News Articles

Former N.C. pastor nominated as state’s executive director

CARY, N.C. (BP)??James Howard Royston, a former North Carolina pastor, will be nominated by the executive director search committee to the Baptist State Convention’s general board on Sept. 30, according to an announcement by Marion D. Lark, search committee chairman.
Lark said a letter was mailed Sept. 19 to all members of the general board, chief executive officers of the state convention’s agencies and institutions and the general board staff at the Baptist Building, Cary.
The nominee, a native of Johnson City, Tenn., has been pastor of 1,300?member Colonial Heights Baptist Church in nearby Kingsport since 1991. He was pastor of First Baptist Church, Huntersville, in the rapidly growing metro Charlotte, N.C., from 1985?91, and of Carolina Pines Baptist Church, Raleigh, from 1978?81.
“Jim Royston is not a superman,” Lark said in releasing the name of the nominee. “He does claim Christ as Savior and Lord. He is sure of his call to ministry. He is well?equipped spiritually, theologically, intellectually and relationally to lead thoughtfully and cooperatively, yet decisively.
“In my judgment, Jim Royston ?? the person ?? is a responsible match with the executive director?treasurer ?? the position,” Lark, pastor of First Baptist Church, Henderson, said in reporting that the decision of the search committee was unanimous in the recommendation.
“I am humbled and honored to be nominated to the office of executive director?treasurer of the Baptist State Convention,” Royston told the Biblical Recorder, newsjournal of the North Carolina state Baptist convention, in a telephone interview.
“We are open to the leadership of the Holy Spirit, the same kind of leadership that characterized the work of the executive director search committee which brought us to this point,” the nominee said.
In addition to his pastorates, Royston served on the staff of the Mecklenburg Baptist Association (now Metrolina) through a five?year appointment by the Southern Baptist Convention Home Mission Board to direct work in evangelism, lay ministries, stewardship, church growth and new church starts.
Royston is a graduate of Carson?Newman College in Tennessee and North Carolina’s Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he earned a master of divinity degree in 1980 and a doctor of ministry degree in 1987.
While a student at Southeastern, he was certified in Advanced Clinical Pastoral Education through Baptist Hospital, Winston?Salem. His student pastorates included a rural church in Tennessee and a congregation at Apex, N.C.
The nominee and his wife, Jeannie, have been married 31 years and are the parents of two adult children ?? Jeffrey, a graduate of UNC?Charlotte who lives with his wife and daughter in Mooresville, N.C., and Jennifer, a graduate of Wake Forest University who lives in Kingsport with her husband and son.
During a four?month sabbatical, Royster served as minister in residence at Carson?Newman College. Earlier he had served as the first acting director of the Norton Institute for Congregational Health at Carson?Newman.
The Biblical Recorder reported Colonial Heights Baptist Church last year recorded the highest per capita giving of any congregation with more than 1,000 members in the Tennessee Baptist Convention, forwarding $137,000 through the Cooperative Program and $9,000 to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and a missions partnership in Rochester, N.Y.
Royston has a long history of denominational service, according to information distributed by Lark. The nominee currently serves on the Tennessee Baptist Convention executive board, comparable to the general board in North Carolina, where he served before his relocation to his present pastorate. Among other assignments, Royston served as vice chairman of the long?range planning committee of the state Baptist convention from 1986?90.
In an interview with the search committee, Lark reported, Royston affirmed the beliefs set forth in the Baptist Faith and Message, a statement of faith approved by messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in 1963. Royston also stressed his belief in the autonomy of the local church and his “growing burden for reaching the unchurched.”
“Jim Royston’s spiritual health is reflected through his personal testimony,” Lark said.
“He is affirmed by those in small groups with whom he meets regularly to pray, and by many who have responded to inquiries made by the (search committee),” the chairman added.
Lark noted Royston has “unusually good listening skills” while being an effective communicator in large and small groups.
“His confidence and relational skills help him to be innovative, given to accepting challenge and to dealing with change where appropriate,” Lark said.
In a footnote on the information distributed, Lark wrote: “We (the search committee) were moved by the grace of God from being an appointed committee (reflecting diversity) to becoming genuine community (respecting diversity). We did not take votes as Robert’s Rule of Order defines them because we were led by the Spirit of God to consensus when significant matters were to be decided.”
If approved by the general board, Royston’s nomination will be presented messengers at the annual meeting of the Baptist State Convention in November at Winston?Salem.
??30?? 9/23/97 Ed Ernsting elected editor of Northwest Baptist Witness
VANCOUVER, Wash. (BP)??Edward “Ed” Ernsting, a pastor in Washington State since 1979, was elected as editor of the Northwest Baptist Witness in a unanimous vote by the Northwest Baptist Convention’s executive board Sept. 16.
Ernsting, 46, who will become editor Oct. 1, will succeed James Watters, who led the paper for 13 years until going on medical disability Aug. 1.
The Northwest Baptist Convention encompasses Southern Baptist?related churches in Oregon and Washington.
Ernsting has been pastor of Celebration Community Church (formerly Green River Baptist Church), Auburn, Wash., since 1986. He was pastor of Mountain View Baptist Church, North Bend, Wash., from 1979?86.
“Ed is a solid leader with a proven track record of ministry leadership in the Northwest,” said Jeff Iorg, executive director?treasurer of the Northwest convention.
A native of Dallas, Ernsting earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Arlington in 1974 and a master of divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas, in 1979. He is a candidate for a doctor of ministry degree from Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, Calif. He is a member of the American Christian Writers Association.
Ernsting and his wife, Nicky, have two sons, Michael, 13, and Mark, 10.
??30?? 9/23/97 Missions opportunities/events is new NAMB staffer’s focus
ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)??Kenny Rains, former director of adults in missions for the Brotherhood Commission, has accepted a position with the media and missions education group of the new North American Mission Board.
Rains will become NAMB’s manager of missions opportunities/events Oct. 1, with responsibilities for encouraging awareness of missions education and opportunities in Southern Baptist churches. He also will coordinate NAMB involvement in SBC mission education events such as World Missions Conferences, Jericho Missions Festivals and NAMB Week at Glorieta (N.M.) and Ridgecrest (N.C.) Baptist Conference centers.
Rains has nearly 24 years of denominational experience, most recently as associate pastor of education for Faith Baptist Church, Bartlett, Tenn. From 1985?95, his service with the Brotherhood Commission included developing materials for high school Baptist Young Men, leading missions conferences throughout the Southern Baptist Convention and involvement in coordinating the yearly convention?wide Jericho Missions Festivals.
A native of Tennessee, Rains has served on church staffs throughout the state. He is a graduate of Carson?Newman College in Jefferson City, Tenn., where he received a bachelor of science degree in church recreation. He and his wife, Connie, have two sons.