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N.C. exec Jim Royston plans to return to the pastorate

CARY, N.C. (BP)–Jim Royston, executive director-treasurer of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina since 1998, has announced his intention to return to the pastorate, according to the convention’s newsjournal, the Biblical Recorder.

Royston, 57, will preach July 17 in view of a call as senior pastor at the 1,400-member First Baptist Church in Mooresville, N.C., near Charlotte.

If Royston receives an affirmative vote, he plans to assume the pastorate in September, the Biblical Recorder reported. For the remainder of the summer, pending approval by the convention’s executive committee, he hopes to go on a study leave to work on a book about evangelism among niche groups such as horse lovers and NASCAR fans.

The convention’s executive committee is scheduled to hold a regularly scheduled meeting July 12. The Recorder reported that the committee is expected to discuss plans for interim leadership of the convention and a process for choosing Royston’s successor.

Earlier in his career, Royston was director of missions-ministries for the Metro Baptist Association in Charlotte and was pastor of First Baptist Church in Huntersville, between Mooresville and Charlotte.

In a letter posted on the state convention website, Royston noted in part, “As executive director-treasurer of this great state convention, I’ve been a pastor to other pastors, to staff and to as many of our 4,000 churches as would let me. I’ve heard confessions, counseled heartbroken men, preached in dozens of your churches, encouraged, and led as God gave me strength and vision….

“But, one thing that has been missing for me — in a way I’ve only recently begun to feel acutely — is a pulpit of my own and a congregational family that calls me their pastor. As a denominational servant, I worked every day to serve congregations and to make sure our staff understands our role is to serve congregations. I’ve never lost sight of that….

“I’ve never been one to preach one Gospel and live another. So when I urge people to seek God’s face, listen to Him speak and be willing to move as He leads, I do the same. In a personal prayer time of real surrender several months ago, I earnestly committed myself to whatever direction God would move me — lave me — where I can be most effective in Kingdom work.” Within a few days, he wrote, he received a call about returning to the pastorate.

Royston also noted, “A fall Jeannie took three years ago set into motion a series of health issues that have made my schedule very difficult on her. This move will accomplish two very important things: it keeps me closer to home and it enables Jeannie to be more involved in my daily life and work, a partnership we have enjoyed for 39 years.”

Royston concluded his letter by noting, “I will be our convention’s strongest supporter and biggest advocate. Thank you for the chance to drive the bus and now for the grace that lets me take another seat.”

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