New Orleans annual meeting features two S.C. pastors

(Updated 5/30/23)

As The Courier went to press on May 18, more than 8,800 messengers had pre-registered for the SBC Annual Meeting in New Orleans to convene June 13-14 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center — already passing the 7,868 registration mark set at the 2012 annual meeting there.

Two South Carolinians are on this year’s convention program: David Sons, lead pastor, Lake Murray Baptist Church, Lexington, who will present the Committee on Resolutions report; and Marshall Blalock, pastor, First Baptist Church, Charleston, who will present the Abuse Reform Implementation Task Force report.

“I’m very pleased with how this year’s SBC annual meeting schedule came together,” said Spence Shelton, chair of this year’s Committee on Order of Business and pastor of Mercy Church in Charlotte, N.C. “The Committee on Order of Business put a lot of prayer and thoughtfulness into this agenda, and I believe it’s going to be a great couple of days.”

The schedule is available online on the Baptist Press website, and registration can be made at the SBC Annual Meeting website.


Mike Stone, pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Blackshear, Ga., announced April 26 that he has agreed to accept a nomination for the presidency. The only other announced candidate is current president Bart Barber, who will be nominated by Steven James, pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Lake Charles, La.

In a video released by Alabama pastor Mac Brunson over Twitter, Stone pointed to two issues in the SBC he will address more in the coming weeks: sexual abuse and evangelism. “In this critical hour, we need leaders who will guide us to care well for victims while at the same time embracing scriptural principles of due process in the handling and publishing of accusations [of sexual abuse],” he said.

Stone was one of four candidates seeking the SBC presidency in 2021, finishing second to Alabama pastor Ed Litton. Stone also served two terms on the SBC Executive Committee, including two years as chair.

According to Annual Church Profile information, Emmanuel Baptist reported 24 baptisms in 2022, averaged 975 in weekly worship, and collected $2,433,397 in total undesignated receipts. Emmanuel did not give through the Cooperative Program in 2022, according to Georgia Baptist Mission Board officials.

In addition to chairing the Committee on Resolutions at the 2022 annual meeting, Barber served on the committee in 2021, preached at the SBC Pastors Conference in 2017, served as first vice president of the SBC from 2013-2014, served on the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention executive board from 2008, served as a trustee for Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary from 2009-2019, and served on the SBC Committee on Committees in 2008.

According to Annual Church Profile information, First Baptist Church, Farmersville, where he pastors, reported 14 baptisms in 2022 and averaged 320 in weekly worship. The church collected $1,014,990 total undesignated receipts, with $108,276 (10.67 percent) given through the Cooperative Program.

In other convention races, Jay Adkins, pastor of First Baptist Church, Westwego, will be nominated for first vice president by Fred Luter, former SBC president and a fellow New Orleans pastor.

Adkins has experience on the state and national levels of the convention and serves as the chair of the local encouragement team for the 2023 annual meeting. He has previously served on both the Tellers Committee and the Committee on Nominations.

According to Annual Church Profile information and church records, First Baptist, Westwego, reported seven baptisms in 2022 and averaged 85 in weekly worship. The church collected $125,970 in total undesignated receipts, with $10,822.59 (8.59 percent) given to Cooperative Program causes.

Don Currence, administrative pastor at First Baptist Church, Ozark, will be renominated for the office of recording secretary by fellow Missouri pastor Jon Nelson.

Currence served the last three annual meetings as registration secretary. He has served as a trustee for New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary as well as in numerous state and local Baptist association leadership roles in both Missouri and Louisiana.

According to Annual Church Profile information, First Baptist, Ozark, reported 14 baptisms in 2022 and averaged 408 in weekly worship. The church collected $1,602,724 total undesignated receipts, with $106,691.04 (6.66 percent) given through the Cooperative Program.


SBC President Bart Barber has announced appointments to the 2023 Committee on Committees. Riley Prather, pastor of Green Valley Crossing, Putnam, Conn., will lead the committee as chair. The committee is tasked with nominating members to serve on the 2024 Committee on Nominations.

Committee on Committees members from South Carolina are Lamont Sullivan, of Kingdom Life Church in Simpsonville; and Albert Allen, of First Baptist Church, Newberry.


The 2023 Committee on Nominations, chaired by Michael Criner, has released its list of nominees to fill vacancies on the boards and standing committees of the SBC.

