Mac Brunson of Valleydale Baptist Church, Birmingham, Alabama, has released a video announcing Pastor Mike Stone has agreed to accept a nomination for the presidency of the Southern Baptist Convention. In the video posted on April 26, Stone stated there were two issues that prompted his willingness to receive a nomination when Southern Baptists meet in New Orleans, June 11-14. He cited the need for “a Biblically based response to the horrific issue of sexual abuse” and expressed his commitment to a national evangelism initiative.
Stone said that a Biblical approach would include caring well for victims while “embracing Scriptural principles of due process and of handling and publishing accusations.” Noting that when abuse occurs, it happens in local autonomous congregations, the Georgia pastor said the Convention should focus its resources on “helping local churches deal with these matters Biblically, legally, and compassionately.” He also noted that where help from outside the SBC family is needed, Convention leaders should only partner with those that are “driven by the facts and informed by the truth.”
The Georgia pastor also stressed his commitment to a national evangelism strategy which he called, “Crossover America.” Stone envisions a Convention-wide emphasis on evangelism events conducted by and through the 47,000+ local churches of the SBC.
In 2022, Stone’s church began designating contributions according to the Great Commission Giving emphasis approved by the SBC under the GCR Task Force recommendations. Emmanuel Baptist remains the leading supporter of the Piedmont-Okefenokee Baptist Association. According to the church’s 2022 Annual Church Profile, gifts to the local association totaled $48,576 out of undesignated receipts of $2,433,397.
Emmanuel also gave 4 percent to church planting and other Baptist causes, including $36,000 to the International Mission Board. The church saw 24 baptisms in 2022 with an average worship attendance of 975.
Stone is a former chairman of the SBC Executive Committee. He has served the Georgia Baptist Mission Board in a numerous capacities including state convention president in 2017-2018. A graduate of Valdosta State University, he has been at Emmanuel Baptist in Blackshear, Georgia, since 1996.
“While another dear brother will nominate Pastor Stone in New Orleans, I am honored to share this exciting and encouraging news with my Southern Baptist family,” Brunson said of his announcement.