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Fla. Baptists re-elect Tampa Bay-area pastor

TAMPA, Fla. (BP)–Tampa-area pastor Tommy Green was re-elected as president during the Florida Baptist State Convention’s annual meeting — the first time in recent history someone was elected to a second term. Green’s re-election followed a 2002 revision in the FBSC constitution to permit an outgoing president two consecutive one-year terms.

The Nov. 10-11 meeting, under the theme “Pursue Christ,” drew 1,260 messengers to the Sun Dome in Tampa.

Credit for a harmonious meeting goes to the “leadership of Dr. John Sullivan, his staff at the Florida Baptist Convention and the State Board of Missions,” said board member Michael Petty, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Marianna. “We thoroughly hash out issues during State Board of Missions meetings, answering all questions before they come to the convention floor. Dr. Sullivan’s leadership keeps us on focus and away from sidetracking issues.”

Gary Crawford, the mission board’s president, cited the state convention’s Cooperative Program giving as further evidence of the cooperative spirit of Florida Baptists. While other state conventions are experiencing budget deficits in 2003, Florida Baptists have given more than a half million dollars above budget to date, said Crawford, pastor of Westside Baptist Church in Gainesville.

The convention recognized Sullivan’s leadership with a reception in honor of his 15th anniversary as executive director-treasurer of the convention.

Crawford summarized Sullivan’s leadership, saying, “Excellence continues to characterize his leadership. Godly character and moral courage guide his life and empower his ministry. Organizational skills such as vision casting, delegation, time management, conflict management and communications, along with good perception and discernment enable an unusual effectiveness in ministry. Personal discipline and a pastor’s heart bring both strength and compassion to bear upon his work.”

Tom Biles, director of missions for Tampa Bay Baptist Association, nominated Green, pastor of the 5,000-member First Baptist Church of Brandon, for a second term as convention president.

Biles commended the Brandon pastor for his leadership during the past year, noting that he had visited more than 30 Florida Baptist churches, “representing us with experience, knowledge and grace.”

“His leadership is defined by character, competency and credibility,” Biles said. “God has gifted and prepared Tommy Green to serve in this position of leadership. He is a leader we can all trust.”

Green, pastor of the church located east of Tampa since 1996, served as the State Board of Missions’ 2000-02 president and has served on various associational and state committees. He also serves as a trustee of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and was a member of the 2002 SBC Credentials Committee.

Messengers re-elected Richard Ledgister, pastor of Sierra Norwood Calvary Baptist Church in Miami, to a second term as first vice president. Ledgister, a native of Kingston, Jamaica, leads a congregation composed primarily of people from the Caribbean Islands and South America.

Jacksonville businessman Jim Tatum, a member of First Baptist Church, was elected second vice president. Ron Hobbs, minister of music/business administrator of College Road Baptist Church in Ocala, was re-elected as recording secretary. All of the elections were uncontested.

Messengers approved a $35,320,365 Cooperative Program budget for 2004, representing a one-quarter percent increase over the 2003 budget. The budget will continue to be divided among Southern Baptist Convention causes, 40 percent; $14,128,146; Florida Baptist Convention causes, 51.75 percent, $14,098,788; church pastoral aid, 5 percent, $1,766,018; and church annuity program, 3.25 percent, $1,147,912.

Under a three-year budget plan, Cooperative Program receipts will continue to be distributed in the same manner.

No resolutions were presented from the floor during the meeting. Frances Shaw was honored via resolution upon her retirement after 25 years as director of the convention’s women’s missions and ministries department. Only one item drew any discussion. Fritz Fountain, director of missions for the Suwannee Baptist Association, asked that a new congregation, Belleville Baptist Church, which meets in a tent, be included as one of 24 newly constituted churches during the year.

Several approved recommendations dealt with the trusteeship of the Florida Baptist Witness, increasing the number of board members to 15 from 9; and changing their titles to board of directors from commissioners.

The convention’s 150th anniversary will be celebrated during next year’s Nov. 8-9 annual meeting in Jacksonville.

    About the Author

  • Barbara Denman

    Barbara Denman is communications editor for the Florida Baptist Convention. BP reports on missions, ministry and witness advanced through the Cooperative Program and on news related to Southern Baptists’ concerns nationally and globally.

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