Ken Hemphill: A Gift To Southern Baptists At The Right Time
By Brad Jurkovich
Brad Jurkovich is the Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church in Bossier City, Louisiana. First Bossier is a multigenerational ministry committed to reaching every person, every family so they can experience Christ in every way. He received his M. Div. from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and his D.Min. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. To hear more from Dr. Jurkovich you can follow him on Twitter (@bradjurkovich)
I’ve known J D Greear a long time. We were at Southeastern Seminary at the same time and we’ve been friends over the years. He was the single candidate for Southern Baptist Convention President early this year. But Ken Hemphill allowed his name to be a candidate for SBC President and this past spring I felt compelled to get to know both candidates.
Wisdom calls us to hear both sides of an issue, both sides of an argument, and I believe for Southern Baptist President, wisdom calls us to hear both candidates’ views, backgrounds, and vision for our Convention. I don’t think having multiple candidates for the role of SBC President is bad at all. I think it helps us further clarify our convictions and our vision for working together for maximum gospel impact.
In an effort to hear for myself and to help fellow SBC Pastors get to know both candidates I hosted two separate lunch interviews where we invited pastors from across our region to attend and we shared on Facebook Live (To watch both interviews please visit www.firstbossier.com/sbcpresident). Both candidates were gracious with their time and both events were very well received. Pastors appreciated getting to listen, process, and prayerfully consider both candidates.
To show my heart in this endeavor even further, following the two lunch events we hosted, I was asked to participate in an interview for a major Christian magazine. This magazine was preparing an article highlighting the leadership and potential of one of the candidates for SBC president. I declined to participate in the interview because while they would mention the other candidate, the main story was going to highlight only one of the candidates. Again, I believe it is imperative to get to know both candidates and to help fellow SBC pastors and church members have the clearest picture of these candidates and their vision, mission, theology and leadership.
You see, this election for SBC President cannot be about what happened two years ago. A lot has happened to challenge the unity and mission of our Convention in the last two years. We must be honest with the challenges we face and prayerfully elect an SBC President who can help us navigate these waters and who can help us stay focused on cooperative mission.
Both candidates bring a great deal of passion for the gospel and a variety of leadership qualities to the table but after much prayer I believe God has given Southern Baptists a gift in the leadership of Ken Hemphill.
Ken Hemphill has the time and the deep well of ministry experience to draw upon as we move forward. And make no mistake this role of SBC President will demand time. With the combination of the challenges that have collided at this juncture of SBC life, the role of SBC President will be tasked like never before. We need a president who will take the time to build relationships across our convention, take the time to speak into the various SBC avenues and agencies and when he speaks, he has the experience to assess needs, responses, resources, and goals to be achieved.
Ken’s experience is vast. He knows what it is to lead a small congregation in major Kingdom impact. He knows what it is to lead a church through challenging times into one of the first Mega-Churches in our Convention. He knows the responsibility and opportunity of investing and leading thousands in ministry preparation and global impact as he led Southwestern Seminary for years.
I believe he can be greatly used to challenge our convention in cooperative giving. He not only has demonstrated a commitment in every church he has pastored to generous giving to the Cooperative Program but he is able to clearly communicate to others the mission and value of all Southern Baptists giving cooperatively.
Why is this critical? Because he knows what it will take to see our church planting movement continue to thrive. To see our missionaries continue to soar and stand strong. To see our Seminaries be able to equip future generations.
Ken Hemphill is not a man who is part of some SBC “old guard”, whatever that means. He is not a man trying to hold on to some “power structure”. He is a man with a deep passion for Jesus who desires that God would bring spiritual awakening to our churches, convention, nation and world. He is a man who values every generation, who is willing to serve Southern Baptists in strategic ways and for this strategic time.
I believe God has given Southern Baptists a tremendous gift at just the right time. And I look forward to nominating Ken Hemphill to be our next President for our Southern Baptist Convention. See you in Dallas!