Bobby Welch, Jerry Sutton, Roy Fish elected to top posts

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--Bobby Welch was joined by Jerry Sutton and Roy Fish as the Southern Baptist Convention's top three elected officers during the SBC's June 21-22 annual meeting in Nashville, Tenn.

"A prophet has been among us," evangelist Junior Hill said in nominating Welch, pastor of First Baptist Church in Daytona Beach, Fla., to a second one-year term as SBC president.

"Seldom has any man risen ... more fitted to the task at hand," said Hill, a messenger with West Meade Baptist Church in Decatur, Ala.

Sutton, pastor of Two Rivers Baptist Church in Nashville, Tenn., elected as SBC first vice president, was nominated by Steve Gaines, president of the Pastors' Conference and pastor of First Baptist Church in Gardendale, Ala. He was elected in a runoff with Dan Spencer, pastor of First Baptist Church in Thomasville, Ga. The initial vote included a third nominee, Mike Boyd, senior pastor of Knoxville's Wallace Memorial Baptist Church.

Gaines, in nominating Sutton, described him as "a Bible preacher, a soul-winner, a committed conservative, an articulate scholar and a man of God." Sutton is the author of a 2000 book about the SBC's conservative resurgence, "The Baptist Reformation."

Roy Fish, longtime evangelism professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, elected as SBC second vice president, was nominated by Ted Stone of Grace Baptist Church in Durham, N.C., who described Fish as "a true servant of God." Fish was elected over Wiley Drake, pastor of First Southern Baptist Church in Buena Park, Calif.

Unopposed for re-election were recording secretary and registration secretary, respectively, John L. Yeats, editor of the Oklahoma Baptist Messenger, and James H. (Jim) Wells, director of missions for the Tri-County Baptist Association in Ozark, Mo. Yeats was first elected to his post in 1997; Wells in 2002.

In nominating Welch, Hill commended the Florida pastor for his "impeccable character," his passionate leadership and for "focusing on the main task: winning the lost to Jesus Christ." He concluded by saying Welch's "untiring passion for the unsaved" is needed again in the coming year.

During his first term as president, Welch crisscrossed the nation to promote "The 'Everyone Can' Kingdom Challenge!" to unite Southern Baptists around evangelism, setting a goal of 1 million baptisms during the coming church year.

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.


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