Luter leads slate in mostly quiet election

HOUSTON (BP) — Fred Luter, pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, was elected without opposition to a second term as president of the Southern Baptist Convention, leading a slate of candidates who ran mostly unopposed.

Bart Barber, pastor of First Baptist Church in Farmersville, Texas, was elected first vice president, while Jared Moore, pastor of New Salem Baptist Church in Hustonville, Ky., won a term as second vice president.

John Yeats, executive director of the Missouri Baptist Convention, was re-elected to a 17th term as recording secretary. Jim Wells, strategic partners team leader for the Missouri convention, was re-elected to an 11th term as registration secretary.

Mark A. Croston Sr., pastor of East End Baptist Church in Suffolk, Va., nominated Luter for another term as president, calling him “the kind of guy we need on the scene.”

Croston recounted Luter’s pastorate at Franklin Avenue Baptist Church beginning in 1986, when Luter took the helm of the struggling 65-member church and led its growth into a megachurch with several thousand members.

“[They] called this young, fiery preacher to be their pastor because he preached boldly and lived holy,” Croston said.

Croston praised Luter as a man of dignity who has led the Southern Baptist Convention with distinction, lauding Luter’s commitment to the inerrancy of Scripture, support of the Cooperative Program and love of biblical marriage.

“He is the husband of Elizabeth, the father of Chip and Kimberly, the pastor of the Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, La.,” Croston said, “and a believer that Jesus Christ still is the way, the truth and the life, and that no man comes to the Father but by Him.”

First vice president

Barber ran unopposed and was nominated by Steve Gaines, pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, Tenn.

Gaines lauded Barber’s years of service, including as a pastor, in key Southern Baptist Convention positions and as an adjunct professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

“He is a Bible-believing, Jesus-loving, soul-winning, pastor-theologian who leads a wonderful Southern Baptist congregation that is taking the Gospel to the world,” Gaines said.

Second vice president

In the only contested election of the meeting, Moore won the office over Don Cass, a longtime pastor and denominational leader in Texas and New Mexico.

Moore received 451 of 682 votes cast (66.13 percent) while Cass received 223 (32.7 percent).

Jeff Wright, pastor of Midway Baptist Church in Cookeville, Tenn., nominated Moore, saying that Moore’s perspective as an “average pastor” of a rural Southern Baptist church would be of value to the convention.

“I think Jared offers us that along with a firm conviction that the Word of God is sufficient to build the church of Christ to the glory of Jesus Christ alone,” Wright said.

Other elections

Yeats was unopposed in his re-election as recording secretary. He was nominated by his son, John Mark Yeats, pastor of Normandale Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas.

Wells also ran unopposed as registration secretary. Jim Richards, executive director of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, nominated Wells.

The convention elected John Meader, pastor of First Baptist Church in Euless, Texas, to preach the 2014 convention sermon, with John Avant, pastor of First Baptist Church Concord in Knoxville, Tenn., as the alternate preacher. Roger McGee, pastor of music and worship at First Baptist Church in Alexandria, Va., will be the 2014 convention’s music director.
John Evans is a writer in Houston. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).