The Alabama Baptist State Convention annual meeting will kick off in about two months, and part of the business taking place during the meeting is to elect new officers.
Current state convention president Buddy Champion, pastor of First Baptist Church Trussville, is completing his second one-year term and isn’t eligible for re-election. The first planned nomination for president has been announced, however.
Craig Carlisle, associational mission strategist/director of missions for Etowah Baptist Association, will be nominated for state convention president by Derek Allen, senior pastor of First Baptist Church Tillman’s Corner.
“Craig is a well-respected leader and a pastor to pastors. He is known and loved across our state and throughout the Southern Baptist Convention,” Allen said in a Facebook post this afternoon (Sept. 11) announcing his intentions to nominate Carlisle.
“Before serving at the Etowah Baptist Association, Craig pastored three Alabama Baptist churches over the course of 30 years,” Allen noted. “He has served with distinction at every level of denominational life, and he currently represents Alabama as a member of the Executive Committee of the SBC.
“Craig understands the needs of local churches. Craig understands pastors. Craig understands how our family of churches functions, and Craig knows how to lead with skill and boldness.
“When I have the honor of nominating my friend, Dr. Craig Carlisle, to serve as the next president of the Alabama Baptist State Convention, I will not be nominating someone to begin leading Alabama Baptists. I will nominate someone who is already leading us well.”
Carlisle, a member of First Baptist Church Gadsden, has chaired Alabama’s Sexual Abuse Task Force since November 2021 (the task force shifted to the Sexual Abuse Advisory Task Force in January 2023) and previously served as a trustee on the State Board of Missions.
“I’m honored and humbled to be considered,” Carlisle told The Alabama Baptist. “I’m a lifelong Alabama Baptist and I love the Alabama Baptist Convention. God in His goodness and providence has allowed me to be able to serve in some pretty important capacities. It’s never been anything that I’ve sought.
“We have what I believe is the best state convention in the Southern Baptist Convention. To be considered to be the leader for a period of time is very humbling,” he added.
“If the messengers were to entrust me with this position, my goal would be to serve the churches and the pastors,” Carlisle said. “We need the Lord to raise up more workers in the church. It’s a great need, and it’s a need that’s in the here and now.
“Being a DOM, I have a different perspective than being a pastor of one single church and can see the full scope of challenges and struggles.
“I am very happy in ministry. I love being on call for pastors. I love having that kind of availability and connection with pastors,” he said, noting his prayer calendar of pastors and Baptist leaders that he prays for every month. “I text them on the day they are assigned. I ask how to pray for them and respond with an actual prayer for the request.”
Daily prayer texts
Carlisle started his daily prayer texts in August 2014 with 10 pastors on the list, and that list has now grown to more than 500.
Allen is one of the pastors on Carlisle’s list.
“Every 5th day of the month, without fail, I receive an early morning text from Craig, ‘Good morning, Derek! How can I pray for you today?’ He’s been sending me that message monthly for almost a decade,” Allen noted.
“I first met Craig when I was a young pastor in a very difficult situation. I was out of options and couldn’t find a way forward. Like so many pastors who have found themselves in similar situations, I felt like a failure. Craig did not know me, and he was not in any official role that required him to invest in me. He was a pastor of a church across town, and a mutual friend told him I was going through a tough time,” Allen said.
“Craig invited me to lunch, and I had no idea what to expect. Craig encouraged me, counseled me and prayed for me. But Craig did something else. He believed in me. He didn’t see me as a pastor who had failed to lead well. He saw me as a leader with great potential and a bright future in ministry. I will never forget that meeting,” Allen added. “It was one of God’s gracious gifts that helped me press through a really challenging time.”
No other nominations for president have been announced at this time.
Morgan Bailey, who is serving out his second one-year term as first vice president, would have been eligible to be nominated for president but is not seeking the role.
“After a time of prayer and nine years serving in leadership roles with our state convention, I didn’t feel led to be nominated during this season in my life,” Bailey, pastor of Macedonia Baptist Church in Ranburne, shared with The Alabama Baptist. “It has been my joy and privilege to serve His Kingdom through our conversation.”