MIDLAND, Texas (ABP) -- The executive director of Southern Baptists' largest state convention is leaving his post after less than three years to return to the pastorate.
The Baptist General Convention of Texas announced Dec. 6 that Randel Everett had accepted a call -- approved unanimously by the church after a trial sermon Dec. 5 -- to the pulpit of First Baptist Church in Midland, Texas.
The 61-year-old Everett has been serving as the church's interim pastor for several months.
“I want you to know how excited I am to continue being a part of the Texas Baptist family,” he said, in a video statement posted on the BGCT website. “In these past three years, I’ve been able to see face-to-face what’s going on in many our churches and in our institutions. I’ve never been more excited to be part of the Texas Baptist family than I am right now. God has brought together a wonderful resource of people, of institutions, a great heritage and a great future. When we really cooperate together, we can do things like end hunger in Texas or share the hope of Christ with every person in our state.”
While the BGCT began several new initiatives under Everett's leadership, including Texas Hope 2010 -- a wholistic evangelism-and-social-service program aimed at sharing Christ with every Texan by Easter 2010 -- and an effort by the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission and the Baylor University School of Social Work to end hunger in the Lone Star State by 2015.
However, under Everett's leadership, the state convention has faced significant challenges posed by stagnating revenues, controversies over gay-friendly member congregations and continuing competition from a rival state convention more closely aligned with the conservatives who dominate the Southern Baptist Convention's leadership.
He has previously served as pastor of several prominent Baptist congregations in Texas and elsewhere, including First Baptist Church in Newport News, Va.; Columbia Baptist Church in Falls Church, Va.; First Baptist Church in Pensacola, Fla.; First Baptist Church in Benton, Ark.; and University Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas.
Related ABP stories:
Texas exec considering pastorate (11/21/2010)