LOUISIVILLE, Ky. – Kentucky Baptist messengers will make some far-reaching decisions next week when ballots are raised and candidates are elected to fill key convention roles.
“The choices made Tuesday will have a great impact on the future path of our Kentucky Baptist Convention and its place in influencing Kentucky and the world for Christ,” said Executive Director Paul Chitwood. “Our culture is plunging headlong into immorality and challenges to our religious liberty are growing. The closer we stand together on issues, the stronger will be our testimony and our influence on our society.”
Six Kentucky Baptists are expected to be nominated as potential leaders in the coming year with two candidates each vying for positions as president, first vice president and second vice president. Officers elected Nov. 10 when the 178th KBC Annual Meeting convenes at Severns Valley Baptist Church in Elizabethtown will serve a term of one year.
Candidates for president
Running for president are Louisville pastor Kevin Smith and Director of Missions Jerry Tooley.
Smith, teaching pastor of Highview Baptist Church, became the first African-American seated as first vice president when he was elected in 2006. He has served on Highview’s staff since 2013 and for the past 11 years has worked at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary as assistant professor of Christian preaching.
Smith is expected to be nominated by Lincoln Bingham, senior pastor of St. Paul Baptist Church at Shively Heights, in Louisville.
Tooley was elected KBC first vice president at last year’s convention in Bowling Green and is the director of missions for Daviess-McLean Baptist Association. He served as a trustee of Clear Creek Baptist Bible College, was twice chairman of the KBC Business and Finance Committee, and was a member of the KBC Administrative Committee.
Tooley is expected to be nominated by Rick Hatley, director of missions at Pulaski Baptist Association.
Candidates for first vice president
Seeking the office of first vice president are pastors Andrew Dyer and Mark Payton.
Dyer, pastor of Corinth Baptist Church in London, served with the International Mission Board as a church planter in Poland. While a member of the KBC Mission Board, Dyer was twice the chairman of the collegiate ministry committee and was a member of the Committee on Nominations. He is a trustee of Golden Gate Theological Seminary in Mill Valley, Calif.
Dyer is expected to be nominated by Chad Fugitt, pastor of Central Baptist Church in Corbin.
Payton, pastor of First Baptist Church of Dry Ridge, is the convention’s second vice president. He has served on the Southern Baptist Convention Committee on Committees, the KBC Mission Board and was president of the Kentucky Baptist Pastor’s Conference.
Payton is best known for serving as co-pastor with Bingham at St. Paul’s Baptist and modeling racial reconciliation by merging the predominantly white congregation of Louisville’s Shively Heights Baptist Church with the mostly African-American congregation at St. Paul’s Missionary Church.
Steve Hill, pastor of New Horizon Baptist Church in Glendale, is expected to nominate Payton.
Candidates for second vice president
Retired music minister Stephen Hall and Cox’s Creek pastor Jonathan Gann are vying for second vice president.
Hall, a member of High Street Baptist Church in Somerset, retired from his music ministry position at the church after 23 years. He is a former missionary with the International Mission Board and has served as president of the Kentucky Baptist Men’s Chorale and the Kentucky Baptist Music Conference. Hall also has served Pulaski Baptist Association as an executive board member and representative to the KBC Mission Board.
It is inferred that Hall will be nominated by his pastor Ed Amundson.
Gann served as youth minister at New Salem Baptist Church before being called as pastor in 2012. The Murfreesboro, Tenn., native is enrolled in the master’s degree program at Louisville Bible College and is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University. Gann has served Nelson Baptist Association as moderator and was a member of the administrative team.
Robert Tarrence, interim pastor of Glendale Baptist Church in Bowling Green, is expected nominated Gann.
Convention parliamentarian Adam Greenway said having the top three offices contested in the same year is rare for Kentucky Baptist politics and hasn’t occurred in at least a decade.
According to KBC Annuals, the last time the positions of president, first vice president and second vice president were contested at the same annual meeting was in 2005.
Candidates for convention president on Nov. 15, 2005, were Paul Chitwood, then-pastor of First Baptist Church of Mount Washington, and Bob DeFoor, then-pastor of Harrodsburg Baptist Church
John Mark Toby, then-pastor of Beacon Hill Baptist Church, in Somerset, and Tommy Valentine, then-pastor of Lexington Avenue Baptist Church, in Danville, sought the office of first vice president.
Second vice president candidates were Ronnie Mayes, then-pastor of Rose Hill Baptist Church, in Ashland, and Bill Shoulta, then-pastor of Melbourne Heights Baptist Church, in Louisville.
Top vote getters that year were Chitwood, Toby and Mayes.
Only messengers from cooperating Kentucky Baptist churches who are registered attendees of the convention are permitted to vote for KBC offices. Candidates are elected by a simple majority.