ST. LOUIS (BP)—Steve Gaines, pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, Tenn., will be nominated for president of the Southern Baptist Convention, former SBC President Johnny Hunt announced March 9.
“When Steve Gaines shared his prayer journey he and (his wife) Donna had traveled, I was touched by his clear call to allow himself to be nominated,” said Hunt, pastor of First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Ga. Hunt plans to nominate Gaines during the SBC annual meeting, June 14-15 in St. Louis.
“Steve struggled with this nomination, as he has always believed this office should seek the man,” Hunt said. “With such a passionate desire for spiritual revival in our churches and nation, and knowing him to be a man of deep intense prayer, it brings joy to my heart to nominate Dr. Gaines.”
If elected, Gaines would be the third pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church to lead the SBC, following R.G. Lee, 1948-50, and Adrian Rogers, 1979-80, 1986-88.
During the 11 years Gaines has led the Memphis-area church, the congregation has averaged 481 baptisms per year, according to the SBC’s Annual Church Profile. Previously, he was pastor of churches in Alabama, Tennessee and Texas.
Bellevue’s finance committee is recommending the congregation give $1 million—about 4.6 percent of undesignated receipts—during its 2016-17 church year through the Cooperative Program, Southern Baptists’ unified channel for funding missions and ministries.
Bellevue has collaborated with the SBC International Mission Board to lead evangelism training in 34 countries since 2007 and at the request of the IMB, has been a strategy church for Jinotega, Nicaragua, since 2007, Hunt said. The church also reported a $150,000 gift to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions last year and anticipates an equal gift for 2016.
Bellevue is partnering with the SBC North American Mission Board to start churches in the Pacific Northwest and has planted 10 churches in other areas, including work with Native Americans in three locations, Hunt said.
Total missions giving for next year is anticipated at 18 percent of Bellevue’s undesignated receipts, the church reported, including the “Bellevue Loves Memphis” initiative, a service evangelism campaign Gaines launched in 2007.
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Gaines has served as a member of the SBC Committee on Nominations, a trustee of LifeWay Christian Resources, a member of the committee that proposed a revision of the Baptist Faith and Message doctrinal statement in 2000 and chairman of the SBC Resolutions Committee. He preached the SBC convention sermon in 2004 and served as SBC Pastors’ Conference president in 2005.
Gaines holds master of divinity and doctor of philosophy degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
He and his wife, Donna, have four children and nine grandchildren.
Gaines’ presidential nomination is the second to be announced for the SBC annual meeting. On March 2, Jimmy Scroggins of Florida announced his intent to nominate North Carolina pastor J.D. Greear.