Hunt re-elected, leads slate of new officers

by David Roach & Garrett E. Wishall, posted Thursday, June 25, 2009 (9 years ago)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)--Johnny Hunt, pastor of First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Ga., was elected without opposition to a second term as president of the Southern Baptist Convention at the denomination's annual meeting June 23-24 in Louisville, Ky.

John Mark Toby, pastor of Beacon Hill Baptist Church in Somerset, Ky., was elected first vice president and Stephen Rummage, pastor of Bell Shoals Baptist Church in Brandon, Fla., was elected second vice president.

The convention re-elected without opposition John Yeats as recording secretary and Jim Wells as registration secretary.

Mac Brunson, pastor of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla., was elected to preach the 2010 convention sermon and Michael Catt, pastor of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga., was elected as the alternate convention preacher. Messengers elected Scott White, senior minister of music and worship at First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Ga., as the convention music director.

In nominating Hunt, Ken Whitten, pastor of Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz, Fla., said that as he listened to Hunt's Pastors' Conference sermon June 22 and presidential address June 23, it "became real obvious" to him that Hunt "is God's sovereign choice to lead Southern Baptists for such a time as this."

"This past year, we have watched Dr. Hunt and we have seen a man with a mission on his mind and a burden on his heart," Whitten said. "He has been like Moses: he knows the ways of God. He has been like David: a man who has a heart for God. He has been like Daniel: with courage from God. He has crisscrossed our nation to meet with young pastors and future leaders."

Whitten said Hunt is a great leader and builder and that his leadership will guide Southern Baptists to success.

"My favorite thing about Johnny Hunt is simply this: like Barnabas ... Johnny Hunt is an encourager," Whitten said. "He has mentored pastors and for the past 23 years he has been the senior pastor of one of the greatest churches in America.

"First Baptist Church of Woodstock has shared their pastor with us at their loss and our gain because they believe in his conviction, they believe in his passion, they believe in his vision and they believe that it really is possible to reach a lost world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

In the first vice president election, Toby defeated Ken Render, pastor of Lakeside Community Church in St. Clair, Mich., by a vote of 1,039 (64.14 percent) to 567 (35 percent).

Kevin Smith, assistant professor of church history at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and pastor of Watson Memorial Baptist Church in Louisville, nominated Toby, citing his leadership in the Kentucky Baptist Convention as a hint of how he will lead the SBC.

"Brother Toby has been a wonderful leader in our state," Smith said. "He is currently serving as the president of the Kentucky Baptist Convention. And I want to nominate Brother Toby because he is a fine representative of a Kentucky Baptist and a Southern Baptist."

Toby's service on mission trips and in the Kentucky National Guard demonstrates him to be a warrior for Christ, Smith said.

"Not only would I stand with him on a battlefield, but I would stand with him on spiritual battlefields as we contend against kingdoms of darkness and those who would seek to upset the proclamation of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ," Smith said.

Rummage, the only candidate for second vice president, was nominated by Mark Harris, pastor of First Baptist Church in Charlotte, N.C.

Rummage's nine years of experience as a seminary professor -- one year at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and eight at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary -- and his service as a pastor in North Carolina, Virginia and Louisiana also mark him as a good candidate for denominational service, Harris said.

But Harris cited a higher reason to elect Rummage.

"As impressive as his education and experience is, the most impressive thing about Stephen Rummage would be his example," Harris said. "Dr. Rummage knows what it is to set his priorities: he is the provider and protector of his home. He has been married to his precious wife, Michele, for 18 years and he has been a dad to his precious son, Joshua, who is 11. His faith in Christ really does guide his life."

Hershael York, a professor of preaching at Southern Seminary and pastor of Buck Run Baptist Church in Frankfort, Ky., nominated Yeats, who is communications director of the Louisiana Baptist Convention. He said Yeats' experience as the recording secretary since 1997 combines with his education and intelligence to make him the most qualified man for the job.

"No one else is as capable as he," York said. "John Yeats may be capable to serve in many capacities in our convention, but no one is as capable as he to fill this position."

Wells, director of missions for the Tri County Baptist Association in Nixa, Mo., was nominated by Paul Purvis, pastor of First Baptist Church in Forsyth, Mo. Wells has served as registration secretary since 2002.

Purvis said Wells is a faithful family man, having been married to his wife Judy for nearly 43 years.

He said Wells also is faithful to his call, serving as pastor of Oakwood Baptist Church in Kansas City, Mo., for 16 years before he began serving the Tri County Association nine years ago.

"Jim is a friend of pastors," Purvis said. "He loves the local church pastor and he is a champion of the local church. He understands that it is the church, not the association, not the state convention, not even our national denomination that drives who we are as Southern Baptists. He is also a champion of the Great Commission."


David Roach and Garrett E. Wishall are writers at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.

Download Story