ST. LOUIS (Baptist Press, TAB) — Former Alabama Baptist pastor Steve Gaines will be nominated for president of the Southern Baptist Convention, Georgia pastor Johnny Hunt announced today.
“When Steve Gaines shared his prayer journey he and [his wife] Donna had travelled, I was touched by his clear call to allow himself to be nominated,” Hunt, pastor of First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Ga., wrote in a news release stating his intention to nominate Gaines during the SBC annual meeting June 14–15 in St. Louis.
“With such a passionate desire for spiritual revival in our churches and nation, and knowing him to be a man of deep intense prayer, it brings joy to my heart to nominate Dr. Gaines.”
During the 11 years Gaines has served as pastor of the Memphis-area Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, Tenn., the congregation has averaged 481 baptisms per year, according to the SBC’s Annual Church Profile. Previously he was pastor of Gardendale First Baptist Church and churches in Tennessee and Texas.
Bellevue’s finance committee is recommending that the congregation give $1 million during its 2016–17 church year through the Cooperative Program (CP). That will total approximately 4.6 percent of undesignated receipts, the church told Baptist Press.
Hunt said Bellevue has collaborated with the International Mission Board to lead evangelism training in 34 countries since 2007 and “at the request of the IMB … has been a strategy church for Jinotega, Nicaragua, since 2007.” The church also reported a $150,000 gift to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions last year and anticipated an equal gift for 2016.
Bellevue is partnering with the North American Mission Board to plant churches in the Northwest and has planted 10 churches in other areas, Hunt said.
Total missions giving for next year is anticipated at 18 percent of Bellevue’s undesignated receipts, the church reported, and includes the “Bellevue Loves Memphis” initiative, a service evangelism campaign launched by Gaines in 2007.
Gaines has served as a member of the SBC Committee on Nominations, a trustee of LifeWay Christian Resources, a member of the committee that proposed a revision of the Baptist Faith and Message in 2000 and chairman of the SBC Resolutions Committee. He preached the SBC convention sermon in 2004 and served as SBC Pastors’ Conference president in 2005.
Gaines told BP, “I would like to continue [current SBC president] Dr. [Ronnie] Floyd’s emphasis on seeking God for a spiritual awakening and revival. … I’ve been praying for an awakening for a long time, and that’s really my heart. I want the manifest presence of God in our churches and also in our denomination.
“… I also believe that we’ve got a real problem with our baptisms,” Gaines said. “We need to get back to personal evangelism and soul winning.”
Gaines’ presidential nomination is the second to be announced for the SBC annual meeting. North Carolina pastor J.D. Greear’s nomination was announced March 2.
Gaines is married to Donna and has four children and nine grandchildren. He holds master of divinity and doctor of philosophy degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
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