David Horton was elected president of Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute by the Baptist State Convention (BSC) board of directors May 19 during their meeting at Caraway Conference Center.
Horton’s unanimous election came as no surprise as he was the announced candidate of the Fruitland presidential search committee. He came to Caraway with his wife, Lisa, early in the day to mingle with board members.
The strategy almost backfired as board chairman Allan Blume read the motion for consideration.
He intentionally nominated Lisa Horton, to rousing affirmation and laughter, before he “corrected” himself and nominated David.
Horton spoke briefly before the vote saying that those who appreciate the ministry of Fruitland will “respect the past, protect the purpose and embrace the future” of North Carolina’s mountain school that prepares people for practical ministry.
Horton said he feels Fruitland is “on the right track and moving at a high rate of speed.” As president, he said, he will find a way to “add some cars” to the train with additional academic offerings.
He emphasized Fruitland’s motto “Where preaching is our passion.”
“And we all know it’s not just any kind of preaching,” Horton said. “It’s expository preaching.”
Horton said he wants Fruitland to have a greater role in training church planters. He foresees the school offering more classes to help students utilize technology in their churches, and for more training in areas like family ministry and in leading worship.
Horton graduated from UNC-Greensboro with a degree in psychology in 1987. He had attended Gardner-Webb, but moved closer to home when his father died in 1980 to help his mother and two siblings. It was “five years and three children later” before he was able to return to school.
He earned his master of divinity degree from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1992.
Horton is a native of Hillsville, Va., and was a member of Pine Grove Baptist Church there when called into ministry during the pastorate of Greg Mathis, who is pastor of Mud Creek Baptist Church in Hendersonville, and who has been interim president at Fruitland since Jan. 1. Horton served in Hillsville as Mathis’ associate.
Horton also has been pastor of Three Forks Baptist in Taylorsville; Welcome Baptist in Mt. Airy; and Reed Island Springs Baptist in Meadows of Dan, Va.
Fruitland has been a ministry of the BSC since 1946. It is an agency of the BSC and its board is accountable to the BSC Board of Directors. It provides practical ministry training, especially for men called into ministry later in life.
Horton said at Fruitland, students can put into practice in their churches at night what they learned in the classroom that day.
Horton, 48, assumes his new office June 1. He and Lisa have been married for 29 years and have three children.
He said during an earlier interview that 2 Tim. 2:2 has been a Bible verse “that God has really kept in front of me for last several months.”
“And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, commit to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” (2 Tim. 2:2)
“Nothing would please me more than to spend the next 20-25 years of ministry living out that verse at Fruitland,” Horton said.