Bobby Welch to be nominated for SBC president

WOODSTOCK, Ga. (BP)--Bobby Welch, pastor of First Baptist Church in Daytona Beach, Fla., will be nominated as president of the Southern Baptist Convention during the June 15-16 annual meeting in Indianapolis.

The announcement was made Feb. 20 by Johnny Hunt, pastor of the Atlanta-area First Baptist Church in Woodstock.

"For the last 20 years I have personally had the privilege of observing Bobby Welch's unwavering commitment to Jesus Christ," Hunt said in a statement to Baptist Press. "He is loved and respected by Southern Baptists everywhere. His love for evangelism through the Sunday School has encouraged and strengthened us all.

"For these reasons, and many others, it is a privilege to nominate him this year in Indianapolis for the office of president of the Southern Baptist Convention."

Welch has been pastor of the Daytona Beach congregation since 1974 and is the co-creator of the FAITH/Sunday School Evangelism Strategy widely used in Southern Baptist churches. He is a former president of the Florida Baptist Convention and a former SBC vice president.

Welch and Doug Williams, retired minister of evangelism at the church, created the FAITH outreach that has since grown into an international strategy that combines evangelism and Sunday School. The strategy not only gives individuals a means of leading someone to a saving relationship with Christ, but then uses the Sunday School as a way to incorporate the new believer into the local church. It is available through LifeWay Christian Resources. Welch frequently travels the country, sharing with pastors how they can implement the strategy in their church.

FAITH is being used by churches in 49 states and in 13 countries, encompassing four language translations of FAITH materials.

Welch, who also is known for his "God and Country" speaking engagements and his support for pro-life ministries, is a Vietnam War veteran and a graduate of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. A native of Fort Payne, Ala., he earned an undergraduate degree at Jacksonville (Ala.) State University.

During the Vietnam War, Welch was a reconnaissance platoon leader who was shot and given up for dead and then experienced God's call to ministry through God's intervention. He received the Bronze Star with "V" Device for bravery, Purple Heart, Air Medal and other decorations. He left the Army with the rank of captain.

First Baptist Church in Daytona Beach regularly gives at least 15 percent of receipts for Cooperative Program ministries through the Florida convention and the SBC.

Welch has written two books, "Evangelism Through the Sunday School, A Journey of Faith" and "The Sacrificed Life." He has served as a LifeWay Christian Resources trustee and a member of the SBC Committee on Resolutions and Committee on Nominations.

He and his wife, Maudellen, have two married children, Matthew and Haylee.

In a June 2003 news story noting the possibility of his nomination, Welch told the Florida Baptist Witness he was "flattered, humbled and encouraged" that he would be considered for SBC president.

Welch said he told various Baptist leaders he would pray about it to "see what the Lord would have me do" but also said at the time that reports about his nomination "seem premature to me."

But, Welch said, "If the convention were to want me to do that, I would always try to do everything I could do to help the Kingdom's cause. ... If who I am and what I represent would be helpful to this convention to ... win more people to the Lord and equip more people for the Gospel, then I'm open to that."

Florida Baptist Convention Executive Director-Treasurer John Sullivan was quoted in the June 2003 story as saying that Welch "will make a great president for Southern Baptists. ...

"He has been a great supporter in Florida of the Cooperative Program and in baptisms and the FAITH ministry," Sullivan said. "He is uniquely qualified because he has been all over the convention doing the FAITH ministry. He's been in small churches and large churches. He has broad-based exposure in ministry."


Compiled by Art Toalston. (BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: BOBBY WELCH.

Download Story