The vote, taken at Riverland Hills Baptist Church in Irmo, S.C., moves Austin from his old position as associate executive director for the Missouri Baptist Convention to replace Carlisle Driggers, who retired in February after 15 years as executive director-treasurer. Austin, 53, reportedly received a standing ovation when he returned to the sanctuary after the vote.
Austin agreed to be nominated to the South Carolina post less than a month before his supervisor -- state executive David Clippard -- was fired by the Missouri convention in a battle between conservative factions.
A graduate of Jacksonville State University in Alabama, Austin attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, and Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif.
Austin formerly was pastor of Morganton Baptist Church in Morganton, Ga., Blackshear Place Baptist Church in Gainesville, Ga., and First Baptist Church, Roanoke, Va. He and his wife have five children. (4-27-07)