Pastor J.D. Greear will once again be nominated for the Southern Baptist Convention’s highest office of president. Greear was a nominee two years ago when he withdrew from the election due to a tied vote between himself and current president Steve Gaines.
The vote will take place June 12-13, 2018, in Dallas, Texas, when the largest Protestant denomination in the U.S. holds its annual meeting. Ken Whitten of Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz, Florida, told the Baptist Press (BP) he intends to nominate Greear for the position at that meeting. If elected, Greear will represent the younger voice of the SBC in a position of leadership.
According to Whitten, Greear, 44, will make a good bridge between the younger demographic in the SBC’s ranks and its older contingent. “J.D. Greear will give us the opportunity to impact another generation while continuing to honor the former generation of Southern Baptists,” Whitten says. Whitten also says Greear is all about the mission of SBC, which includes an emphasis on missions, evangelism and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
In a statement released to the Baptist Press, Greear discusses the goals he would work toward if elected. Among them are, “’the Gospel above all’ as the convention’s source of unity; ‘cultural and racial diversity’; ‘intentional, personal evangelism’; ‘church planting’; and ‘engagement of the next generation in cooperative giving and mission.'”
Greear is the leader of The Summit Church network throughout the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina. As the BP points out, Greear has grown this congregation from 610 members to just under 10,000 in the 16 years he has been the lead pastor there. The church is also one of the top contributors to the SBC’s Cooperative Program in North Carolina.
Additionally, the Summit has planted 248 churches, 208 outside the U.S. The church has an even bigger goal of planting 1,000 by 2050. 158 members of the Summit are currently serving as International Mission Board (IMB) missionaries.
A commitment to advancing the mission of the SBC is a central factor in someone being nominated for the position of president. It’s clear from The Summit’s ongoing contribution to missions, missionaries and church planting that Greear and his team are actively participating in this mission. In fact, Greear has personal experience in missionary work, serving as a missionary to Southeast Asia with IMB before he became a pastor. He also has experience as a college pastor. He graduated from Campbell University with a Bachelor of Arts and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary with an M.Div. and Ph.D.
Greear is accepting the nomination after “a lot of prayer, encouragement and counsel, with the consent of our [Summit] leadership team and Veronica my wife.” He has the support of former SBC presidents Jack Graham, James Merritt and Bryant Wright, according to BP.