Ed Yount offers second year to N.C. Baptists
Norman Jameson, BR Editor
August 10, 2010

Ed Yount offers second year to N.C. Baptists

Ed Yount offers second year to N.C. Baptists
Norman Jameson, BR Editor
August 10, 2010

When Ed Yount said in May

that he was willing to serve a second term as president of the Baptist State

Convention of North Carolina (BSC) if messengers saw fit to elect him again in

November, “serve” was the most significant word in his announcement.

Yount, 55, serves North

Carolina Baptists with a glad and humble heart. Woodlawn Baptist Church in

Conover, which he has led as pastor since July 1993, expects him in the pulpit

on Sundays, but they are proud for him to serve the broader Baptist body.

“Woodlawn is one of the best

churches you could ever hope to have the privilege to serve,” Yount said of his

congregation in an interview in his small and unpretentious office. “I’ve been

blessed everywhere I’ve been with good people, but these people are

exceptional. They love Jesus, are missions minded and they love each other.”

Before being elected as BSC

president in November 2009, Young was first vice-president. He was on the BSC

Executive Committee and chaired the important Giving Plans Study Committee that

recommended a return to a single Cooperative Program giving plan. He has been a

trustee for the Southern Baptist International Mission Board, and chairman of

the BSC Mission Growth Evangelism Committee.

He chaired the executive

director-treasurer installation committee for his friend and fellow area pastor

Milton A. Hollifield Jr. in 2006. He has been on the Fruitland Baptist Bible

Institute board, moderator of Catawba Valley Baptist Association and adjunct

religion instructor at Catawba Valley Community College.

And for the past 18 years,

he’s been doing it all from his hometown.

James Edwin Yount grew up in

nearby Hickory and attended the local Lenoir-Rhyne University. He also is an

MDiv graduate of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and a DMin grad from

Southern Seminary.

His parents still live about

10 miles away and are members of his church.

Yount’s home church is

Temple Baptist in Hickory, where he was saved and where he met his wife. When

Tanya walked in as a Lenoir-Rhyne student, Yount took one look and “I just knew

she was the one.”

Yount had carried a card in

his wallet from age 16 on which he’d written the characteristics of the wife he

wanted. When Tanya walked into his sight, “I got the impression from God that

this was the woman I’d been praying for.”

Tanya too, is local, growing

up in the tiny town of Cranberry, near Wilkesboro. Yount was in community

college when they met, and they married within a year, on Aug. 18, 1979.

Yount worked several years

after high school in the textile plant his dad managed 50 years, and went to

school part time. Textiles are gone now and unemployment in Catawba County is

among the highest in the state.

Several years ago Woodlawn members voted to

give $500 to every church family in which the main breadwinner had lost his or

her job.

Growing pains

When Yount came to Woodlawn

the church was struggling with attendance of about 160 meeting in a new

auditorium built for unrealized growth that seated 900. Today two services have

a total attendance of 1,000.

“I’ve been part of something

the Lord has done and it’s been a beautiful thing to watch,” Yount said with

typical humility.

BR photo by Norman Jameson

Ed Yount

Despite the poor economy in

Catawba County, Woodlawn continues to plan for an enlarged future, buying the

abandoned Ford distributorship next door potentially for education and youth

space, and an administrative wing that will allow sanctuary expansion.

Surveying the possibilities,

Yount doesn’t see a county with a vanished jobs base and discouraged populace.

Instead he sees 50,000 unchurched people within five miles of his church,

Yount grew up expecting to

be a teacher and coach. At 6-6 he was an active high school athlete, but as a

college senior, “God began to press upon my heart the call to ministry.”

His first ministry role was

as youth minister at Central Baptist Church, where he worked and attended

Southeastern Seminary. He eventually was called to the ironically named

Millstone Baptist Church in Halifax, Va., where “very gracious people, loving

people” taught him how to be a pastor and let him make mistakes.

He then went as pastor to

Alexis Baptist Church in Gaston County. Hollifield was pastor of First Baptist

Stanley at the time and the churches joined hands to plant Lucia Baptist


After six and a half years

at Alexis, Yount was called to Cornerstone Baptist in Greensboro, a church

start out of Lawndale in Greensboro, where he saw significant growth in two and

a half years before returning to his home area and to Woodlawn.

Ed and Tanya’s children are

both involved in vocational ministry. Amber is married to Josh Benge, pastor of

Harris Chapel in Hudson. Eddie is pastor of Mount Hebron in Taylorsville.

Benge is the son of Alvin

Benge, one of Yount’s boyhood friends and deacon chair at Woodlawn. Ed and

Alvin’s moms worked together and later, Josh and Amber were born on the same

day at Fry Hospital.

“I’ve thanked God many times

for being able to minister in my home town,” Yount said.

Service rewarding

Yount said he found his

first year as BSC president “extremely positive and very rewarding.”

Meeting people across the

state makes him “grateful to be a North Carolina Baptist,” he said. “We have

some committed men and women to the Lord Jesus. They love Him and serve Him.

I’ve seen a lot of that.”

Second, as so often happens,

full immersion into the extensive work North Carolina Baptists accomplish

together through ministries supported through the Cooperative Program has

revealed “the dynamic inner workings of the Convention.”

“The Baptist State

Convention has great staff,” Yount said. “They are men and women of excellence

and dedication. North Carolina Baptists can be very proud of the people who

serve us. They are a great resource to the local church.”

Few things have surprised

Yount during his first year in office. He’s always believed “North

Carolina Baptists were a people committed to Christ and to the Church and

that’s exactly what I’ve found.”

If re-elected Yount said he

wants to “be available” and to help in any way he can. He’s worked with South

Carolina President Fred Stone in meeting with next generation pastors from both

states. “They have a lot to offer” and share “an eagerness to serve” Yount


Unlike many wearied by

rigorous travel schedules, Yount said he finds his “kind of energizing.”

He exercises regularly on a

stationary bike each morning and tries to walk for a half hour most days. He

reads devotionally while on the bike.

Don’t ask Yount for the

inside scoop on any denominational controversy or for the skinny on any of the


He won’t be much help.

“I don’t hear a lot of stuff

because I just don’t do those kinds of things,” he said. “I do think it is a

time of transition for our Convention nationally. Anytime there is a refocusing

or transition time, there will be growth pains.”

Within North Carolina, Yount

said he “hears good vibes” wherever he goes and said people “are very