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Mississippi Baptists say goodbye to Futral

JACKSON, Miss. (BP) — Messengers to the 184th annual meeting of the Mississippi Baptist Convention (MBC) Oct. 29-30 at First Baptist Church in Jackson elected officers for the coming year, approved the 2020 Cooperative Program budget and bade farewell to Jim Futral, who is retiring from the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board (MBCB) after 21 years as executive director-treasurer.

Futral, the son, brother, and father of ministers, is a graduate of Baptist-affiliated Blue Mountain College in Blue Mountain and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He was recognized for his 21 years of service to the convention board and his decades of pastoring in Mississippi and Texas prior to that.

Phillip Gunn, speaker of the Mississippi House of Representatives and member of Morrison Heights Church in Clinton, Miss., was among those who pointed to Futral’s lifelong dedication to the cause of Christ, presenting him with a resolution of appreciation authorized by members of the Mississippi Legislature.

A reception honoring Futral, his wife Shirley and members of their family was held in the Christian Life Center of the host church prior to the start of the Oct. 29 evening session.


The 2020 Mississippi Cooperative Program (CP) budget of $31,073,945, was unanimously approved by messengers and reflects an increase of $22,419 (.07 percent) over the previous year’s total.

Of CP receipts, 38 percent will be forwarded to national and international causes through the Southern Baptist Convention. This is up from 37.9 percent in 2019.

Rounding out the budget are Mississippi Baptist Convention Board ministries (34.2 percent), Mississippi agencies and institutions (25.85 percent) and church retirement and protection (1.9 percent).

Elected without opposition to serve as MBC officers for the coming year were president Ken Hester, senior pastor of First Baptist Church Pontotoc (first one-year term); first vice president Scott Thomas II, senior pastor of North Oxford Church in Oxford (second one-year term); second vice president Whit Lewis, senior pastor of Longview Heights Church in Olive Branch (first one-year term); recording secretary Michael Weeks, pastor of Pleasant Hill Church in Olive Branch (multiple terms); and assistant recording secretary Jerry Bingham, missions director for Benton-Tippah Association in Ripley (multiple terms).

Worship and discipleship

Richard Blackaby, president of Blackaby Ministries International in Atlanta and son of Henry Blackaby, noted Southern Baptist preacher and author, presented the Bible Treasures series of devotionals during the convention.

Convention messages were preached by Mark Vincent, outgoing MBC president and senior pastor of Clark Venable Church in Decatur; Greg Warnock, senior pastor of First Baptist Church Brookhaven; Futral; and Paul Chitwood, president of Southern Baptists’ International Mission Board in Richmond, Va.

Worship and praise through music were highlighted during the annual meeting, with performances by:

— Combined Baptist colleges choir, composed of students from the three Mississippi Baptist institutions of higher learning: Blue Mountain College in Blue Mountain, Mississippi College in Clinton, and William Carey University in Hattiesburg

— Mississippi Singing Churchmen

–Worship Ministry of First Church Brookhaven

— Combined choirs of First Baptist Church Grenada; Emmanuel Church in Grenada; Friendship Church in Grenada; First Baptist Church Winona; North Greenwood Church in Greenwood; and North Oxford Church in Oxford.

— Ensemble led by Mike Haight, worship pastor at Broadmoor Church in Madison.


Four resolutions were reported out of the annual meeting’s resolutions committee and approved by messengers:

— Expressing appreciation for First Baptist Church of Jackson’s use of their facilities; the speakers, singers, and instrumentalists; Mark Vincent, outgoing MBC president; and officers, members, and volunteers who served the annual meeting.

— Recognizing the ministry of Chris McNairy and his Urban Fusion Network in strengthening relationships among Mississippi Baptists “regardless of ethnicity or cultural histories….”

— Declaring the prosperity gospel to be “a false doctrine and distortion of the Gospel of Jesus Christ….”

— Honoring the life and ministry of James Robert “Jim” Futral as he prepares to retire and offering “profound appreciation” for the sacrifices made by his family in “supporting and standing alongside your husband and father….”

For more information on the ministries of the Mississippi Baptist Convention, visit mbcb.org.

    About the Author

  • William H. Perkins, Jr.