Ga. pastor John Connell is 1st VP nominee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--John Connell, senior pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Savannah, Ga., will be nominated for first vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention, a Texas pastor announced April 29.

Bruce Barber, pastor of First Baptist Church in Roanoke, Texas, said he will nominate Connell for the post during the SBC's June 10-11 meeting in Indianapolis.

Connell has served as senior pastor at Calvary since 2003. He previously served churches in Muscle Shoals, Ala.; Hammond and Ferriday, La.; Atlanta; and Brunswick, Ga.

In the Georgia Baptist Convention, Connell has served as chairman of the Committee on Order of Business, the Resolutions Committee and the strategy team for Cooperative Missions Champions. He has served as a trustee of Brewton-Parker College in Mt. Vernon, Ga., including a term as the board's vice chairman. He served on the Southern Baptist Convention's Tellers Committee in 1996 and 2007.

Connell holds both master's and doctoral degrees from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, where the faculty selected him as the outstanding master of divinity student in 1982.

"Dr. Connell is a man who first and foremost has a deep love of God," Barber said. "He has a passion to preach the holy Scripture, a dedication to the fulfilling the Great Commission in the local body of Christ, and a commitment to the Southern Baptist Convention -- the greatest evangelical, missionary-sending denomination in the history of the world.

"I worked with Dr. Connell as a staff member from 1996 to 2003. What I witnessed in seven years of ministry was an unequivocal love for God, an utter dependence upon prayer, a tireless work ethic in reaching the lost and a servant heart," Barber added. "Our denomination needs leaders with love, joy, wisdom and discernment. We need to preserve Frank Page's effort to involve a wider representation of churches on committees."

Under Connell's leadership, Calvary Baptist Church has added more than 600 new members and started a satellite church ministry, Barber noted. The congregation recently purchased 204 acres of land to relocate the church building and its school and develop a retirement village that will include garden homes, apartments, a nursing home, an assisted living facility, an Alzheimer's unit and a community center.

Connell and his wife Donna have two sons, a daughter and three grandchildren.

Information from the 2007 Annual Church Profile for Calvary Baptist Church lists 52 baptisms and primary worship service attendance of 658. The church gave $232,795, or 12.6 percent, through the Cooperative Program from total undesignated receipts of $1,842,098. According to the ACP, the church also received $35,768 for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions and $8,278 for the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions.

Connell is the first announced nominee for SBC first vice president this year.


Compiled by Mark Kelly, an assistant editor with Baptist Press.

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