Jay Hardwick, associate executive director and chief strategist for the South Carolina Baptist Convention, has resigned his position, accepting the call of Forest Hills Baptist Church in Nashville, Tenn., as lead pastor.
He formerly served as a church planter and pastor before coming to the staff of the SCBC. He said, “We love our SCBC family. I could not be more encouraged about where we are and where we are heading. I have learned so much from Dr. Hollingsworth and count it a joy to have served under his leadership.”
Forest Hills began as a mission of Woodmont Baptist Church in 1960. The church has grown significantly since its inception, planted a church in West Franklin, Tenn., in 2004, and is, according to Hardwick, “a strong missions-driven Southern Baptist church. They are the second leading Cooperative Program giving church in Tennessee and have mission partnerships and missionaries from the church all over the world.”
SCBC Executive Director-Treasurer Gary Hollingsworth said that Hardwick would be sorely missed, but “it is no great surprise that God is calling him back to the local church. He is a gifted communicator and a great visionary. He has built a solid foundation in leading our Advance Team, and the work of our convention is stronger because of his time on our team.”
Hardwick shared the process that led to his new ministry assignment. “Throughout this year and especially in these last few months, we have sensed God calling us back to local church ministry and specifically to the lead pastor role. As we began to pray more specifically, a mutual friend contacted us about Forest Hills. From the first conversation to right now, God’s hand has been so powerfully evident in leading us. We are sad to leave South Carolina, but confident in God’s clear call to Nashville.”