NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Ed Litton, senior pastor of First Baptist Church of North Mobile in Saraland, Ala., will be nominated for president of the Southern Baptist Pastors’ Conference during its June 8-9 meeting in Indianapolis, James T. Draper Jr., president emeritus of LifeWay Christian Resources, announced May 13.
Litton has served as pastor of the Alabama congregation since 1994. He previously was founding pastor of Mountain View Baptist Church in Tucson, Ariz., served as associate evangelism director for the Arizona Southern Baptist Convention while under appointment as a North American Mission Board missionary, and worked as a youth and collegiate ministry intern under Draper when he was pastor of First Baptist Church in Euless, Texas.
Under Litton’s leadership, the North Mobile congregation has grown in average attendance from 700 to 1,100 and averaged 140 baptisms per year for the past 10 years. They built a 1,500-seat worship center and added 19 acres of property without incurring additional debt. The congregation’s international missions ministry has recorded more 20,000 professions of faith in the past eight years. Litton also created the “Great Adventure Outdoor Television Show,” an evangelistic outdoor sports show that reaches 13.8 million households through the Sportsman Channel.
Litton is a former president of the Arizona and Alabama Baptist pastors’ conferences and in 2001 served as first vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention. He is a former trustee of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and currently serves on the boards of the University of Mobile and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Ed Litton is the right kind of person to lead preparations for the annual pastors’ conference, Draper said.
“I’ve known Ed since he was in seminary. He served on my staff for three years while he was at Southwestern,” Draper said. “The church he planted in Arizona began with 15 people and grew to approximately 1,200 members, with an average worship attendance of approximately 650. It was featured by Thom Rainer in his book, ‘Effective Evangelistic Churches.’
“Ed has served the church in Alabama for 14 years now and it has had significant growth under his leadership,” Draper added. “They have averaged 140 baptisms a year for the past 10 years and give more than 10 percent to the Cooperative Program. The church involved 175 people in 17 different international mission projects last year and he has been guest speaker at International Mission Board regional retreats in Uruguay, Brazil and Cyprus.”
However, Draper said that what convinces him Litton would make a good Pastors’ Conference president was seeing him minister to friends and family during his own wife’s funeral in August 2007.
“After the graveside service at the cemetery, people just kind of stood around in groups,” Draper recalled. “Ed started moving from group to group, speaking to everybody, then finally spoke to the whole group. Here he was, at the most critical moment in his life, and yet he was comforting other people. In the midst of his grief, he was still the pastor.
“I thought, ‘You know, being a pastor is not something he does; it’s something he is,” Draper added. “And that’s the kind of man I think we want to prepare something for pastors for the convention.”
Litton is a 1983 graduate of Grand Canyon University in Phoenix and holds an M.Div. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a D.Min. from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. In 2004, he was named Alabama Pastor of the Year by Samford University. He also won awards in 2004 and 2005 for documentary films on the original meaning of the First Amendment and the role of the Supreme Court in the United States. He and his late wife, Tammy, had two sons and a daughter.
Information from the 2007 Annual Church Profile for First Baptist Church of North Mobile lists 117 baptisms and primary worship service attendance of 1,145. The church gave $277,119, or 10.6 percent, through the Cooperative Program from total undesignated receipts of $2,602,209. According to the ACP, the church also received $3,745 for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions and $2,247 for the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions.
Litton is the first announced candidate for the position.
Compiled by Mark Kelly, an assistant editor with Baptist Press.