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Ezell to be Pastors’ Conf. nominee

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)–Kevin Ezell, senior pastor of Highview Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky., will be nominated for president of the Southern Baptist Pastors’ Conference during its June 21-22 meeting in Louisville, Ky., a former conference president, Hayes Wicker, announced May 14.

“Dr. Ezell is one of our finest young leaders and is biblically authentic and incredibly innovative,” said Wicker, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Naples, Fla., and the 2007 Pastors’ Conference president. Wicker noted that Ezell was vice president of the conference that year.

Adding that his daughter’s family attends Highview, Wicker said, “My firsthand involvement with [Ezell] and his church helps me to have great confidence that he will lead us to experience renewal in an encouraging Pastors’ Conference. He is a stellar example of the ‘new breed’ of balanced leaders.”

Wicker, who said his nomination of Ezell entailed consulting and praying with a number of respected Southern Baptist pastors, noted, “Kevin is a man whose theology is consistent with the Conservative Resurgence of our convention. He is a John 3:16 preacher and a 1 Corinthians 13 leader. His winsome personality wins friends wherever he goes. He is a change agent who is not content with ‘business as usual’ but is proactive and bold. I thank God that he has not made an omission of the Great Commission.”

Wicker said Ezell’s heart for missions encompasses his birth in Germany into the family of an Air Force dad; two children from China and Ethiopia among his five children; and his leadership in a “A Million for Missions” Highview initiative for global outreach.

Highview, in its proximity to Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, adds to Ezell’s ministry as a mentor and model who invests time and resources into interns, students and hurting pastors, Wicker said. In Southern Baptist life, Ezell has served as chairman of the SBC Committee on Committees and as chairman of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s board of trustees.

Regionally, Highview has seven campuses in three counties in Kentucky and southern Indiana. Since the start of Ezell’s pastorate at the church in 1996, Highview has nearly tripled its worship attendance and doubled in Sunday School, Wicker said.

Ezell, a native of Paducah, Ky., also has led churches in Illinois, Tennessee and Texas and is a graduate of Union University; Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he earned an M.Div. degree; and Southern Seminary, where he earned a doctor of ministry degree.

“Though Kevin looks upward to the Lord and outward to the world, he is a very down-to-earth unassuming man,” Wicker said. “He laughingly says that he was voted into his first church in a unanimous call of ‘seven to nothing!'”

Information from the 2008 Annual Church Profile survey response submitted for Highview Baptist Church lists 128 baptisms and primary worship service attendance of 3,165. The church gave $226,467, or 3.5 percent, through the Cooperative Program from total undesignated receipts of $6,529,724. According to the ACP, the church’s total mission expenditures were $1,112,514. The church’s administrator, Chip Evans, said Highview actually gave more than $1.2 million to missions in 2008 and that a portion of those mission funds were given through the Kentucky and Indiana Baptist state conventions. Evans added that Highview funded a number of local missions efforts, but that the majority of the funds went to plant churches in Philadelphia, Atlanta, New York City, Boise, Indianapolis and Cleveland. Highview also directly funded international mission work in Guatemala, Honduras, Brazil, Peurto Rico, Zambia, North Africa, Zimbabwe, Vietnam, India, Asia and the Philippines, he said.

The church is dually affiliated with both the Kentucky Baptist Convention and State Convention of Baptists in Indiana.

Ezell is the first announced nominee for the Pastors’ Conference presidency.
Compiled by Baptist Press editor Art Toalston.

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