Each year the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC) looks for new leaders to represent N.C. Baptists and help the convention move forward in serving God’s Kingdom.
Some candidates have already declared intentions to run for offices this November. Bobby Blanton, pastor of Lake Norman Baptist Church in Huntersville, said he will seek the office of president.
Timmy D. Blair Sr., this year’s current second vice president and senior pastor of Piney Grove Chapel Baptist Church in Angier, said he will look at filling the first vice president spot. For second vice president there are currently two men who have declared intentions to seek this office: Mark Hunnicutt, associate pastor of ministries at Mud Creek Baptist Church in Hendersonville, and Marc Sanders, senior pastor of Sandy Branch Baptist Church in Bear Creek.
Official nominations will be made at the BSC annual meeting in November, and candidates can be nominated during the meeting from the floor of the meeting hall. This year’s meeting will be Nov. 11-12 at The Sheraton Four Seasons/Koury Convention Center in Greensboro.
Blanton has led Lake Norman for 16 years. A South Carolina native, Blanton has his bachelor’s degree from Gardner-Webb College (now University). He also has a master of divinity degree from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and a doctor in ministry degree from Drew University Theological School in Madison, N.J. He has also served three other churches: Macon Baptist Church in Macon; Midway Baptist Church in Pickens, S.C.; and Balfour Baptist Church in Asheboro.
“I have had the wonderful privilege of serving alongside many N.C. Baptists in various roles of leadership in our convention,” Blanton said. “That opportunity has granted to me a deep appreciation for our state convention and the unique opportunities that we face together in Kingdom work. “Each of these roles have added value and leadership experience.”
Blanton has served as moderator of the Randolph Baptist Association and has served several terms on the BSC Board of Directors (BOD). He was president of the BOD (2010-2012) and has also served on the Executive, Nomination and Budget committees. He has also been on the Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute Board of Directors, the Fruitland president search committee (for David Horton, current president), the BSC executive director-treasurer search committee (for Jim Royston) and was president of the N.C. Pastor’s Conference in 2011.
Blanton’s nomination will come from Greg Mathis, senior pastor of Mud Creek Baptist Church in Hendersonville.
“I have known Bob for 40 years,” said Mathis. “We roomed together at Gardner-Webb University. Bob has a servant’s heart with a tremendous work ethic and impeccable character. He would make a great president if this year’s messengers choose to elect him.”
Lake Norman holds five worship services each weekend, one on Saturday and four on Sunday. The church has grown from averaging 250 people during a worship service to more than 1,500.
During Blanton’s tenure, Lake Norman has raised its Cooperative Program (CP) and missions giving. The church participates in local missions through various ministries including partnering with an African-American church through its Bread of Life food ministry each week and hosting a Hmong congregation on its campus each Sunday. The church is working with a West Virginia association to develop and build an associational camp and is partnering with churches in Moldova and Ukraine.
Like Blanton, Blair has been working among N.C. Baptists for a number of years. He attended Fruitland before receiving his bachelor’s degree from Luther Rice Seminary in Jacksonville, Fla. He received his master of divinity from Luther Rice University in Lithonia, Ga. He has also pastored Bolton Baptist Church in Bolton, N.C., and Salem Baptist Church in Aynor, S.C. “I would like to thank all [N.C.] Baptists for allowing me the privilege of serving you as your second vice president,” Blair said. “Traveling across this beautiful state of ours … and hearing about what God is doing in so many places has really given me a greater perspective and appreciation for the work of the Kingdom.”
“With the Lord’s strength I will do everything I can to serve you with integrity and humility,” Blair said.
Blair’s nomination will come from Stan Welch, senior pastor of West Asheville Baptist Church in Asheville.
“Timmy has been a great pastor and leader among our N.C. churches for multiple decades now,” Welch said. “He has faithfully served the Baptist State Convention … for the last two years and has gained valuable experience. He is aware of the difficult days in which we minister, and is optimistic of how our God will faithfully lead us through them.”
Blair has held leadership roles in the Columbus and Little River Baptist associations. He also was an officer for Luther Rice N.C. alumni and was on the board of ministers for Campbell University. Blair has served on the BSC Program, Place and Preacher Committee from 2006 to 2009. He was chairman of this committee in 2009.
Blair writes a column called “Timeless Truths” for the Angier Independent and has led mission trips to South Carolina, West Virginia, New Mexico, South Dakota and South Africa.
Hunnicutt has been on staff at Mud Creek since 1996. He has served on the Committee of Nominations for the BSC and has been an instructor at Fruitland since 1998. Hunnicutt holds degrees from Fruitland, North Greenville College and Masters International School of Divinity.
“I love being a N.C. Baptist,” Hunnicutt said. “All my life I have been served by N.C. Baptists. As a kid I experienced Christ at N.C. Baptist camps and retreats and as a young adult I was equipped in their institutions. I want to give back by using my spiritual gifts to serve the people, leadership and churches of the North Carolina Baptist Convention.”
He will be nominated by Phil Ortego, senior pastor of Scotts Hill Baptist Church in Wilmington. He said there were several reasons why Hunnicutt would be a good second vice president.
“First, Mark is a man who loves the Lord Jesus and consistently models what it means to live the gospel in all areas of life,” Ortego said. “Secondly, Mark loves the local church and has proven this through his service at Mud Creek Baptist Church where he has served as pastor of ministries for the past 17 years.”
Ortego also referenced Hunnicutt’s work with N.C. Baptist Men, his mission endeavors and his “heart to serve the Baptists of North Carolina.”
A N.C. native, Sanders has a bachelor’s degree from the University of N.C. at Chapel Hill and a master of divinity from Duke University Divinity School. He has continued to pursue theological education through taking classes at Southeastern Seminary.
“I believe that my education has afforded me a unique opportunity to fine tune clear and concise biblical responses to questions while in the midst of a liberal and at times hostile academic environment,” Sanders said.
He pastored Enfield Baptist Church where Cooperative Program giving expanded in his more than five years there. He also served in leadership in North Roanoke Baptist Association. He has almost completed three years at Sandy Branch Baptist, where CP giving is at 12 percent of undesignated gifts. Overall the church gives 22 percent of its budget to missions. The church has helped raise $20,000 specifically for church planting efforts over the last 2.5 years in Ohio and the Montagnard community in N.C. as well as helping with ministries within public schools.
He is currently serving as missions development council chairman of the Sandy Creek Baptist Association. He has served on the BSC Committee on Convention Meetings and the Credentials Sub-Committee. He is currently on the BSC Committee on Nominations and is the 2014 vice-president elect for the N.C. Pastors Conference.
Sanders’ nomination will come from Scott Faw, senior pastor of Moon’s Chapel Baptist Church in Siler City.
“Marc is a loyal Southern Baptist and a leader among leaders,” Faw said. “He is currently the pastor of the Sandy Branch Baptist Church in Bear Creek where he is doing an outstanding job for that congregation.
“In the last several years Marc has led missions teams to the states of Kentucky, Virginia and Ohio. Marc will serve us well as North Carolina Baptists.”