Rick Lance elected successor to Troy Morrison in Alabama

by Art Toalston , posted Tuesday, June 16, 1998 (16 years ago)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (BP)--Alabama pastor Rick Lance, 47, was elected executive secretary-elect of the Alabama Baptist State Convention by the convention's state board of missions at a June 16 meeting in Montgomery.

Lance, pastor of First Baptist Church, Tuscaloosa, Ala., since 1983, will succeed Troy Morrison, the convention's executive secretary since 1990 who has announced his retirement effective Jan. 31, 1999.

Lance was the state convention's 1990-92 president, 1983-85 first vice president and a 1979-83 member of the state executive board. He will begin working alongside Morrison July 15 and assume the executive secretary's post Feb. 1.

Lance is a current trustee of convention-related Judson College in Marion and was a trustee of Samford University in Birmingham from 1988-92.

In the Southern Baptist Convention, Lance was a trustee of the Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board) from 1985-95.

Before assuming his Tuscaloosa pastorate, Lance had been pastor of First Baptist Church, Cullman, Ala., 1979-83; West End Baptist Church, Birmingham, 1977-79; and Valence Street Baptist Church, New Orleans, 1974-77. `

Lance earned a doctor of education degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in 1978 and a master of divinity there in 1975. He also is a 1973 Samford graduate and 1969 graduate of Birmingham's Phillips High School.

The search committee for Morrison's successor was chaired by Ron Madison, a member of the state board of missions and pastor of First Baptist Church, Opelika.

Lance has been a Christian since age 12, began preaching at age 17 and was ordained to the ministry in 1969 by Beachwood Baptist Church, Birmingham.

Lance and his wife, Pamela, have two daughters, Noelle, 18, and Allison, 15.

Morrison announced his retirement during the state board of mission's Sept. 5 meeting at Shocco Springs Baptist Assembly in Talladega.

"I thank God for the privilege of serving Alabama Baptists," Morrison said at the time. "These have been rewarding and maturing years for me as well as for the convention."

The Alabama state board of missions unanimously elected Morrison as executive secretary in 1990 after he had served the convention as director of church-minister relations and cluster coordinator of the departments of deacon/family ministry, annuity & insurance and church administration. Morrison also had been pastor of churches in Gadsden, Ala., and Louisville, Carrollton and Springfield, Ky. He holds doctor of ministry and master of divinity degrees from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Ky., and an undergraduate degree from Jacksonville (Ala.) State University.

Morrison told board members he decided to make the announcement more than a year in advance for several reasons, including allowing time for a search committee to become acquainted, organize, solicit recommendations and screen available candidates and allowing his successor time to become acquainted with the job and to assist in the transition if the new executive secretary desires.

Morrison, in his Sept. 5 announcement, cited several accomplishments during the past seven years, including: keeping the convention together; emphasizing evangelism, missions and ministries; focusing on support of local churches; nurturing good relationships with local associations of Baptist churches; balancing the convention's budget and consistently increasing financial gifts to missions; restructuring board departments for efficiency and significant cost savings; encouragement of missions volunteerism and partnerships; and the addition of almost 30,000 square feet of office space.

Morrison and his wife, Frances, are members of Montgomery's First Baptist Church.

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