WOODSTOCK, Ga. (BP)–Southern Baptist Convention President Johnny Hunt has announced that he has been diagnosed with prostate cancer and will undergo initial treatment in January.
Hunt, 57, pastor of the Atlanta-area First Baptist Church of Woodstock, reported the diagnosis in a statement to Southern Baptists released through Baptist Press Nov. 23.
Hunt was elected SBC president during the convention’s June 2008 annual meeting in Indianapolis and re-elected at this year’s meeting in Louisville, Ky., when he was instrumental in the formation of a 23-member Great Commission Resurgence Task Force.
In October, Hunt and his wife Janet visited four countries in the Middle East and North Africa, accompanied by several other First Baptist staff members and pastors and missions leaders from churches in Georgia, Alabama and North Carolina.
Hunt is the third SBC leader this year to disclose a prostate cancer diagnosis, following O.S. Hawkins in August and Jack Graham in June. Hawkins is president of GuideStone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Graham, a former SBC president, is pastor of the Dallas-area Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano.
Hunt’s full statement to Southern Baptists follows:
“I wanted to drop you a note and let you know that I appreciate your prayers for me as I have attempted to lead you over the past year and a half. I have been having my issues in recent days with my PSA as doctors have monitored carefully my prostate. With that being said, I received word this past Thursday, Nov. 19th, of the diagnosis of prostate cancer. Let me say that I am very encouraged in my heart to believe that they were able to locate this cancer early and Janet and I are now praying for wisdom from Heaven to know exactly what procedure to choose to deal with this cancer, probably around the second week in January. We would appreciate your prayers on this journey.
“As a Pastor, one thing that comes to mind is that there are far more trials and illnesses in God’s family than we are aware of. My heart goes out to all who are challenged with cancer, or whatever the illness may be. My Mother suffered with cancer and went home to be with the Lord 25 years ago next February. My Mom taught me in her challenges that the Lord had moved her from ‘Why me?’ to ‘Why not me?’ I must confess that she really did pass that along to me; therefore, my attitude today is not ‘Why me?’ but ‘Why not me?’ If anyone has been blessed by God, it is this Pastor. The Lord has been so good to me. I believe that the Lord oftentimes allows things to come into our lives, and this, in particular, has been a great reminder of my mortality, and also of a genuine faith that has brought me through everything that I have ever faced; so, the Lord has been speaking encouraging words into my heart. I have the privilege to be the Pastor of such a precious, precious fellowship. First Baptist Church Woodstock has embraced Janet and me, along with our children and grandchildren, in such an encouraging way.
“I just wanted to make this known to you, as our Convention family, that I love you, it is a joy leading you, and I look forward to serving the Lord together in the days to come. We will try to keep you abreast of my surgery because we so desire to have your prayers and intercessions on our behalf. Know that each of you are loved.”
Compiled by Baptist Press editor Art Toalston.