Kentucky pastor Wesley Russell to be nominated for SBC second vice president

CINCINNATI (BP) — Michael Clary, pastor of Christ the King Church in Cincinnati, announced today (April 29) his intention to nominate Wesley Russell, pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Pikeville, Ky., for second vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention at the annual meeting in June.

Clary made the announcement on X, accompanied by a video of him speaking with Russell.

Immanuel Baptist Church gave $550 (.24 percent) to the Cooperative Program in 2023 from undesignated receipts of $227,604, according to Annual Church Profile reports. The church reported seven baptisms, 433 members and an average worship attendance of 74. Russell has served at the church since April 2022, according to ACP.

As one who ministers in a small-church, rural setting, Russell cited some issues close to his heart that affect Southern Baptist churches of all sizes.

“For the smaller church who’s struggling to get by and maybe even pay their bills, they deserve to know that the entities that they give their money to are being transparent with that money,” he said. “And just like the bigger churches who … may be busting at the seams and giving a much higher dollar amount to the Southern Baptist Convention and the Cooperative Program, they … need to know that their dollar bills are being handled in a God-honoring way, and in a transparent way.”

A key issue for the annual meeting will be the so-called Law Amendment, Russell said, calling it a decision to follow the Bible’s teaching regarding only men serving in pastoral roles versus proving oneself to be a “theoretical inerrantist.”

“Are we, as Southern Baptists … going to listen to God’s Word? … Are we going to take clear verses –clear passages of Scripture and … say what Scripture has explicitly told us?” he asked.

Russell also expressed a desire to see stronger church-planting efforts in rural areas such as his own.

“We need to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time,” he said, referring to Southern Baptist efforts to start churches in both urban and rural settings.

“I would love – and I believe most of the Southern Baptist Convention could resonate with this – to see a return to admire … and acknowledge that it is a noble task to go to these backroads of the United States and to serve Christ for His glory.”

(EDITOR’S NOTE – Scott Barkley is national correspondent for Baptist Press.)

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