Northern small church pastor elected as 2nd VP
Wednesday, Jun 20, 2012
By Karen L. Willoughby
NEW ORLEANS (BP) -- Small church northern pastor and blog editor Dave Miller was elected second vice president June 20 at the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting.
The field earlier had narrowed to two, after Miller, Eric Hankins and Brad Atkins had each been nominated. Hankins had joined Miller in a runoff election, when none of the three had acquired a majority of votes.
Miller, pastor of Southern Hills Baptist Church in Sioux City, Iowa, and editor of SBCVoices.com, was nominated by Alan Cross, pastor of Gateway Baptist Church in Montgomery, Ala. Hankins, pastor of First Baptist Church in Oxford, Miss., was nominated by Clint Pressley, pastor of Hickory Grove Baptist Church in Charlotte, N.C. Atkins, pastor of Powdersville First Baptist Church in Easley, S.C., was nominated by Johnny Touchet, pastor of Mt. Moriah Baptist Church in Piedmont, S.C.
"We are already unified," Cross declared. "If we are all in Christ, then we are already one. That's a spiritual reality we are called to live out daily. Dave Miller ... gets that and lives to promote that reality among Baptists. ... He takes seriously what it means to walk with Christ and follow him."
While the other two presenters lauded the accomplishments of their candidates, Cross focused on Miller's vision to bring unity to the Southern Baptist Convention. As the editor of a widely read blog -- www.sbcvoices.com -- Miller wants "to call all Baptists to be unified in our worship of Christ together," Cross said.
"We must be intentional to include at the table of leadership a small church pastor from the pioneer areas of Southern Baptist work," Cross also noted. "We need Dave's voice to help us work together. If we are serious about reaching all of America, we need leaders from all of America."
The final vote was 1,202 for Miller, or 59.5 percent of the ballots cast. Hankins received 798 votes, or 39.5 percent.
Karen L. Willoughby is managing editor of the Louisiana Baptist Message.