Seventy-four new nominees were named in the initial report, with a handful of vacancies yet to be filled by the committee. The nominees include 19 women (26 percent) and 55 men (74 percent). The ethnic breakdown of the nominees includes 77 percent Anglo, 5 percent Black, 5 percent Asian, 5 percent Hispanic, 3 percent Native American, and 1 percent Native Hawaiian, with 3 percent opting not to share their ethnicity.

Nominees from South Carolina are:
Executive Committee — Mark Hendrick, First Church, Columbia (term expiring 2027); replacing Dwight M. Easler, Corinth Church, Gaffney.
Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary — Casey L. Williams, North Trenholm, Columbia (term expiring 2028); replacing Frankie J. Melton Jr., Heath Springs, Heath Springs.
Committee on Order of Business — Bryant Sims, First Mt. Moriah, Greenwood (term expiring 2026); replacing Spencer C. Shelton, Mercy, Charlotte, N.C.


Louisiana Baptists say prayer is key to a pair of evangelistic efforts preceding the 2023 annual meeting. The Send Relief Serve Tour, an effort that seeks to involve participants in service projects in Houma and New Orleans, will take place June 9-10. A celebration service will be held June 10 at First Baptist Church of New Orleans, with a meal at 5 p.m. and service at 6 p.m.

Additionally, Crossover, a large-scale evangelistic effort, will take place in the New Orleans and North Shore Baptist associations on June 10. The Serve Tour and Crossover weekend will wrap up with a Harvest Sunday on June 11. Churches in these areas will be encouraged to utilize evangelists to fill the pulpit that day.

Louisiana Baptist Executive Director Steve Horn has set a combined goal for soul-winning through these two evangelistic efforts. He is praying for 2,023 people to be saved.

Opportunities for Southern Baptists to serve will include a mobile medical and dental unit, housing project feeding ministry, foster care ministry, block parties, community service projects, and much more. For more information about opportunities and training in advance, visit and scroll down to the Serve Tour/Crossover section.


The 2023 SBC Pastors Conference is also set to meet at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on June 11-14. Daniel Dickard, president of the 2023 SBC Pastors Conference and pastor of Shandon Baptist Church in Columbia, selected “Character Matters in Ministry” as its theme.

“Ministry is not about us,” Dickard said. “Ministry is about the life of Jesus lived in and through us. It’s not our job to build our own ministry, but rather build others through our ministry.”

D.J. Horton, senior pastor of Church at The Mill in Spartanburg, will be one of the keynote speakers. Others scheduled to preach include David Allen, H.B. Charles, Andrew Hebert, Jimmy Draper, and Ken Whitten. Wayne Bray, lead pastor of First Baptist Church, Simpsonville, will be one of several to offer short messages on different aspects of the Fruit of the Spirit from Galatians 5:22.

Oklahoma pastor Stephen Rummage will be nominated at this year’s Pastors Conference for the 2024 presidency by Tennessee pastor Adam Dooley. Rummage currently serves as the senior pastor of Quail Springs Baptist Church in Oklahoma City. He served as president of the Florida Baptist State Convention in 2016-2018 and chaired the SBC Executive Committee during the same years.

For more information about the 2023 SBC Pastors Conference, visit


Southern Baptist entities will be hosting a variety of gatherings for fellowship and celebration during the week of the 2023 SBC Annual Meeting. Here’s a listing of selected events:

Send Relief Breakfast: Wednesday, June 14, 7:30-8:30 a.m., Convention Center, Hall J
NAMB Send Luncheon: Monday, June 12, 12-1:30 p.m., Convention Center, Halls I and J
IMB Dinner: Monday, June 12, 5 p.m., Convention Center, Great Hall
ERLC Unify Project: Monday, June 12, 9-10:30 p.m., Convention Center, Room R06-R09, Level 2
New Orleans Seminary: Fred Luter Jr. Student Center Dedication Ceremony & Celebration, Wednesday, June 14, 6-9 p.m., NOBTS Campus
Woman’s Missions Adventure and Celebration: Sunday, June 11, 8 a.m.-6 p.m., New Orleans Seminary; Monday, June 12, 2 p.m., Creole Queen Paddlewheel Riverboat Cruise; Pre-registration required.
Pastors’ Wives Conference: Monday, June 12, 9-11:45 a.m., Convention Center, Great Hall

For full list of events, visit the Baptist Press website. A list of convention hotels and other nearby hotels is available at the meeting website.

— Compiled by Todd Deaton from BP reporting.