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Richards to be nominated as 1st VP

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (BP)–Donald M. (Mac) Brunson, pastor of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla., has announced his intention to nominate James W. Richards, executive director of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, for first vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention.

In a June 1 news release, Brunson said Richards “has led SBTC to do denomination right. With a leaner staff and a focused mission, this convention has done a lot to show the way.”

Richards is the founding executive director of the eight-year-old state convention and a member of First Baptist Church in Fort Worth.

“The SBTC has proved its commitment to a focused mission by helping start over 350 churches during its short lifetime,” said Brunson, who pastored First Baptist Church in Dallas, which is affiliated with the SBTC, from 1999-2006.

“The convention devotes more money for church planting than for any other budget item,” Brunson continued. “Dr. Richards has been the leader in keeping that vision in place.”

Richards, a Louisiana native, pastored in that state for 21 years before entering denominational service as an Arkansas director of missions in 1995.

“His experience has positioned Dr. Richards to be a pastor’s friend,” Brunson said. “He brought a personal perspective of love and respect for local church ministry to his leadership of our state convention.”

Richards is a graduate of the University of Louisiana at Monroe, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary, where he earned a doctor of ministry degree. He has been honored as alumnus of the year for NOBTS and Mid-America Seminary, located near Memphis, Tenn.

Richards has served as chairman of the SBC Christian Life Commission (now the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission) and the SBC Committee on Order of Business in addition to other associational, state and national service.

Since its founding in 1998, the SBTC has grown from 120 churches to 1,888 churches. The SBTC also leads all state conventions by allocating 54 percent of all undesignated receipts to the SBC operating budget. The convention also has developed in-state partnering relationships with two colleges, a university, two family needs institutions and several other fellowships and ministry organizations.

Information for First Baptist Church in Fort Worth from Southern Baptists’ Annual Church Profile survey for the most recent year, 2006, lists 26 baptisms and primary worship service attendance of 495. The church gave $134,964, or 12.3 percent, through the Cooperative Program from total undesignated receipts of $1,101,024. According to the ACP, the church’s total mission expenditures were $154,384, including $3,431 for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions.

Richards and his wife June have two married daughters and a high school-aged son and one granddaughter.

The election for SBC first vice president is scheduled for the opening day of the SBC’s June 12-13 annual meeting in San Antonio.

To date, two other nominees for SBC offices have been announced, both for second vice president: evangelist Bill Britt, a member of College Heights Baptist Church in Gallatin, Tenn., and a former president of the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists, and Eric C. Redmond, pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church in Temple Hills, Md., and a trustee at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.
Reported by the Southern Baptist TEXAN, newsjournal of the Southern Baptists of Texas convention.

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