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E.C. elects Kenyn Cureton as VP for convention relations

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Kenyn M. Cureton, a pastor of nearly 20 years who has been at the forefront of the voter values movement, was elected Sept. 19 as vice president for convention relations for the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee.

The senior pastor of the Nashville-area First Baptist Church in Lebanon, Tenn., told members of the Executive Committee after their unanimous vote, “I’m excited about this new phase in my service to Christ, and I look forward to sharing the good news about Southern Baptists — with Southern Baptists and the world.”

Cureton, 42, who will begin his new duties by Nov. 1, succeeds Bill Merrell, who now serves the Executive Committee as senior executive adviser.

Executive Committee President Morris H. Chapman, in presenting Cureton, described him as “a man of high intellect … [who] knows the Word of God … [and has] a deep love for our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Chapman also said Cureton “knows the moral and ethical issues which we face as Christians in this country.”

Cureton coauthored the 2004 iVoteValues.com Voter Resource Guide with Richard Land, president of the SBC’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, and he produced pamphlets, bulletin inserts and other resources for the national initiative. The materials were adapted by Focus for the Family for distribution through its 2004 voter campaign.

Land, in a statement Chapman read to the Executive Committee, described Cureton as “a man of God endowed with great gifts … [who has] an extraordinary vision and a deep burden for the spiritual reawakening of America for God and God’s purposes for our nation.”

“When he became aware of the iVote Values campaign, he came alongside us, partnered with us and labored in the vineyard for the cause of awakening American Christians to their obligation not only to vote, but to vote their values,” Land continued. “His constant encouragement has been a source of inspiration, and his sage advice and counsel have always been helpful and welcomed. Kenyn loves the Lord, loves the people called Southern Baptists and loves America.”

Cureton also has produced a 13-week video-driven curriculum, “The Soul of America: Rediscovering Our Nation’s Christian Heritage and Heroes,” which is yet to be published.

He holds Ph.D. and master of divinity degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, and an undergraduate degree from Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, Tenn. He has done additional Ph.D. study at the University of Texas at Arlington and the University of Lund, Sweden.

Cureton became pastor of First Baptist in Lebanon in 2000. The church has given 10 percent of its undesignated receipts through the Cooperative Program for Southern Baptist statewide, national and international missions and ministry; utilized the FAITH evangelism strategy and the “Experiencing God” and “Purpose-Driven Life” discipleship studies; and launched the first Hispanic mission church in Wilson County.

He was pastor of Buffalo Trail Baptist Church in his hometown of Morristown, Tenn., from 1996-2000; Alice Bell Baptist Church in Knoxville, Tenn., from 1993-96; and Sandy Baptist Church in Ravenna, Texas, from 1986-90.

He was an adjunct professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary’s Boyce College in 2000 and a teaching fellow at Southwestern from 1990-91.

Cureton and his wife, Pat, also a Morristown native, have two children, Kristen, 12, and William, 10.

Cureton made a profession of faith and was baptized at age 7 at Grace Baptist Church in Morristown. He was licensed to the ministry there in 1984, and ordained in 1986.

In a doctrinal statement provided to the Executive Committee, Cureton said, “While the inerrant word of God is my creed, I fully affirm the doctrinal statement contained in the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message.”