Jim Futral unanimous choice as Mississippi convention exec

by William H. Perkins Jr., posted Thursday, August 06, 1998 (20 years ago)

JACKSON, Miss. (BP)--James R. "Jim" Futral, pastor of Broadmoor Baptist Church in Jackson, was unanimously elected Aug. 5 by the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board to serve as the executive director-treasurer of the state's largest religious denomination.

Futral, 54, will assume his new duties when the current executive, Bill Causey, retires at the end of September after nine years in the post.

He will serve as executive director-treasurer-elect from Sept. 1 to Oct. 1.

"I am honored to be here, honored and blessed to be a Mississippi Baptist," Futral told the board after the vote in Jackson.

"I would take you back, all the way back to Pheba (Miss.) Baptist Church, where I was born again as a 9-year-old boy," Futral said, his voice wavering. "It's like yesterday I met Jesus, and I haven't gotten over that and I don't intend to."

Futral served as president of the Mississippi Baptist Convention from 1987-89 and as chairman of the MBCB executive committee from 1993-96. He was a member of the executive committee for six years, from 1990-96.

He has also served on a number of Mississippi convention boards, including Baptist Children's Village, 1979-81, and Education Commission, 1989-90. He is currently a member of the executive committee of Metro Baptist Association in Jackson.

In addition, Futral is a member of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee based in Nashville, Tenn.

Futral was born in Fort Smith, Ark., and graduated from Starkville (Miss.) High School in 1962 and surrendered to the ministry at age 18. He was licensed to preach at Meadowview Baptist Church, Starkville, in 1962, and ordained at Hickory Flat (Miss.) Baptist Church in 1964.

Futral received the associate degree from the former Clarke College in Newton in 1964 and the bachelor of arts degree from Blue Mountain College in Blue Mountain in 1967.

He earned both the master of divinity and doctor of ministry degrees from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in New Orleans, in 1999 and 1980, respectively, and also attended Southwestern Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.

In 1989, his alma mater Blue Mountain College awarded him an honorary doctor of divinity degree.

Prior to being called to Broadmoor Baptist Church in 1985, Futral had pastored a number of churches in Mississippi and Texas:

-- North Fort Worth Baptist Church, 1981-85.

-- First Baptist Church, Amory, Miss., 1978-81.

-- Grace Memorial Baptist Church, Gulfport, Miss., 1974-78.

-- Antioch Baptist Church, Columbus, Miss., 1972-74.

-- First Baptist Church, Briar, Texas, 1971-72.

-- First Baptist Church, Verona, Miss., 1967-71.

-- Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church, New Albany, Miss., 1965-67.

-- Whittentown Baptist Church, Ripley, Miss., 1964-65.

At New Orleans Seminary, he has served as president of the national alumni association, as a member of the foundation board and as an interim trustee. He is also a recipient of the seminary's distinguished alumni award.

Futral has been married for 33 years to the former Shirley F. Moore of Bessemer, Ala., and they reside in Madison. They have three children and two grandchildren.

Futral's father, the late Guy Futral Sr., was a longtime Baptist preacher. Futral's brother, Guy Jr., is director of church minister relations for the Kentucky Baptist Convention.

Causey announced his retirement April 20 during a meeting of the MBCB executive committee, which by policy also served as the search committee for his replacement.

After the Aug. 5 vote, Causey said, "We offer (the Futrals) our prayers, love and support, and we look forward to his great leadership."

Tupelo attorney Robert Upchurch, chairman of the executive/search committee, reported that 39 letters of recommendation nominating 23 individuals were received by the June 4 deadline.

Each person who was recommended to the committee was contacted and asked to pray for the Lord's guidance, Upchurch said, and 15 of the original 23 responded with biographical information.

The recommendation of Futral by the executive/search committee to the full board was unanimous, Upchurch said.

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