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Merritt to nominate Wicker for Pastors’ Conference president

GREENSBORO, N.C. (BP)–Georgia pastor James Merritt said May 15 that he would nominate Hayes Wicker, pastor of First Baptist Church in Naples, Fla., for Pastors’ Conference president during the June 11-12 sessions prior to the Southern Baptist Convention’s June 13-14 annual meeting.

Wicker is the current president of the Florida Baptist State Convention. He has served as senior pastor of FBC Naples since 1992, and during that time the church increased its membership from 1,613 to 6,399. Prior to that, he served as pastor of First Baptist Church in Lubbock, Texas. Wicker also has served as pastor of churches in Arizona, New Mexico and Oklahoma.

“Hayes has been my friend for well over 20 years. He has been one of Southern Baptists’ most consistently long-term evangelistic pastors, baptizing hundreds yearly for over 25 years,” Merritt, pastor of Cross Pointe Church in Duluth, Ga., said. “… Anyone who knows Hayes knows that Hayes is a friend both to older-established pastors and younger pastors on the rise. He is equally adept at both traditional ministry and contemporary ministry.

“I think Hayes will represent the broad spectrum of Southern Baptist pastors well, and I’m looking forward to nominating him.”

Wicker has a doctorate and master’s degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, and a bachelor’s degree from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix.

Information for the most recent year from Southern Baptists’ Annual Church Profile survey, 2005, for First Baptist Church, Naples, lists 304 baptisms; $367,910 in gifts through the SBC Cooperative Program; total undesignated receipts of $6,402,000; and total mission expenditures of $1,301,300, including $140,401 for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions and $50,011 for the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions. Total membership stood at 6,399, resident membership at 5,210.

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