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Patterson re-elected to 2nd term; Ga., Ala. pastors elected v.p.s

ATLANTA (BP)–Southern Baptist Convention President Paige Patterson was re-elected by acclamation June 15 during the SBC annual meeting, while, also by acclamation, Frank Cox, senior pastor of North Metro First Baptist Church in suburban Atlanta, was elected first vice president.
For second vice president, Jerry Spencer, pastor of Ridgecrest Baptist Church, Dothan, Ala., defeated Paul Russell, pastor of Sunridge Baptist Church, Seabring, Fla., by a vote of 1,817 (52%) to 1,706 (48%).
Lee Porter and John Yeats, also were re-elected as registration and recording secretaries, respectively, June 16.
Porter, a retired pastor and denominational worker who has been the SBC’s registration secretary 22 years, defeated Teresa Norris of Denver, Colo., 2,205 (62 percent) to 1,351 (38 percent). Porter is a member of John’s Creek Baptist Church, Alpharetta, Ga.
Yeats, editor of the Baptist Messenger newsjournal and director of communications for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, was elected by acclamation.
Patterson was nominated for a traditional second one-year term by evangelist Junior Hill, a member of West Mead Baptist Church, Decatur, Ala. Hill described Patterson, the 56-year-old president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C., as a man “who has the passion to make the main thing” of evangelism “the main thing.”
In his past year of service as SBC president, Patterson has been “thoughtful and wise in his leadership, tempered and restrained in his public statements, impeccable in his character and uncompromising in his call for biblical righteousness and New Testament evangelism,” Hill said.
Hill praised the “incredible growth of Southeastern Seminary under Patterson’s visionary leadership” and referred to “the spirit of revival that now permeates that campus” as “nothing
short of miraculous.”
And though he is best known as an educator and theologian, Hill said Southern Baptists have seen in the last year “a side of this gifted man that many did not know existed,” as he “stood tall among us as a preacher of the Word of God. With the burden and compassion of a pastor, he has challenged us to establish thousands of new churches, with primary emphasis to the densely populated urban areas.
“Contrary to what naysayers want us to believe,” Hill said, “Southern Baptists’ best days are before us.
“While there are many who would disdain the name Baptist and make light of our spiritual heritage, I, for one, have never been more happy to be called a Southern Baptist,” he added to the applause of messengers. “I am especially happy that in this exciting hour and wonderful new millennium that we enter we have a man like Dr. Paige Patterson to be our leader.”
Cox was nominated by James Merritt, pastor of First Baptist Church, Snellville, Ga., and the SBC Executive Committee’s outgoing chairman. Merritt said attendance at North Metro under Cox’s leadership has grown from 500 to 3,800 under Cox’s leadership. In the last 10 years, the church’s Sunday school and worship attendance has tripled and baptisms have averaged 180 in the last nine years. “Under his ministry, 93 people have surrendered to full-time Christian service,” Merritt added.
The church gives 13 percent of its undesignated receipts to the Cooperative Program, Southern Baptists’ unified giving channel.
Cox, also a member of the SBC Executive Committee, is a graduate of Mercer University, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Luther Rice Seminary.
Spencer, who also serves on the Executive Committee, was nominated by Stan Coffey, pastor of San Jacinto Baptist Church, Amarillo, Texas.
Coffey said when Spencer became pastor of Ridgecrest Baptist Church 10 years ago the congregation averaged about 400 in Sunday school and had about 1,000 members. It now averages 1,400 in Sunday school attendance and has a membership of approximately 3,000.
“He spent 27 years in full-time evangelism, winning the lost, building the church, encouraging pastors, thrilling the hearts of many people with his vibrant loving spirit and his compassion for people,” Coffey said. “He’s put his arms around that city.”
Spencer is a graduate of Union University, Jackson, Tenn., the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas.
The other nominee, Russell was nominated by Zach Zevendon from Briarwood Baptist Church, Ringgold, Ga. “He pastors a growing congregation of 200, the size of which represents the vast majority of Southern Baptist churches,” Zenvendon said. He added that Russell’s congregation supports the Cooperative Program with 15 percent of its undesginated offerings, and 22 percent of its total budget goes to missions. Russell also has pastored churches in Mississipppi and other parts of Florida.
Porter was nominated by Mike Tignor, pastor of Memorial Baptist Church, Baytown, Texas. “As a result of serving as credentials committee chairman during this annual meeting, I have seen firsthand Dr. Porter’s dedication … and commitment to accuracy, excellence and fairness,” Tignor said. “Consequently, my nomination of Dr. Porter is not motivated by sentimental feelings or my desire to keep a tradition intact. He has given much to Southern Baptists and … he is willing to give again.”
Charles Sullivan, executive director-treasurer of the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana, nominated Yeats. “I recommend …. John Yeats because he has already served us the past two years in a very superb and gracious fashion.” Sullivan said. “He is imminently qualified in this position.”

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  • Tammi Ledbetter