper reported, and he credits God’s response to those prayers as an underlying source of strength for the church.

    Jackson and his wife Bobbi will celebrate their 50th anniversary this June. They have two grown children and six grandchildren.

    Ted Traylor
    “In this historic moment in Southern Baptist life, God has moved upon my heart to nominate” Traylor, said Ed Litton, pastor of First Baptist Church of North Mobile in Saraland, Ala. (Read interview.)

    Traylor told the Witness he agreed to be nominated “in response to the Lord’s prompting and the encouragement of friends across the SBC.”

    Anticipating the future, Traylor said his goal is “to serve and lead the convention I love into a revival of the Great Commission in the days ahead.”

    Ted Traylor

    A member of the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force, Traylor said his involvement with the work has been “life changing.”

    “The challenges that have surfaced demand spiritual revival and honest evaluation,” Traylor said. “Together our Baptist people can touch the world with the gospel.”

    Litton said Traylor’s life “has exemplified a steadfast, faithful man of God. Ted is a wise and joyful leader with an undying optimism for the work of God in and through Southern Baptists. He embraces diversity of method without compromising theological truth.”

    He praised Traylor’s leadership of Olive Baptist, making the congregation a “soul-winning, disciple-making church” which consistently has given 10 percent through the Cooperative Program, Southern Baptists’ unified missions effort, in addition to participating in “hands on” missions around the globe.

    In November, Traylor will celebrate 20 years as pastor of Olive Baptist.

    “Ted demonstrates that pure religion feeds, loves and cares for the hurting in his own local mission field,” Litton said. “Through various innovative ministries, Olive Baptist wraps the arms of Jesus around the drug addicted, the hungry and the homeless of Pensacola.”

    The Southern Baptist Convention needs Traylor’s “wisdom, courage and undying optimism as we press forward to our greatest days of Kingdom work together,” Litton said.

    Information from the SBC’s 2009 Annual Church Profile for Olive Baptist Church lists 270 baptisms and primary worship service attendance of 3,105. The church gave $731,080, or 10.1 percent, through the Cooperative Program from total undesignated receipts of $7,213,206. According to the ACP, the church also received $33,264 for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions and $10,466 for the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions. In 1989, the year before Traylor became pastor, the church had undesignated receipts of $1,923,165 and contributed $417,320, or 21.7 percent, through the Cooperative Program.

    Traylor is a trustee of the North American Mission Board and is chairman of NAMB’s presidential search team. Among other denominational leadership positions, he has been president of the Florida Baptist State Convention (1995-96), SBC first vice president (2000) and president of the Southern Baptist Pastors’ Conference (2004).

    A native of Pisgah, Ala., Traylor pastored two churches in his home state and three in Texas before joining Olive in 1990.

    Traylor holds degrees from Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, where he earned both the master of divinity and doctor of ministry degrees.

    Traylor and his wife Elizabeth are parents to two adult children.

    The author of three books, Traylor’s weekly radio and television ministry, “At the Heart of Things,” reaches across the Gulf Coast region.  

    Ron Herrod
    Evangelist Bailey Smith, a former Southern Baptist Convention president and former pastor, will nominate Herrod.

    Ron Herrod

    Herrod is the current president of the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists.

    “I feel that Ron Herrod’s years of experience as a successful pastor, as an anointed evangelist and as a man of integrity will serve him well in this capacity,” Smith said.

    After serving as a senior pastor of several Southern Baptist churches for more than 35 years, Herrod launched R.H.E.M.A. (Ron Herrod Evangelism Ministries Association) in 1995 based in Sevierville, Tenn. Herrod’s pastorates had included First Baptist Church in Kenner, La.; First Baptist Church in Fort Smith, Ark.; and Central Baptist Church in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

    In addition to preaching hundreds of revivals and crusades across the nation, Herrod has conducted mission projects in more than 30 countries. He has an international tape ministry and has written seven books.

    Herrod is a graduate of William Carey College (B.A.), New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (Th.M.), and Luther Rice Seminary (Th.D.).

    His denominational experience includes service as trustee of the International Mission Board, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Louisiana College. He has served as president of the Tennessee Baptist Convention Pastors’ Conference and vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention Pastors’ Conference.

    Herrod and his wife Emily, who have been married 47 years, have three grown children and eight grandchildren.

    He is a member of Grace Baptist Church in Knoxville, Tenn. Information from the 2009 Annual Church Profile for Grace Baptist lists 204 baptisms and primary worship service attendance of 2,884. The church gave $174,999, or 3.76 percent, through the Cooperative Program from total undesignated receipts of $4,654,098. According to the ACP, the church also received $20,000 for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions and $2,128 for the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions.

    Ray Newman
    Tommy Fountain, who also is director of missions for Mulberry Baptist Association in Hoschton, Ga., said he will nominate Newman.

    Fountain cited Newman’s stand on moral issues as the basis for the nomination.

    Ray Newman

    “In a time of moral and spiritual decline in our nation, Southern Baptists need the voice of a Ray Newman,” Fountain said. “For the past several years, Newman has stood for moral rectitude and righteousness under the gold dome of the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta.”

    In addition to his responsibilities with the Georgia Baptist Convention, Newman serves as a trustee of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. For the past seven years, he has written a weekly column for the Barrow County News titled “From Where I Stand.”

    Newman is in his 50th year in ministry, the past 21 of those years as a state missionary for Georgia Baptists. He served as a pastor for nearly 30 years.

    John Killian, vice president of the Alabama Baptist State Convention and pastor of Maytown (Ala.) Baptist Church, said, “I do not know of a better man, more qualified to serve our convention than Ray Newman. With his experience in ministry and his knowledge of the current political issues, Ray is the man for this office.”

    A native of Phenix City, Ala., Newman and his wife of 45 years, Gwen, reside in Winder, Ga. They have one son and four grandchildren. The Newmans are members of North Metro First Baptist Church in Lawrenceville.

    Information from the 2009 Annual Church Profile for North Metro First Baptist Church lists 110 baptisms and primary worship service attendance of 2,129. The church gave $376,014, or 12.99 percent, through the Cooperative Program from total undesignated receipts of $2,892,419. According to the ACP, the church also received $16,185 for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions and $10,575 for the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions. 

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    5/7/2010 4:52:00 AM by Staff and press reports | with 1 comments

Gene Scarborough
As I read through this list, it seems [b]only 2 lead churches giving around 10% while the majority are in the 5% CP giving range.[/b]

I see no real change in church outlook on mission giving while the GCR keeps calling for more giving by churches.

Actions speak louder than words, folks!!! The SBC is still in trouble mostly over the issue of control of funds--always responding to the leadership of the Pastor.

[b]If we believed in local church and individual AUTONOMY we would still be the SBC we once were.[/b]
5/10/2010 8:48:41 AM

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