More than eight months ago, Wayne Robertson from Valdosta, Georgia, announced that he would nominate me as president of the Georgia Baptist Convention when Baptists gather for our annual meeting this November. If elected, I welcome the chance to come alongside Dr. White, executive director of the GBC, to encourage him and to support him in his work. I want to bring a fresh, new vision to our state convention where all pastors from every part of the state feel involved and connected to the work of God’s Kingdom through Georgia Baptists.My vision to lead the GBC flows out of the Great Commission. Georgia Baptists of all types and styles can come together for the common work of the Great Commission, recognizing that a cooperative, unified work is necessary to be faithful to the Scriptures. With the lostness of Georgia growing greater each year, I want to call for “all hands on deck” to reach the lost, strengthen churches, grow disciples, and serve our communities. Instead of labeling or grouping pastors into categories such as young, old, contemporary, traditional, etc., I will ask Georgia Baptist pastors to commit to a unified category—“Great Commission pastors.” As president, I trust that each pastor can look into the mirror and judge for himself whether or not he’s being faithful to the Great Commission call of Christ. I would encourage pastors to pursue the Great Commission in whatever church or ministry context they find themselves. A church in Atlanta may accomplish it differently that a church in Ringgold. A small, rural congregation will go about it in a different way than a large, suburban congregation. A church plant inside the I-285 perimeter will flesh out the Great Commission is ways that are unlike the approaches of a county seat church in south Georgia. But the unifying factor in all of our work is a commitment to the Great Commission. As president, I will encourage pastors to be champions of the Great Commission and to be faithful to the call upon their lives. When “all hands” are on deck together, churches will be strengthened, the lostness will be penetrated, and lives will be changed.
The time is too short, the need is too great, and the call is too clear for Baptists not to be working together, in a spirit of inclusion and cooperation greater than we’ve ever seen before. As GBC president, I want to bring a renewed sense of unity and agreement among the pastors of our state, casting a fresh vision of what we can do together as the Body of Christ.