Elizabethtown—Kevin Smith, teaching pastor of Highview Baptist Church in Louisville, made history again Nov. 10 by becoming the first African-American to be elected as president of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.
Smith, who was the first African-American to serve as first vice president of the KBC in 2006, defeated Jerry Tooley, director of missions for Daviess-McLean Association, who was first vice president this past year.
The vote was 578 to 233, with Smith capturing 71.3 percent of votes, compared to Tooley’s 28.7 percent.
Smith was nominated by Lincoln Bingham, senior pastor of St. Paul Baptist Church at Shively Heights in Louisville.
“Kevin Smith is a Baptist statesman on a national and statewide level,” Bingham said, in nominating Smith earlier.
Lincoln, a race-relations pioneer in Kentucky for more than three decades, highlighted Smith’s contributions as a champion for holistic reconciliation, church revitalization, evangelism and missions.
Smith told the Western Recorder that he was honored to have been nominated by Bingham. “He has been a personal inspiration in his efforts for Christ’s people to be united across lines of division,” Smith said.
Smith, who has served on Highview’s staff since 2013, is also an assistant professor of Christian preaching at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Previously, he was pastor of Watson Memorial Baptist Church, also in Louisville. During his tenure, he led that congregation into the Kentucky Baptist Convention, and since has been active on various KBC committees and task forces. He also has served as a conference speaker.
Prior to his election as president, Smith, said that, if elected, he would like to spend his time encouraging pastors to have healthy relationships and strengthening pastors as they deal with the challenges of ministry.
“Specifically, I want to make sure they are aware of resources God has provided for them, in our Mission Board, our associations, and other pastors,” he said.
Smith, who is working toward a Ph.D. from Southern Seminary, is a graduate Hampton University and the Church of God Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Pat, have three adult children. (WR)