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GCR task force includes five Floridians


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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (FBW/BP)—Southern Baptist Convention President Johnny Hunt appointed 18 people—including five from Florida—to the “Great Commission Resurgence Task Force” June 24 during the morning session of the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Louisville, Ky.

Hunt later clarified that he, too, will serve on the task force.

Messengers to the annual meeting voted the evening before to authorize Hunt’s naming the

task force to study how Southern Baptists can work “more faithfully and effectively together in serving Christ through the Great Commission.”

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“I trust you will be encouraged by the balance that will be representing Southern Baptists in their assignment,” Hunt said before reading the list of names.

The task force, to be chaired by Ronnie Floyd, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Springdale, Ark., includes five members from the Sunshine State:

•Tom Biles, executive director of the Tampa Bay Baptist Association;

•John Drummond, a layman at St. Andrew Baptist Church in Panama City;

•Michael Orr, pastor of First Baptist Church in Chipley;

•Ken Whitten, pastor of the Tampa-area Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz; and

•Ted Traylor, pastor of Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola.

Others serving on the body are:

•Jim Richards, executive director of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention;

•Frank Page, pastor of First Baptist Church in Taylors, S.C.;

•David Dockery, president of Union University in Jackson, Tenn.;

•Simon Tsoi, trustee of the International Mission Board and retired pastor;

•Donna Gaines, pastor’s wife at Bellevue Baptist Church near Memphis, Tenn.;

•Al Gilbert, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, N.C.;

•J.D. Greear, lead pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, N.C.;

•Daniel L. Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary;

•R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary;

•Harry Lewis, senior strategist for partnership missions and mobilization at the North American Mission Board;

•Roger Spradlin, pastor of Valley Baptist Church in Bakersfield, Calif.; and

•J. Robert White, executive director of the Georgia Baptist Convention.

Contacted by Florida Baptist Witness, each of the Floridians expressed humility at being chosen to serve on the strategic body.

Drummond, a real estate developer who has participated in 25 short-term mission trips in the past 10 years and is Global Outreach Team Leader for his church, told the Witness the task force appointment is an answer to a prayer of him and his wife “about serving the Lord in the greater capacity.”

The 33-year-old believes he can both represent younger leaders and laypersons on the task force.

“As a young, conservative believer who is Southern Baptist not only by heritage, but by conviction, I pray that I can represent my peers who are fired up about the Gospel and believe that God can use Southern Baptists in intentional and innovative ways to reach a lost world.  

“As a layman, I pray that I can represent those 16 million ‘foot soldiers’ who will serve as an integral and necessary part of a Great Commission Resurgence among Southern Baptists,” Drummond said.

Traylor, who nominated Hunt in 2008 for his first SBC presidential term, said of the task force, “It is essential that Southern Baptists find the best use of our delivery systems for the Gospel. The GCR Task Force has an enormous task in this study. Our chairman, Ronnie Floyd, is asking God to raise up thousands of daily prayer partners. No less than the leading of the Holy Spirit will do.”

Orr, who also requested prayer for the task force, said, “These are exciting times for Southern Baptists. It is my conviction that great things are to come as we renew our commitment to the mission our Lord as given to us. The task force is one element of our renewed emphasis on that mission. We must do this together.”

Biles told the Witness, “The goal is to see a resurgence in the Great Commission which could usher in a spiritual revival throughout our Convention bringing further glory to our Lord. … I am grateful to serve and will do my best to make a positive contribution.”

Whitten, who nominated Hunt in Louisville for a second term as SBC president, said: “Serving Southern Baptists through this task force is an honor and I pray a generational life change. Being in decline as a denomination is not a pleasant thing to hear but taking a strong look at it with family who love this denomination is a first step towards recovery. We have a skilled chairman, a gifted president, and we desire the sincere prayers of the our fellow Southern Baptists.”

“We promise to represent you well,” Hunt told SBC messengers in Louisville. “And you pray for us that God would use us to be an impetus that can help us to even do a better job of what we’ve been doing in the area of the Great Commission.”

Hunt told Baptist Press he would “lead the task force, giving them direction, as I promised the convention,” but that Floyd would chair the group in its deliberations.