News Articles

Dallas pastor, Annuity Board committee deny nomination

DALLAS (BP)–O.S. Hawkins, senior pastor of historic First Baptist Church, Dallas, and the Southern Baptist Convention’s Annuity Board both deny Hawkins is the nominee for president of the Annuity Board, although a major Dallas newspaper says he is considering the position.
The Dallas Morning News in its Sept. 4 edition said Hawkins told his congregation at its Wednesday night prayer meeting he “might leave for another job — but he insisted that he had made no decision.”
Although the newspaper did not identify what “another job” is, the newspaper did mention rumors connecting the presidency of the Annuity Board, located in Dallas, and Hawkins’ name “had percolated through the church for several weeks.” The Annuity Board, with more than $6 billion in assets, is the world’s second-largest church pension fund, the newspaper said, and is looking for a successor for a retiring president.
Annuity Board officials told Baptist Press Sept. 4, “We have no information about any person who may be under consideration as a possible presidential nominee. The presidential search committee has made no recommendation to the board of trustees, and the committee has no deadline for completion of its search and recommendation.” Search committee chairman J. Ray Taylor, a Fort Worth, Texas, layman, is vacationing, board officials said, but confirmed the committee does not have a nominee at this time.
According to the newspaper, Hawkins told his congregation, “I have not told them ‘yes’ at all. Anything you hear about that is just a rumor.”
Hawkins said he had neither been formally offered the job nor had he decided to pursue it, the newspaper said, although “he said he would make his decision in the next week to 10 days.”
At the last Annuity Board trustee meeting in early August, Taylor said the committee was progressing in its work but gave no indication when it would be ready to present a nominee for president.
“Our prayer is that we will find God’s man in God’s time,” Taylor said. He said the committee had received about 22 resumes.
The new president will succeed Paul Powell, who will be 65 in December 1998. Powell asked the trustees in February 1996 to begin the search for a new chief executive officer. The committee was appointed in November of last year.
Hawkins would fit much of the profile the search committee has designed, including a general feeling among trustees that the new president would be a high-profile, conservative Southern Baptist pastor.
First Baptist Church is one of the largest Southern Baptist churches in America with more than 28,000 members, meeting at an historic campus in downtown Dallas covering several city blocks.
Hawkins has been pastor of the church since August 1993. Previously he was a pastor in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
A graduate of Texas Christian University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, both in Fort Worth, Hawkins is only the fourth pastor in 97 years at the Dallas church.
Pastor emeritus W.A. Criswell, one of Southern Baptists’ most well-known pulpiteers, apparently supports Hawkins’ as a “good candidate” for the Annuity Board presidency.
“They’d be lucky to have him,” Criswell was quoted by the Dallas newspaper. “I told him to pray about it and do what God says.”

    About the Author

  • Herb Hollinger