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Neal Hughes to chair Executive Committee’s CEO, presidential search team

Newly elected SBC EC presidential search team members gather for prayer following a special called EC meeting in Dallas May 1. BP file photo

NASHVILLE (BP) – Alabama associational executive Neal Hughes was elected June 1 as chairman of the search team tasked with finding the next president and CEO of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee.

Hughes, director of missions and executive director of the Montgomery Baptist Association and MBA Community Ministries, leads a slate of officers including vice chairman Nick Sandefur, senior pastor of Porter Memorial Baptist Church in Nicholasville, Ky.; and secretary Nancy Spalding, a member of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Roseville, Mich.

“As the presidential search team, we are humbled and grateful for the prayers, encouragement and support of Southern Baptists,” Hughes told Baptist Press. “We ask that our SBC family boldly come to the throne of grace, interceding daily for each of us.

“Pray that we may use holy wisdom and guidance from the Holy Spirit and scripture as we seek God’s man for the hour.”

The team is committed to communicating its progress to the EC after each meeting, the search team said in a June 1 update to the EC. The search team had planned to meet May 8, but Hughes said the meeting was delayed by illness, travel and other commitments.

“We all believe the best Baptists are informed Baptists,” Hughes told the EC. The team plans to meet again June 11, reporting its progress to the EC during the full body’s June 12 plenary session.

Other members of the search team, in place since May 1, are Corey Cain, lead pastor of Seymour First Baptist Church in Seymour, Tenn.; Drew Landry, senior pastor of Spotswood Baptist Church near Fredericksburg, Va.; and Sarah Rogers, women’s ministry leader at Christ Fellowship Church in Greenville, S.C.

David Sons, lead pastor of Lake Murray Baptist Church in Lexington, S.C., is an ex officio member in his role as EC chair.

The search team is the second such team to search for a new EC president and CEO during the vacancy created by the October 2021 resignation of Ronnie Floyd.

Jared Wellman, lead pastor of Tate Springs Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas, and immediate past EC chairman, failed to receive a majority vote when the first search team recommended him for the post May 1.

Willie McLaurin, former EC vice president for Great Commission relations and mobilization, continues to serve as EC interim president and CEO.