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2 pastors elected at SBC to vice presidential posts

SALT LAKE CITY (BP)–Two Southern Baptist pastors, Rick Ferguson and Mike Gray, were elected to Southern Baptist Convention vice presidential posts June 9 after seminary president Paige Patterson earlier was elected SBC president by acclamation.
Messengers at the June 9-11 annual meeting in Salt Lake City also re-elected their recording secretary, John Yeats, during the June 10 morning session.
Ferguson, pastor of Riverside Baptist Church, Denver, was elected first vice president over William L. “Bill” Wagner, an emeritus missionary from Mill Valley, Calif.
Ferguson received 2,195 votes (61.12 percent) to 1,396 (38.87 percent) for Wagner.
Both men were announced as nominees prior to the SBC.
Ferguson, chairman of the SBC Committee on Order of Business, was nominated by Ronnie Floyd, pastor of First Baptist Church, Springdale, Ark.
Floyd described Ferguson as one of America’s “young, premier Christian leaders.” He said Ferguson has led his church to triple in membership, attendance and budget receipts since 1991.
Wagner, a missionary for 31 years in Europe and the Middle East and now a professor of evangelism at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in California, was nominated by Darrell Robinson, a staff member of the North American Mission Board, who said it was time for Southern Baptists to elect a missionary. Wagner also was nominated for second vice president at the 1997 SBC annual meeting in Dallas.
Gray, pastor of Southeast Baptist Church, Salt Lake City, was elected as SBC second vice president over two other candidates.
Gray, 1997-98 SBC Pastor’s Conference secretary, was nominated by Claude Thomas, pastor of First Baptist Church, Euless, Texas, and immediate past president of the Pastor’s Conference.
Gray received 1,502 votes, or 57.79 percent. Also nominated were Manuel Galindo, a pastor from Olmito, Texas,
(633, 24.35 percent) and Paul Blanchard, a director of missions from Louisville, Miss. (464, 17.85 percent).
John Yeats, editor of the Baptist Messenger, newsjournal of Oklahoma Baptists, was re-elected as recording secretary.
Yeats was nominated by Jerry Sutton, pastor of Two Rivers Baptist Church, Nashville, Tenn.
Patterson, elected SBC president June 9, is president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, N.C. The election for registration secretary will be held Wednesday night. –30–
6/10/98 NAMB issues challenge to ‘Get in the Game’ By James Dotson
SALT LAKE CITY (BP)–The North American Mission Board challenged Southern Baptists to “Get in the Game” of reaching the United States and Canada for Jesus Christ during the agency’s report to the SBC annual meeting June 9. The charge was illustrated by thousands of miniature basketballs tossed by NAMB staff over a crowd estimated at 8,500 at the close of the evening session. In a presentation that combined live reports and music with video, NAMB President Bob Reccord detailed the vast scope of the agency’s work in its first year of existence and provided a glimpse of new initiatives that will help define it in the future.
At the forefront, in addition to focusing on the efforts of thousands of appointed and volunteer missionaries, is a new emphasis on inspiring an evangelistic spirit in each individual Southern Baptist. “As gifted as these wonderful (missionaries) are and as committed to the mission of reaching North America as we are, our strategic planning process has led us unanimously to the same conclusion: The key to reaching North America for Christ is God renewing the evangelistic soul of our churches,” Reccord said.
“Our prayer is for a growing network of on-mission Christians and on-mission churches that will partner as never before in evangelistic and church-planting strategies throughout North America,” he said.
The emphasis ties in with the debut of NAMB’s new bimonthly magazine, On Mission. The premiere issue was distributed to messengers as they entered the convention hall and has been mailed to all SBC churches. In an extended video presentation on future NAMB initiatives, Reccord announced details of a plan to conduct two major evangelistic projects each year in 15 major cities beginning in 2000.
The effort, known as Strategic Focus Cities, will mobilize thousands of Southern Baptist volunteers and other resources of the 15.9-million member denomination to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. Mass media advertising, new churches, special events, door-to-door campaigns, sports clinics and other efforts will be conducted throughout the cities in association with existing Southern Baptist churches.
Two cities will be targeted annually for the special emphasis. The cities identified for “first-strike” priority are Chicago, Phoenix, New York, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Boston, Miami, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Detroit, Minneapolis, St. Paul, Seattle, San Diego, Cleveland, Montreal and Toronto. Strategic Focus Cites projects will be similar in many respects — although on a larger scale — to the Crossover Salt Lake City advertising and direct evangelism campaign being conducted in conjunction with the convention’s June 9-11 annual meeting.
Next year, NAMB will conduct a pilot project for the Strategic Focus Cities concept during “Arms Around Atlanta,” an evangelistic effort surrounding the convention’s 1999 annual meeting there.
“We hope to mobilize between 20,000 and 25,000 volunteers from across the nation to participate in that six-month event through various mission project opportunities,” Reccord said. “Free clinics will take the gospel to the inner city through dentistry and medicine. Sports clinics will feature professional and college athletes with unbelievable skills and passionate evangelistic hearts. World Changers will attack the renovation of inner-city Atlanta. And most exciting of all, we are praying for between 30 and 40 new churches to be planted as a result of all of us working together.”
World Changers is a volunteer opportunity sponsored by NAMB in which students spend a week in a city working with local governments to repair and rehabilitate housing for low-income residents. This year more than 11,000 volunteers are participating, but Reccord told messengers he hopes to see that number rise to 100,000 in five years.
Reccord also told messengers about the board’s recent alliance with First Priority, a ministry that helps local churches facilitate the formation of student-led Christian clubs on public school campuses. First Priority presently exists on 3,000 high school campuses and is growing rapidly.
Also announced during the board’s annual report to the convention was the Nehemiah Project, in which NAMB will fund a director/professor of church planting for each of the six Southern Baptist seminaries. The faculty member will head a newly established North American Church Planting Center at each institution.
The professors will be appointed missionaries of NAMB. Three of the seminaries will begin the program this year, with the remainder added in 1999.
NAMB has set a prayer goal of starting 60,000 churches in the next 22 years, more than doubling the 48,000 churches and missions that exist today and bringing the total to more than 100,000 churches by 2020, Reccord said.
He also noted a distressing decline in baptisms that NAMB has taken as its assignment to help reverse. In 1972, he said, baptisms peaked at 446,000. Last year, they reached 412,000. NAMB’s goal is to lead churches in raising those numbers to 500,000 by 2000, and 1 million by 2005. One highlight of the evening was a special appearance by Bob Carlisle, the Christian recording artist best known for the song, “Butterfly Kisses,” who performed his new release, “We Fall Down.” Reccord said he asked Carlisle to participate in the presentation after hearing the moving ballad during the Dove Awards in Nashville, Tenn., earlier this year.
“I went expecting to be entertained,” Reccord said. “Instead, God showed up.” Carlisle, who cancelled a concert date in Atlanta to make the appearance for NAMB, told Baptist Press he agreed to participate “because my greatest passion is to see people saved.” The North American Mission Board, based in Alpharetta, Ga., is the Southern Baptist Convention’s national agency responsible for leading local churches in evangelism and church starting. It was formed in June 1997 as part of a reorganization of national SBC entities, taking on responsibilities of the former Home Mission Board, Radio and Television Commission and Brotherhood Commission.

    About the Author

  • Lonnie Wilkey

    Lonnie Wilkey is editor of the Baptist and Reflector (baptistandreflector.org), newsjournal of the Tennessee Baptist Convention.

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