COLUMBUS, Ohio (BP) – In a called meeting of the Ohio Mission Council, Ohio Baptists called Jeremy Westbrook as executive director-treasurer of the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio. Westbrook will begin the role Aug. 1.
The Executive Director Search Committee was named at the during Ohio Baptists’ annual meeting last November. It followed the July announcement of the retirement of previous executive director Jack Kwok, whose retirement was effective Dec. 1, 2020.
Pastor Reginald “Reggie” Hayes Sr. of United Faith International Church in Columbus, Ohio, who is current president of the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio (SCBO), served as chairman of the search committee. Bruce Smith, who has served as the associate executive director for the state convention since 2004, currently serves as the interim executive director.
In naming the search committee, then-SCBO President Ryan Strother worked with the vice presidents and intentionally included several members of the Ohio Future Team to be part of the 11-member committee, in an effort to promote continuity in leading Ohio Baptists in the SCBO’s new mission focus of “Amplifying leaders to accelerate Gospel impact.”
Westbrook’s vision of every church establishing a multiplication pipeline for the purpose of discovering and developing leaders for the next generation complements that focus.
“The State Convention of Baptists in Ohio was intentional to quickly have an executive director whose immediate and primary responsibility is to work alongside the Ohio Future Team to create the structure for Ohio’s vision for amplifying leaders to accelerate Gospel impact and then effectively lead toward those goals,” Hayes said “Dr. Westbrook will accomplish this in Ohio.”
Westbrook and his wife Jennifer are excited to move back to Ohio, where two of their three children were born.
“I believe we have the greatest pastors, the greatest leaders, and the greatest opportunity to advance the kingdom in the state of Ohio,” he said. “Ohio matters more than just every four years in the presidential election; it matters in the advancement of the kingdom.”
Westbrook came to Ohio from Memphis in 2008 to plant Living Hope Church in Marysville, where he continued as lead pastor through 2016. During that time, Living Hope Church baptized more than 200 people and developed and implemented a pastoral pipeline, launching Living Hope Columbus in the spring of 2017.
In 2017, Westbrook became senior associate pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Clearwater, Fla. As part of that church’s global vision to start and strengthen 150 churches, in 2018 Westbrook began a joint position as lead missional strategist of the Suncoast Baptist Association. In that joint leadership role, Jeremy Westbrook has been helping mobilize Suncoast churches for church planting and revitalization.
“I long to see the day where all of our churches in the Ohio convention and throughout the Midwest are filled with multiplication pipelines,” he said. “Every church, no matter the size, can develop and implement a pipeline to raise up and release leaders for the next generation of Gospel impact. I believe Ohio has the kingdom potential to be the epicenter of a movement of pipelines to call out the called for the Gospel of Christ.”
Other actions of the Mission Council’s meeting included acceptance of the recommendation of the finance committee on the salary and benefits package for the executive director position. The meeting was held at Briggs Road Baptist Church in Columbus, Ohio.