Greenville, S.C.—Gary Hollingsworth, a long-serving pastor and denominational leader with a record of church planting and international missions support, has been elected executive director-treasurer of the South Carolina Baptist Convention.
He received the unanimous support of more than 330 SCBC messengers who convened Jan. 14 for a special called meeting of the state convention at Shandon Baptist Church in Columbia.
The 58-year-old Alabama native has served as senior pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Little Rock, Ark., since 2007. He previously served as senior director of cultural evangelism at the North American Mission Board from 2005-2007.
“I think this convention has selected a man of God to lead them into the next chapter of evangelism, ministry and missions for the coming years,” said Richard Harris, a retired vice president with NAMB who led the state convention for 14 months after director-treasurer Jim Austin retired in October 2014.
“He is a statesman, a visionary leader, a people-person with tremendous relational skills, godly, an outstanding team player and a wonderful family man,” Harris said.
Marshall Blalock, pastor of First Baptist Church of Charleston, chaired the SCBC Executive Board search committee that settled on Hollingsworth after a yearlong process that included “many outstanding candidates.” Blalock noted Hollingsworth “emerged as the clear and first choice of the committee.”
Hollingsworth, who was elected president of the Arkansas Baptist Convention in 2015, has led Immanuel Baptist Church in sustained growth since 2007, increasing average attendance from 1,150 to 1,400 and baptizing 350 new believers. The church forwards 5.5 percent of receipts to the Cooperative Program and is consistently in the top 100 Southern Baptist churches in giving to Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong offerings. The church is a supporter of church plants (with projects in five U.S. cities) and international missions (with partnerships in 13 countries).
Hollingsworth graduated from the University of Alabama in 1979 with a B.S. degree in recreation administration. He earned a master of divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1984 and a doctor of ministry degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1996.
His previous pastorates include Shively Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky., 1989-1991; First Baptist Church in Alexandria, Va., 1991-1995; First Baptist Church in Trussville, Ala., 1995-2005; and Immanuel Baptist Church in Little Rock since 2007. (BP)