ST. LOUIS (BP)—Tennessee pastor Steve Gaines and North Carolina pastor J.D. Greear will be nominated for president of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) in June.
Johnny Hunt, pastor of Woodstock, Ga., First, has stated his intention to nominate Gaines during the SBC annual meeting June 14-15 in St. Louis.
During the 11 years Gaines has pastored the Memphis-area Cordova, Tenn., Bellevue, the congregation has averaged 481 baptisms per year, according to the SBC’s Annual Church Profile. Previously, he pastored churches in Alabama, 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), Southern Baptists’ unified channel for funding state- and SBC-level missions and ministries. That will total approximately 4.6 percent of undesignated receipts, the church told Baptist Press.
As of April 1, 2012, Bellevue began forwarding all its CP giving through the Tennessee Baptist Convention (TBC), the church said. Previously, it forwarded approximately $200,000-$340,000 annually in CP through the TBC, according to ACP data, and designated about twice that amount to be forwarded to the SBC Executive Committee for distribution according to the CP allocation formula, the church said.
The shift in giving methods resulted in an increase from giving 1.3 percent of undesignated receipts through CP in 2011 to 2.6 percent in 2012, according to ACP reports. Bellevue increased that percentage to 3.5 in 2013 and 3.8 in 2014. Between 2011 and 2016, the church has increased its CP giving by 278 percent, according to BP’s calculations.
The church’s Great Commission Giving (CPG) totaled approximately $2.5 million over the past two years and is anticipated to be $1.3 million (6 percent of undesignated receipts) for the congregation’s 2016-17 church year, which begins April 1, Hunt said. Great Commission Giving is a category of giving established by SBC action in 2011 that encompasses giving through CP as well as direct gifts to SBC entities, associational giving and giving to state convention ministries.
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 holds master of divinity and doctor of philosophy degrees from Southwestern Seminary.
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.
Greear, 42, will be nominated by Jimmy Scroggins, pastor of Family Church in West Palm Beach, Fla. During the 14 years Greear has pastored The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, N.C., worship attendance has grown from 350 to just under 10,000, Scroggins said. Total baptisms increased from 19 in 2002 to 928 in 2014, the last year for which statistics are available through the SBC’s Annual Church Profile.
Scroggins said The Summit’s “149 people currently with” the International Mission Board (IMB) marks the largest total from any church in the convention—a statistic the church told Baptist Press the IMB has confirmed. Greear himself served two years with the IMB before being called to The Summit.
Closer to home, The Summit has planted 26 churches in North America in conjunction with the North American Mission Board (NAMB).
In his release, Scroggins said the church “voted last year to give $390,000 to the CP in 2016, making it one of the top CP giving churches in the state of North Carolina and the SBC.”
As of Jan. 1, The Summit began forwarding all its CP giving through the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSCNC), the church said. Previously, it forwarded some funds it regarded as CP gifts directly through the SBC Executive Committee for distribution according to the CP allocation formula. In 2013-14, for instance, it gave $96,000 directly to the EC, according to the 2015 SBC Annual. The BSCNC reported CP receipts of $54,000 from The Summit in calendar year 2014. Adding the two numbers together yields the $150,000 the church self-reported as “CP giving” on its 2014 ACP—a total amounting to 1 percent of undesignated receipts.
According to ACP data, The Summit’s GCG was 13 percent of undesignated receipts in 2014, 12 percent in 2013 and 15 percent in 2012.
The Summit’s GCG includes more than $1 million annually to IMB-related causes and more than $500,000 to NAMB-related causes, the church told BP. The Summit additionally is in the process of funding an endowed chair at Southeastern Seminary to the total of $500,000.
Greear told BP, “One of the things God has put on my heart is that my generation needs to take personal responsibility for the agencies and the mission boards of the SBC and not just think of them as the SBC’s, but think of them as ours.”
Greear holds master of divinity and doctor of philosophy degrees from Southeastern Seminary.