J.D. Greear elected new Southern Baptist leader
by J.C. Derrick
Posted 6/12/18, 05:51 pm
DALLAS—Delegates at the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) annual meeting in Dallas overwhelmingly elected J.D. Greear as the group’s next president on Tuesday. Greear, pastor of Summit Church in Durham, N.C., took 69 percent of the vote on the first ballot. Former seminary head Ken Hemphill had 31 percent.
Greear, 45, becomes the youngest SBC president in nearly four decades. In 2016, he withdrew from consideration after two inconclusive ballots, paving the way for current SBC president Steve Gaines to take the post. On Tuesday, Tampa pastor Ken Whitten made a passionate case for electing Greear. He cited 1,300 baptisms at Greear’s church over the last two years, 158 missionaries sent, and the congregation’s 17 percent non-white membership: “J.D. Greear is the right man at the right time.”
The SBC is the nation’s largest Protestant denomination with more than 15.2 million members, but its numbers have consistently declined over the last 10 years.
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J.C. is WORLD Radio’s managing editor. He spent 10 years covering sports, higher education, and politics for the Longview News-Journal and other newspapers in Texas before joining WORLD in 2012 and eventually becoming WORLD’s Washington Bureau chief. Follow J.C. on Twitter @jcderrick1.