ORLANDO, Fla. — A
self-styled grassroots organization has announced its nominations for first and
second vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).
SBC Majority Initiative founder Les Puryear announced June 14 that his network
will nominate Jim Drake, pastor of Brushfork Baptist Church in Bluefield, W.V.,
as first vice president and John Copeland, pastor of First Baptist Church in
Fulton, Ala., as second vice president.
According to its site, www.sbcmajority.com, the SBC Majority Initiative is
premised on the idea that 83.4 percent of all SBC churches have less than 200
in average Sunday morning worship attendance yet few current leaders of the
convention come from smaller-membership churches.
The network seeks to address
that perceived imbalance by nominating members of smaller-membership churches
that are theologically conservative, strongly support the Cooperative Program
and give generously to the SBC’s Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong missions
Puryear, pastor of Lewisville Baptist Church, said he plans to nominate Drake.
Information from the 2009 Annual Church Profile for Brushfork Baptist Church
showed five baptisms and primary worship service attendance of 96, giving of
$10,140, or 10.99 percent, through the Cooperative Program on total
undesignated receipts of $92,195. The report indicated gifts of $1,294 for the
Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions and $874 for the
Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions.
Puryear’s announcement noted the church has a baptism-to-member ratio of 19.2
to 1, Lottie Moon per capita giving of $13.48 and Annie Armstrong per capita
giving of $9.10.
Puryear said John Copeland will be nominated by Phillip Elliott, pastor of
Bellevue Baptist Church in Gadsden, Ala. Information from the 2009 Annual
Church Profile for First Baptist Church in Fulton showed four baptisms and
primary worship service attendance of 200, giving of $98,560, or 12.81 percent,
through the Cooperative Program on total undesignated receipts of $768,902. The
report indicated gifts of $26,870 for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for
International Missions and $10,333 for the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for
North American Missions.
Puryear’s announcement noted the church has a baptism-to-member ratio of 16.3,
Lottie Moon per capita giving of $20.77 and Annie Armstrong per capita giving
In his announcement, Puryear said: “We think it is very important to us that
our leaders actually lead in what they do, not just what they say. These two
candidates more than meet our stringent qualifications for SBC Majority
“Pastor Jim Drake is an excellent leader in his community, association, state
convention and Southern Baptist Convention,” Puryear added. “He currently
serves at Mountain State Baptist Association on the executive board, continuing
education committee and the missions development committee. Pastor Drake serves
the West Virginia Convention of Southern Baptists on the Executive Board. He
also serves at the national level as an appointee to the SBC Committee on
Committees. Jim and Miranda Drake have been married for 23 years and have three
children, Kyla, Katelyn and C.J.
“As a SBC Majority church pastor, Jim Drake will be a wonderful representative
of 83.4% of SBC churches which have an average Sunday morning worship
attendance of less than 200,” Puryear added.
In the announcement, Phillip Elliot said: “It is with great privilege and
excitement that I nominate John Copeland for the office of second
vice-president of the SBC. I’m privileged because Bro. John has been a mentor
to me for over 10 years of my ministry. He has been and continues to be a
leader in local association work, always sharing his vast experience and
knowledge with others in the ministry. He has a heart for reaching the lost and
growing the family of God. My excitement is for the convention because Dr.
Copeland will commit himself to everyone, all churches, regardless of size. He
will be a true servant of God for all of us.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE — Compiled by Baptist Press assistant editor Mark Kelly.)