John L. Yeats, first elected as the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) recording secretary in 1997, will be re-nominated for the post during the SBC’s June 13-14 annual meeting in Phoenix.
John L. Yeats
Yeats, executive director of the Missouri Baptist Convention, was serving as editor of the Indiana Baptist convention newsjournal when first elected as SBC recording secretary 20 years ago during the 1997 annual meeting in Dallas.
Spencer Plumlee, pastor of Riverview Baptist Church in Osage, Mo., announced May 3 he will nominate Yeats for another one-year term.
“As a Missouri pastor and member of the Missouri Baptist Convention’s executive board, I have witnessed firsthand the servant leadership of Dr. John L. Yeats,” Plumlee said in a written statement. “As a man of integrity and Kingdom vision, Dr. Yeats has made a huge impact for the cause of Christ in Missouri and around the world.
“When this impact is coupled with his vigilant commitment to and promotion of the Cooperative Program, it’s easy to see why Dr. Yeats is the right man to serve in this vital role,” said Plumlee, who also is a trustee of the International Mission Board and a speaker at this year’s Pastors’ Conference.
The SBC recording secretary is responsible for the record of the proceedings of the Southern Baptist Convention, training volunteers for convention business sessions and the final edit of the SBC Book of Reports and the SBC Annual.
Yeats designed the process currently used for the flow of information from the convention floor to the platform and distribution to the Committee on Order of Business, a process that has enhanced the accuracy of the official record.
As recording secretary, Yeats also is an ex officio member of the SBC Executive Committee, where he has served as vice chairman and administrative subcommittee chairman.
In Missouri, Yeats has led the state convention to increase its Cooperative Program giving during the past three years by 3.5 percentage points of its $14 million budget, to a proposed 60-40 percentage allocation of 2018 CP funds between Missouri and SBC missions and ministries.
“Sharon and I are deeply honored by Southern Baptists to serve our Lord in this role,” Yeats said in a statement to Baptist Press. “I am grateful for Dr. Plumlee’s willingness to nominate me. He’s one of our state’s younger leaders who is faithfully making a difference on many levels.
“My hope is that our diligence is a testimony of encouragement to others to serve the Lord in whatever capacity He leads them to serve,” Yeats said. “The more I serve, the more I realize size of ministry doesn’t impress the Lord. What matters is faithful obedience to Him in all things.”
Prior to his work with the Missouri convention, Yeats was director of communications/public policy for the Louisiana Baptist Convention, editor of state Baptist papers in Oklahoma and Indiana and pastor of churches in six states during 40-plus years of pastoral ministry. He was at South Park Baptist Church in Grand Prairie, Texas, from 1991-1995 and Shawnee Heights Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., from 1978-1991.
Yeats holds a doctor of ministry degree from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, a master of divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Texas and an undergraduate degree from Dallas Baptist University.
Yeats, a native of Caddo, Okla., and his wife Sharon, who serves beside him on the convention platform, are members of Deer Creek Baptist Church in Cuba, Mo. They have three sons and nine grandchildren.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Art Toalston is senior editor of Baptist Press, news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.)