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Montana Baptists elect new leader

Revised 1:56 p.m. Jan. 4, 2007.

BILLINGS, Mont. (BP)–Jason Carson* has been selected as the new executive director-treasurer of the Montana Southern Baptist Fellowship.

Carson has been the evangelism director for the West Virginia Convention of Southern Baptists since 1996. He also has been a church planter in Tennessee, Florida and Michigan.

He will begin his new work with the Montana fellowship’s 130 churches and missions Sept. 5, succeeding Clyde Billingsley, who led Montana Baptists from 1994 until his retirement Dec. 31.

Carson, 40, was elected by the Montana fellowship’s executive board during a special meeting July 23. Carson and his wife, Marta*, were interviewed by the board after being recommended by the fellowship’s executive director search committee chaired by Daniel Lambert, pastor of Easthaven Baptist Church, Kalispell.

Carson summarized his priorities with two simple principles he will use in leading the fellowship’s ministry: First, does it help reach people for Christ? Secondly, does it strengthen the church?

“My heart is with small churches in rural communities,” Carson told Baptist Press Aug. 20 regarding one of the key facets of his new work.

Carson served on the committee that developed “Basic Training for Church Planters,” a resource available from the Southern Baptist North American Mission Board.

As a church planter, he led Hillcrest Baptist Church, Manchester, Tenn., from 1994-96, from a core group of 20 to 112 members; Central Parkway Baptist Church, Orlando, Fla., from 1990-94, from a core group of 35 to 180 members; and Grace Southern Baptist Church, Rogers City, Mich., from 1987-90, from inception to 50 members.

Carson holds a doctor of ministry degree in missions leadership and a master of divinity degree in Christian education from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Ky., and a bachelor of arts degree from Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, Tenn. His wife also is a graduate of Southern Seminary.

He accepted Christ at age 17 at First Baptist Church in his hometown of Winchester, Tenn., and was ordained to the ministry in 1987 at New Salem Baptist Church, Deatsville, Ky.

The Carsons, with their two daughters, Robin* and Heather*, plan to be in Montana by early September.
*Names changed for security concerns.

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