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Oklahoma Pastor Mike Keahbone To Be Nominated for SBC President at 2024 Annual Meeting

Mike Keahbone
Mike Keahbone, senior pastor at Cherokee Hills Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, Okla., brings a message about love during the Fellowship of Native American Christians’ annual gathering June 12 in New Orleans. Photo by Elijah Hickman

At this summer’s annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), Oklahoma Pastor Mike Keahbone will be nominated to helm the denomination. The Baptist Messenger revealed that Victor Chayasirisobhon, pastor of First Southern Baptist Church in Anaheim, California, will nominate Keahbone for the presidency at the SBC’s yearly gathering, held June 11 and 12 in Indianapolis.

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Keahbone, 52, confirmed to ChurchLeaders on Jan. 30 that he will indeed receive a presidential nomination. In a Jan. 30 Facebook post, the pastor indicated he was approached last summer about running for the role—something that had “honestly…never crossed my mind.”

After praying with his wife, children, staff, deacons, and congregation, Keahbone said he agreed to accept the challenge. “What makes the Southern Baptist Convention so special and strong is that it is only as strong as the local church,” he said. “So together we took this step. I am excited for these next few months and the future of the SBC.”

Who Is SBC Presidential Hopeful Mike Keahbone?

For the past three years, Mike Keahbone has served as lead pastor of Lawton First Baptist Church in Lawton, Oklahoma. Prior to that, he led Cherokee Hills Baptist Church in Oklahoma City. During his first two decades in ministry, Keahbone ministered to youth. He also spent two years as a full-time evangelist, speaking at churches, conferences, and camps across America.

Keahbone, who is Native American, was born to a teenage mom, grew up without a father, and saw addictions ravage his family members. In a bio on Lawton First Baptist’s website, Keahbone noted that despite “all the turmoil, pain, and abandonment, there was hope.”

Thanks to people who modeled Christ’s love to him, Keahbone became a Christian while in college in 1990. “I have been called to preach the love, hope, and comfort that can only come through the gospel of Jesus Christ,” he said.

Within the SBC, Keahbone has held several high-profile roles, including Executive Committee member and vice chair of the abuse-reform task force. He’s also held leadership roles in the Oklahoma Baptists, including vice president of the board of directors from 2017 to 2019.

Keahbone authored a 2022 resolution about the mistreatment of Native American children in U.S. government boarding schools. He has been using the resolution and listening sessions to minister to survivors of forced conversion.

A Candidate With ‘Vision, Boldness & Clarity’

About his plan to nominate Keahbone for SBC president, Chayasirisobhon said, “Mike Keahbone is the real deal, a leader who loves the Lord, loves the SBC, and strives every day to make it better. He is a son of the SBC, and I am convinced he is more than ready to step up and step into the role of president.”