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Mike Stone, Rolland Slade reelected as EC officers

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP) — The chairman and vice chairman of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee were unanimously reelected during the EC’s June 10 meeting in Birmingham, Ala.

Resolutions of appreciation were approved for two SBC entity presidents, Chuck Kelley of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, who retires July 31, and Thom Rainer of LifeWay Christian Resources, who retired on Feb. 28 and for D. August “Augie” Boto, who served 13 months as the EC’s interim president.

Mike Stone, reelected as EC president, is pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Blackshear, Ga.; Rolland Slade, vice chairman, is senior pastor of Meridian Baptist Church in El Cajon, Calif.;

Joe Knott, an attorney from Raleigh, N.C., was elected as secretary, succeeding Stacey Bramlett, senior vice president of Independent Bank in Colliersville, Tenn. The EC secretary’s term is limited to one year.

The chairmen of the EC’s three committees also were reelected unanimously: Administrative Committee, Tom Tucker III, an evangelist based in Rock Hill, S.C.; Business and Finance Committee, Steve Goss, a physician and president of Mercy Clinic Northwest Arkansas; and Cooperative Program Committee, Hoyt Savage, lead pastor of Foothills Baptist Church in Las Vegas.

Resolutions of appreciation

The resolutions of appreciation for Kelley and Rainer will be presented to messengers for approval on the opening day of the June 11-12 SBC annual meeting in Birmingham, Ala. The resolution for Boto entailed just an EC vote.

Kelley, now chancellor of the seminary until his retirement, is being honored for 23 years of “effective service” as NOBTS president, including launching an undergraduate program at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola resulting in “many prisoners being converted to faith in Christ and the prison’s culture being transformed.”

Also under Kelley’s leadership, NOBTS initiated the Caskey Center for Church Excellence “with the help of a multi-million-dollar anonymous gift providing full scholarships and other assistance for bivocational and small church ministers,” the resolution states.

Despite devastation of the New Orleans campus by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the resolution notes, “the seminary experienced 100 percent growth in non-duplicating head-count, from 1,879 students in 1996 to more than 3,700 in 2019” with Kelley as president.

“In response to the challenges precipitated by Hurricane Katrina, Kelley initiated a new paradigm in the seminary’s educational delivery systems through the combined use of online educational technology and extension centers,” the Executive Committee said in the resolution.

In honoring Rainer for 13 years as LifeWay’s president, the resolution notes that under his leadership LifeWay reversed an almost 30-year decline in sales of ongoing small group Bible study curriculum with six consecutive years of growth fueled in part by “The Gospel Project.”

Rainer led LifeWay to launch LifeWay Research, which is frequently cited in religious and mainstream media, the resolution states, “for the purpose of assisting and equipping church leaders with insight and advice intended to lead to greater levels of church health and effectiveness.”

During Rainer’s tenure, LifeWay expanded its worldwide reach through LifeWay Global, launched B&H Academic, made several key acquisitions, sold its former campus and relocated to a new location in downtown Nashville, the resolution says. It also recognizes Rainer for writing more than two dozen books on church health, including the bestselling “I Am a Church Member.”

EC members expressed appreciation for Boto’s service as EC interim president and chief executive officer, for serving “capably and with distinction” in day-to-day leadership of staff and assisting EC officers, committees, workgroups and members.

Boto, the EC’s executive vice president and general counsel, represented the Executive Committee to the broader Southern Baptist community during “a particularly challenging time in Southern Baptist life,” the resolution of appreciation noted.

In another matter, the Executive Committee voted to report to messengers in Birmingham that its consideration of a motion at the 2018 annual meeting to study the biblical position regarding a woman serving as president of the SBC will be extended to the 2020 annual meeting in Orlando, Fla. It was noted that the original motion had asked for a report by the 2020 convention.

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