Four men announced separately May 19 that they are candidates for elected office in the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC).
Ed Yount, current first vice president, will be nominated for president. Current president Rick Speas has served the maximum two one-year terms. Yount is pastor of Woodlawn Baptist Church in Conover, and he chaired the Giving Plans Study Committee in 2008 that recommended a return to a single Cooperative Program giving plan among North Carolina Baptist churches.
Mark Harris, second vice president for the past year, will be nominated as first vice president. Harris is pastor of First Baptist Church, Charlotte.
Ray Davis, pastor of Forbush Baptist Church north of Winston-Salem, will be a candidate for second vice president, as will CJ Bordeaux, pastor of Gorman Baptist Church in Durham.
Like all the candidates, Yount said he was asked by several others to make himself available. “If I can help, I just want to help,” he said. “I love North Carolina Baptists.
Yount, with an extensive background of service in the state and nationally, said, “It is an exciting time for North Carolina Baptists, an opportunistic time. I’m really convinced that (BSC Executive Director-treasurer) Milton Hollifield’s vision to reach North Carolina and the rest of the world for Christ is solid. I’m excited to be a part of that.”
Asked what role he sees for a BSC president Yount said, “I would hope the president would be both ears and voice for North Carolina Baptists and try to serve as a catalyst for evangelism and missions.”
Yount is a graduate of Lenoir-Rhyne University and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He earned a doctor of ministry degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.
Yount has been on the BSC board of directors executive committee, the Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute board and the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) International Mission Board.
Harris, who just completed two terms on the board of Southeastern Seminary, is a graduate of Appalachian State University and Southeastern Seminary. He has been pastor of FBC Charlotte four years.
Asked about the coming self-examination sure to be prompted by SBC President Johnny Hunt’s call for a “Great Commission resurgence” that includes the work of Baptist State conventions, Harris said, “efficiency and effectiveness have been brought to the forefront our vocabulary.”
“I applaud Johnny Hunt for taking the leadership role as president,” Harris said, adding that “the next two years will be important in state convention and SBC life.”
Harris almost accidentally shouldered the burden of office himself when he predicted the “dawning of a new day” in his 2007 Baptist State Convention sermon.
When hundreds came forward at the end of his message to commit themselves to “work for a new day” and Harris saw Hollifield on his knees beneath the praying hands of officers, he said,
“I realized I had a certain responsibility to help facilitate that new day.”
Davis, 73, retired early from pharmaceutical sales after 32 years to devote full time to a pastorate. He had been a bivocational pastor during the last 18 years of his business career and is currently on the board of directors.
“Bivocational pastors need someone to identify with who is in a place of leadership,” Davis said. He is a 1958 graduate of Appalachian State University where he played football.
He served Green Meadows and Cranberry Baptist churches, was director of missions at Brier Creek Association where 17 of the 19 pastors are bivocational, and May 10 was called to Forbush Baptist Church after serving as its interim for six months. The past two years he was senior adult minister at Old Town Baptist Church, where Speas is pastor.
CJ Bordeaux, pastor for the past year of Gorman Baptist Church in Durham, said that after he spoke on behalf of the Giving Plans Study Committee proposal in November 2008 — a committee on which he served — several people asked him to consider office.
He said after once being “very critical of the Baptist State Convention,” he earned an education during his 1999-2003 tenure on the BSC general board, now board of directors.
“We’re doing a lot of good things as North Carolina Baptists,” he said. “We’ve got a good state, and I enjoy being involved.”
Bordeaux has been a pastor 30 years, including stints at West Monroe, Antioch in Lumberton, White Lake, and New Salem in Pittsboro. Before going to Gorman he was church administrator two years at Village Baptist Church in Fayetteville.
He is a graduate of Campbell University and Bethany Seminary in Dothan, Ala., where he earned a master’s in theology and a doctor of ministry degree.