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Lorick elected to succeed Richards as SBTC executive director

Nathan Lorick addresses the SBTC Executive Board after being elected executive director during a called meeting Feb. 21. Photo by Gary Ledbetter

GRAPEVINE, Texas (BP) – The Southern Baptists of Texas Convention Executive Board voted unanimously to confirm Nathan Lorick as the SBTC’s second executive director in a special meeting at the convention’s offices Sunday (Feb. 21).

Lorick will succeed Jim Richards, who has served as the convention’s executive director since its founding in 1998. Richards announced his retirement in November of last year.

Mark Hogan, SBTC executive board and search committee chairman, called the meeting to order and introduced guests, including Lorick’s parents and his wife Jenna. SBTC senior staff were also present. Twelve board members attended via Zoom.

“I personally never have been part of a group, men and women, where I felt the presence of God so powerful and so present, every time we had a meeting and a call,” Hogan said, thanking the search committee for its efforts and all board and staff for their prayers over the last three months of the search.

Hogan praised the efficiency of the search committee, which began meeting immediately after Richards’ retirement announcement.

“We were able to hit the ground running,” Hogan said, inviting the committee to join him at the podium and give their reasons for Lorick’s selection. SBTC president Kie Bowman, who joined the meeting via Zoom, spoke first.

Bowman, pastor of Hyde Park Baptist Church in Austin, said that while he had no preconceived choice for Richards’ successor, it became “obvious” during the interview process that “Lorick was the man.”

“He is smart. He is passionate about evangelism,” Bowman said. “He has a phenomenal mentoring relationship with Jim Richards. He knows the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention which will make the transition … as smooth as only God can make it and heaven can arrange it.”

Carol Yarber of Athens, one of three lay people on the search committee, recalled Lorick’s time as her pastor at First Baptist Malakoff. Yarber praised Lorick as a man of “integrity” and a “visionary” who took the church of 120 members to almost 500.

“God did this, we did not do this,” Yarber said, adding that after numerous meetings and the consideration of many resumes, search committee members were asked to narrow their choices to three candidates.

“We all came back with one,” said said, “Nathan Lorick.”

Richards served as an ex officio non-voting search committee member and thanked the men and women for their work.

“It was a joy to watch them as a silent participant,” he said.

Richards praised Lorick’s convictions regarding biblical inerrancy and the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, his compassion for the lost and believers alike, and his skills and life experience. He then read the account of Moses and the commissioning of Joshua from Numbers 27 before inviting Lorick to speak.

“I am humbled,” Lorick said, before describing his salvation as a child and recommitment to Christ at the age of 17 after a time of “running from God.” At 24, he became one of the youngest pastors in the SBTC and soon served on the convention’s executive board.

“Even if you choose not to call me, this process has been the greatest honor of my ministry,” Lorick said. Soon after, his call was confirmed by a unanimous vote.

“I never thought it would be possible to be able to follow your hero,” Lorick said of Richards after accepting the appointment. He told the outgoing director and his wife June, “I am forever changed because of you two,” adding: “I still have a lot to learn. You’ll be on speed dial.”

Lorick will become SBTC executive director-elect April 1 and serve under Richards for three months before assuming the role of executive director, according to a succession plan approved by the board last year. Richards will continue in an advisory role through the remainder of 2021.

For Lorick, who has served as executive director of the Colorado Baptist General Convention since 2017, the new role heralds a return to Texas and the SBTC, where he served as evangelism director from 2012-2017. He served in multiple Texas Baptist churches as a student pastor and interim pastor and as senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Malakoff and Martin’s Mill Baptist Church.

A graduate of East Texas Baptist University, Lorick earned Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees from Liberty University Baptist Theological Seminary (now the Rawlings School of Divinity). In addition to his pastoral ministry, Lorick has been active in denominational work, including serving on the SBTC Executive Board from 2006-2012 and as a trustee of the International Mission Board from 2010-2017.

“I’m humbled. I’m honored. … I can’t wait to be home,” he said.