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Johnson Ferry announces senior pastor candidate

MARIETTA, Ga. (BP) — The search team for Johnson Ferry Baptist Church, Marietta, Ga., announced Sunday (July 14) that North Carolina pastor Clay Smith will preach in view of a call on Aug. 4 to occupy the pulpit previously filled by former Southern Baptist Convention President Bryant Wright.

Smith, who currently serves as senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Matthews, N.C., is an M.Div. graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Currently he is pursuing his doctorate from Southwestern.

In addition to serving at First Baptist since August 2014, the South Carolina native’s ministry experience includes being the minister of adults at Shandon Baptist in Columbia, S.C., from 2008 to 2014, and associate pastor, outreach and education at Alice Drive Baptist in Sumter, S.C., from 2005-2008.

While in seminary in Fort Worth, Clay served as an intern to pastors Jack Graham and David McKinley at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, from 2002-2005.

“We firmly believe that He has led us to this point,” Smith said in a video presented to the church on Sunday, “and are so excited about all that He is doing and will continue to do at Johnson Ferry.”

“We believe this is a move of God, and that our best days as a church are ahead of us,” he added.

Smith and his wife Terrica have three children — Madison, Molly and Miller.

Bryant Wright, senior pastor and founder of Johnson Ferry in 1981, said there is “no doubt in our mind that Clay Smith is the man that God has chosen for this role.” Wright, also a South Carolina native, who served as SBC president from 2010-2012, announced his impending resignation in Nov. 2018. He will be sharing pastoral responsibilities with Smith from Sept. 8 until early December.  See related Baptist Press story.

On Aug. 4, Smith will preach in all five services at Johnson Ferry in view of a call to become the church’s second senior pastor.

This story was updated in the eight paragraph with new information on Monday (July 15) after the story was originally posted.

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