Greg Addison has been named executive vice president for the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) Executive Committee (EC).
Officers of the EC approved Addison upon recommendation of EC President and CEO Ronnie Floyd during a Sept. 8 conference call. Addison has been associate executive director of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) since 2014. He will join the EC staff in early October.
Addison will be tasked with working alongside Floyd to lead the EC staff and coordinate convention policy and legal affairs for the EC. He will also serve as a liaison to various SBC standing committees and assist with the orientation of new committee members and appointees.
The position is new to the EC staff. Floyd, who was elected as the EC’s president/CEO in April 2019, said he became convinced in recent months of the need for the position. He said God put Addison “on my heart” as he prayed during a recent 40-day fast, and added that Addison’s “great pastor’s heart” will help to further Floyd’s mission of serving Southern Baptist pastors and churches.
“He will be an outstanding addition to our team,” Floyd said, “bringing a unique giftedness that is needed.”
Bob Sorrell, the former executive pastor at Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis who is Addison’s longtime friend and mentor, praised Addison’s combination of character, experience and ability. In addition to almost a quarter century in full-time ministry – nearly half as a senior pastor – Addison has a law degree. Sorrell, who also formerly served as an SBC EC member and a former trustee of GuideStone Financial Resources, called him an “exceptional Christian man in every way.”
“He is very relational, outgoing and charismatic,” Sorrell said, “and at the same time he has incredibly strong administrative skills. Greg is blessed with leadership qualities, takes the initiative and is a problem-solver. He is a significant team player.”
Archie Mason, senior pastor of Central Baptist Church in Jonesboro, Ark., and a current EC member, who has known Addison for 15 years and worked closely with him on ABSC issues, called him “a great communicator, a servant, a true Baptist and a believer in the power of the Cooperative Program.”
“He is strong in building relationships, communicating vision and leading others,” Mason said. “I believe Greg will do a great job serving Southern Baptists as part of the EC team.”
Addison said he is excited to begin working with Floyd and the EC staff to “encourage Southern Baptists toward Vision 2025.”
He recalled being in the audience during the February 2020 EC meeting, when Floyd unfolded specifics of the five-year initiative, a call to reach every person with the gospel in every town, every city, every state and every nation.
“I knew immediately that this is the vision that speaks to the heart of our churches and people,” Addison said. “Joining together cooperatively to reach the nations, to send more missionaries, to see the next generation of Southern Baptists join the mission – that’s why we are Southern Baptists.”
Addison said while considering the opportunity with the SBC EC, he recalled something ABSC Executive Director Sonny Tucker had told him years earlier, when he wrestled with leaving the pastorate of First Baptist Church of Cabot, Ark., for the state convention post. Tucker told Addison then, “There’s a piece of us that hurts not being a pastor. But if you ever stop hurting for the church, you’re probably not good in a denominational role – because it’s about serving churches.”
Addison, who has served as an interim pastor for several churches while at the ABSC, said he takes that ache – and that approach – into the new position.
“In my heart, I will always be a pastor,” he said. “Serving with the great staff at the EC gives me the privilege of serving churches all over the SBC.”
Originally from Memphis, Addison sat under the teaching of Adrian Rogers at Bellevue Baptist Church for more than 30 years, beginning at age 7. He gave his life to Christ at age 9, and counts Rogers’ ministry as critical in his growth, as well as his call to ministry and subsequent work within the SBC.
“He taught me as a Christian to walk with Jesus, as a preacher to preach the Bible and call people to Jesus, and as a Southern Baptist to obey the Great Commission through missions,” Addison said.
Addison is currently vice chairman of the board of directors of Love Worth Finding, the ongoing media ministry of Rogers. In a 2019 article posted to the ministry’s website, he said when he hears “the word ‘pastor,’ that means Adrian Rogers to me. … There’s a whole bunch of us out there just doing what God wants because that’s what we’re taught.”
Addison earned a bachelor of business administration in marketing from the University of Memphis and a doctor of jurisprudence from the University of Tennessee. Before entering full-time ministry, he spent six years practicing law in Memphis. He was ordained in 1996 at Bellevue and served on staff there from 1996-2002.
Prior to joining the ABSC, he was senior pastor at East Side Baptist Church in Paragould, Ark., and First Baptist of Cabot. He served as president of the ABSC in 2012-13 and as chaplain of the Arkansas House of Representatives in 2013-14.
Floyd cited Addison’s unique experience as an additional asset in the new role.
“While I did not set out to hire someone with a legal background, it will be great to have someone with this expertise to serve by my side,” Floyd said. “But even more importantly, Greg is a man with a great pastor’s heart who also understands the enormous challenges that face us here daily.”
When not serving as interim pastor, Addison is a member of First Baptist of Cabot. He and his wife Janet, who were high school sweethearts, have two adult children: Mabry Anne and John Grant.
Citing Addison’s experience as a pastor and state executive, as well as his legal background, Tucker said Addison is “more than prepared” for the new role with the EC.
“It is obvious that God’s hand has been on Greg to uniquely prepare him to serve the SBC in this capacity,” Tucker said. “… Greg’s great leadership capabilities and warm, servant’s heart will be an incredible blessing to Southern Baptists.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE – George Schroeder is associate vice president for convention news with the SBC Executive Committee.)