Georgia pastor Mike Stone to challenge SBC President Bart Barber this summer

by | Apr 26, 2023 | Religion

(RNS) — For only the second time in more than three decades, a Southern Baptist Convention president will face a challenge for reelection.Georgia pastor Mike Stone, who lost a hotly contested election in 2021, announced Wednesday (April 26) that he would accept a nomination for the presidency of the nation’s largest Protestant denomination.
“I’m thankful for the godly men and women who serve our convention. And there’s a lot to celebrate in the SBC, from church planting to international missions and beyond,” Stone said in a video announcement posted on social media. “And while I have no desire to disparage anyone, there are also serious causes of grave concern.”

Here is hope for SBC. So grateful for my friend ⁦@PastorMikeStone⁩
— mac brunson (@macbrunson) April 26, 2023

Stone will challenge Texas pastor Bart Barber, who was elected last summer. Barber was announced as a candidate for a second term earlier this year. 
In a volunteer role, SBC presidents serve a one-year term. Most have been elected to a second term, usually running unopposed. This year’s election will be held during June’s SBC annual meeting in New Orleans.
The last sitting SBC president to face a challenge was Georgia pastor Bryant Wright, who was president from 2010 to 2012. In 2011, California pastor Wiley Drake ran against Wright and got less than 5% of the vote.
In 1989, during an SBC conflict between conservatives and moderates, Georgia pastor Daniel Vestal, who was a moderate, ran against then-President Jerry Vines. Vines won the election, gaining 10,754 votes, according to the SBC’s annual report from that year. Vestal received 8,248 votes.
“It is not customary in S …

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