NEW ORLEANS, La. – South Carolina pastor Brad Atkins and Iowa pastor David Miller will be nominated for Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) second vice president during the denomination’s Tuesday-Wednesday annual meeting in New Orleans.
Atkins, 39, pastor of Powdersville First Baptist Church in Easley, S.C., and president of the South Carolina Baptist Convention (SCBC), will be nominated by Johnny Touchet, pastor of Mt. Moriah Baptist Church in Piedmont, S.C.
Miller, pastor of Southern Hills Baptist Church in Sioux City, Iowa, will be nominated by Alan Cross, pastor of Gateway Baptist Church in Montgomery, Ala.
“Brad has not been a pastor of a large church or written any books, but he has a heart for the Southern Baptist Convention,” Touchet said in a news release provided to the Baptist Courier newspaper. “He desires to help lead the SBC into the future with unity among our members and focus within our leadership.
“Now is the time for the SBC to be united in our efforts to help reach the nations with the gospel as we all seek Great Commission living.”
Atkins served in successive years as second vice president and first vice president of the South Carolina Baptist Convention before being elected SCBC president in November 2011. He also served on the state convention’s Great Commission Resurgence Task Force in 2011.
Atkins has served at First Baptist Church since 2006. Since he became pastor, the church has grown from fewer than 30 to more than 350 in average attendance, adding 183 new members and baptizing 68.
The church has also increased its missions giving to 13 percent of undesignated receipts – with 7 percent going to the Cooperative Program, 3 percent to the Piedmont Baptist Association, and 1 percent to each of three church planters/missionaries. Atkins has led his church to take part in mission trips to Pennsylvania, Georgia, Florida and Romania.
He earned a bachelor of arts in Christian studies from North Greenville University, attended Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary’s extension campus at Anderson University and completed a master of ministry degree at Andersonville Theological Seminary.
He is the husband of Hayley Brooks Atkins. They have two children: Annie Laurie, 13, and Will, 11.
Atkins was born in Motlow Creek, S.C., and grew up in a rural Southern Baptist church. He was saved at 17 and soon answered a call to ministry. He has served on staff at three South Carolina Baptist churches over the past 15 years.
Cross announced on his blog Friday that he would nominate Miller, who also is the editor of SBCVoices.com, an SBC-centric blog.
“Dave is fair, balanced, and generous in his role as editor,” Cross wrote. “He also has a great wit and a fantastic sense of humor as well as a sharp theological mind and love for Christ and people. Whenever I see Dave chime in, I know that I am going to hear a perspective that is well thought out, reasonable, fair, and Christ-centered.”
Miller has been pastor of Southern Hills Baptist Church since 2005. He previously was pastor of Northbrook Baptist Church in Cedar Rapids for about 14 years. He also served as pastor of a church in Virginia for four years.
Miller is a native of Iowa, and his parents were Baptist missionaries in Taiwan.
“Dave is exactly the kind of guy that Baptists need in leadership right now,” Cross wrote. “… He has the background to know how the SBC functions in all respects, but he has also served outside of the South and knows where the SBC should be headed if it is going to thrive in an increasingly post-Christian America.
“In addition to Dave’s experience, his passion is to see Baptists continue to work together in ever increasing ways,” Cross added. “Dave believes strongly (as do I) that our true unity is in Christ, that the Baptist Faith & Message (BF&M) is our standard of doctrinal unity and that all who agree with it should be able to work together in Baptist life and mission. He also believes and promotes the fact that we should cooperate in the Great Commission both locally and globally and that we should do that through the Cooperative Program. Dave’s church, Southern Hills Baptist, is the leading CP church in Iowa as well as in Lottie Moon and total missions giving. Dave clearly articulates his hopes and prayers for the SBC in this post at SBCVoices.”
Cross concluded, “Dave’s heartbeat is that we would work together as Baptists according to what we already have in common to know Christ and make Him known to the ends of the earth. He provides a platform for discussion and mutual understanding every day through SBCVoices and he leads his local church in faithful mission both in Iowa and around the world. Dave is exactly the kind of leadership that Southern Baptists can hope to have to lead us forward, and for that reason, I will gladly give him my support.”
Miller graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communications from Palm Beach Atlantic College and a master of divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Also expected to be nominated for second vice president is Eric Hankins, pastor of First Baptist Church in Oxford, Miss. Hankins’ nomination was originally announced in May. He will be nominated by Clint Pressley, pastor of Hickory Grove Baptist Church in Charlotte. See story here.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Stories from Butch Blume, managing editor of the Baptist Courier, and Michael Foust, associate editor of Baptist Press, were combined for this article.)