NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)—The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) board of trustees named Brent Leatherwood the new president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) public policy entity in a unanimous vote Tuesday, Sept. 13.
“I am honored and humbled to be given the opportunity to serve this historic institution as its next president,” Leatherwood told Baptist Press.
He says he will base his time at the helm on God’s Word and the Baptist Faith and Message.
“Rooted in Scripture and guided by the Baptist Faith and Message, this team will remain fervently committed to carrying out our ministry assignment—faithfully serving our churches and growing our convictional presence in the public square on behalf of our convention. That means speaking with biblical clarity about the issues that matter to Baptists: the inherent value of life, religious liberty at home and abroad, human dignity and the flourishing of families,” Leatherwood said.
Leatherwood has served as the entity’s acting interim president since Sept. 14, 2021. He follows Russell Moore who left the post in May 2021.
Leatherwood said he’s learned much about leading the ERLC over the last year. “True leadership begins as service,” he said. “That has been the heart I have brought each day to the ERLC these past 12 months. And it is that same heart I will continue to bring as this new chapter begins.”
Moore brought Leatherwood on board in 2017 to serve as the director of strategic partnerships.
Leatherwood is a deacon at The Church at Avenue South, a Nashville church plant of Brentwood Baptist Church. He says he looks forward to opportunities to serve churches and state conventions in the ERLC role.
“We have made it a priority to come alongside and equip our churches, partner with our state conventions, and support our sister SBC entities, he said. “This Commission will continue to do so in this new season because we know the Southern Baptist Convention is stronger when we are cooperating on mission together.”
Leatherwood served as the executive director of the Tennessee Republican Party from December 2012 to December 2016. There, he managed the organization’s campaign apparatus at the federal, state and local levels. Under his guidance, the Tennessee GOP helped elect more than 800 candidates, including several to statewide offices—believed to be the most in any four-year timeframe in the organization’s history.
He also has worked on Capitol Hill as a senior legislative aide to former Rep. Connie Mack, R-Fla. In that role, Leatherwood guided the domestic priorities for the congressman on the House Budget Committee and the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee.