Nev. pastor to be Pastors' Conf. nominee
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--Vance Pitman, pastor of Hope Baptist Church in Las Vegas, Nev., will be nominated president of the Southern Baptist Pastors' Conference next month in Orlando, Mac Brunson, pastor of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, announced May 4.
"In a day when the Great Commission is gaining momentum in Southern Baptist life and church planting is at a high premium, Vance has demonstrated that the Gospel works out west and that keeping Baptist in your name is still an asset, not a liability," Brunson said.
According to Brunson, Hope Baptist began in 2001 as a church plant of First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Ga., pastored by Johnny Hunt, current president of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Starting with 18 people meeting in Pitman's home, the church has grown to nearly 2,000 each week in worship attendance, Brunson said.
"God has put on Vance's heart the Gospel for the nations," Brunson said, adding that since the SBC is "meeting out West next year, the election of Vance would send a strong message to our pastors and churches that they are such a vital part of our Southern Baptist family."
Pitman said the Southern Baptist Convention is an "incredible platform from which we can engage the nations with the Gospel."
Pitman said as a "younger pastor that's a church planter in the western United States" he is "very excited" about the Great Commission Resurgence movement in the SBC and the recommendations from the GCR task force to be considered at the Orlando SBC annual meeting.
"I would be excited about having the opportunity to highlight the Great Commission and reaching the nations at the Pastors' Conference in Phoenix," he added.
Pitman is the second announced candidate to lead the Southern Baptist Pastors' Conference, which meets two days prior to the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention. If elected, Pitman would lead the 2011 Pastors' Conference in Phoenix.
Troy Gramling, lead pastor of Flamingo Road Church in Cooper City was the first announced candidate and will be nominated by John Cross, pastor of South Biscayne Church in North Port, Fla.
Pitman said his nomination "really has nothing to do with who else has been nominated," but is in response to the belief of some that it was time for a pastor from the western United States to lead the Pastors' Conference.
According to information from his church, Hope Baptist has planted nine churches in the last seven years, with another church planned in the Las Vegas area.
Information from the 2009 Annual Church Profile for Hope Baptist Church lists 117 baptisms and primary worship service attendance of 1,670 with 1,090 resident members. The congregation gave $61,888, or 2.47 percent, through the Cooperative Program from total undesignated receipts of $2,497,299. The church's total mission expenditures were $1,436,838, with no gifts reported for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions.
Pitman earned a master of divinity degree from Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in Cordova, Tenn., and bachelor's degree from the University of North Alabama.
Pitman and his wife, Kristie, have been married 18 years and have four children.
James A. Smith Sr. is executive editor of the Florida Baptist Witness (www.gofbw.com), newsjournal of the Florida Baptist State Convention.