Craig Carlisle, director of missions for Etowah Baptist Association, was elected president of the Alabama Baptist State Convention during the Nov. 15 morning session of the 2023 annual meeting.
Carlisle is the first director of missions/associational mission strategist to serve as convention president.
Carlisle has served Etowah Baptist Association since November 2017. He holds a doctorate of ministry in evangelism and church growth from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, a master’s of divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, and a bachelor’s degree in religion and history from Samford University in Birmingham.
Vision for the future
In nominating Carlisle for the position, Derek Allen, senior pastor of First Baptist Church Tillman’s Corner in Mobile, said Carlisle’s past was not what compelled him to nominate Carlisle for the position of convention president. Carlisle has passion and vision for the future of Alabama Baptists, Allen said, and a “holy discontent” for the needs in our churches. Carlisle will lead us to encourage pastors and develop leaders, Allen said.
“The reason I can be confident that Dr. Craig Carlisle will do these things is because he is already doing these things,” he added.
Carlisle was ordained to the ministry by Twelfth Street Baptist Church in Gadsden in 1987 and later served as pastor there from 2008 to 2017.
He was pastor of Central Park Baptist Church in Decatur from 1991 to 2008 and pastor of Munford Baptist Church from 1987 to 1991.
He has served in a number of denominational positions, including as chair of the Alabama Baptist State Convention’s Sexual Abuse Advisory Task Force (originally the Sexual Abuse Task Force), moderator of the Etowah Baptist Association (2014–2016), a member of the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions (2013 to present) and the Lifeway Board of Trustees (2008–2016). In 2023, he was elected to serve as a member of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee.
Carlisle and his wife, Tammy, have one daughter, Jordan.
Jarman Leatherwood, pastor of House of Hope and Restoration Church in Huntsville, was elected first vice president. Among other leadership roles, Leatherwood has served two one-year terms as the convention’s second vice president and is part of the SBOM church planting team.
He was nominated by Tim Cox, past convention president and pastor of Liberty Baptist Church in Chelsea.
Ryan Whitley, pastor of Crosspoint Church in Trussville, was elected second vice president. Whitley was nominated by Buddy Gray, pastor of Hunter Street Baptist Church in Hoover.
Whitley was elected 172–148 in the only contested election of the convention. Greg Corbin, pastor of Lakeside Baptist Church in Birmingham, was also nominated for the second vice president position.
Debbie Oliver was reelected recording secretary, and Mike Jackson was reelected statistical secretary and registration secretary.
Bailey completes convention service
Morgan Bailey completed his second one-year term as first vice president of the Alabama Baptist State Convention this year but said he did not feel led to be nominated for the role of president.
“It’s been my great privilege to serve Alabama Baptists consecutively now for nine years in some office,” said Bailey, pastor of Macedonia Baptist Church in Ranburne.
“But when the Lord speaks, you listen,” he said.
In an emotional moment during the Nov. 15 session, convention president Buddy Champion thanked Bailey for his service and called him “a great friend.”
“We appreciate you and pray for you daily, for your [physical] restoration and healing,” Champion said.