Among business items to be conducted during the upcoming Alabama Baptist State Convention annual meeting is electing a new slate of officers.
Elections will take place on the second day of the Nov. 16–17 meeting at Whitesburg Baptist Church in Huntsville.
Nominees announced so far are Buddy Champion for president, Morgan Bailey for first vice president and Jarman Leatherwood for second vice president.
Nominee for president — Buddy Champion
Champion, pastor of First Baptist Church Trussville since 2006, will be nominated by Blake Kersey, pastor of First Baptist Church Decatur.
“It is a distinct honor and privilege to be able to nominate my mentor and one of my heroes in the faith for president of the state convention,” Kersey said. “Buddy is an example of an authentic, genuine leader who consistently puts the needs of others in front of us his own. He is humble, kind, generous and a true visionary.
“I had the privilege of serving under Buddy for almost 8 years, and I can honestly say that most of what I have learned, I learned from watching him closely,” Kersey added. “I hope to one day be the husband, father and pastor that Buddy Champion is today.”
Champion said he sees the opportunity to serve as president as a ministry and a service. “I have an understanding of what it’s like to pastor in many different areas and types of churches,” he said, noting he previously served in Decatur and before that in a rural church outside of Selma.
“I think Alabama Baptists have done a great job staying focused on the Great Commission, evangelism and making disciples,” he said. “Hopefully we can maintain that culture … and be known for our love. By loving God with all our heart and loving one another, we can display that to a lost community and others … and show that even in spite of our differences, we can love one another.”
Champion is concluding his third year as first vice president of the state convention and served as second vice president for two years prior to that. He and his wife, Lynn, have four children.
Nominee for first vice president — Morgan Bailey
Bailey, pastor of Macedonia Baptist Church in Ranburne since 2019, will be nominated by evangelist Scott Dawson.
“Morgan Bailey is a faithful husband, godly dad, incredible preacher and a real leader for Alabama Baptists,” Dawson said. “He will seek unity among the churches and continue to burn the embers of evangelism for our denomination.
“I’ve known Morgan for over 25 years, and he has been a friend, adviser and a constant encourager for me, my family and the ministry I lead. This isn’t a political position for him, this is another platform to serve the body of Christ. We need more men like Morgan Bailey to lead Alabama Baptists. I am thrilled to nominate him.”
Bailey is concluding his third year as second vice president of the state convention and previously served as chairman of the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions. He also previously served as pastor of Canaan Baptist Church in Bessemer for 13 years. He and his wife, Ritta, have two children.
Nominee for second vice president — Jarman Leatherwood
Leatherwood, founding pastor of House of Hope and Restoration in Huntsville, will be nominated by Craig Carlisle, director of missions for Etowah Baptist Association.
“Jarman is a man of influence and a trusted adviser for many pastors and especially church planters in the state of Alabama,” Carlisle said. “He’s also an influential leader in the city of Huntsville. Key leaders in the community call on him … and his church does an incredible amount of community ministry. He’s always seeking wisdom and what to do to make the right and proper decisions. And while he’s not afraid to ask questions, he’s a humble guy.
“Jarman is a faithful, loyal Alabama Baptist who is proud to be part of the convention and is a supporter of the Cooperative Program and Madison Association,” Carlisle added. “He’s more than qualified to be a leader in our state convention.”
Leatherwood partnered with Madison Association and the State Board of Missions to plant House of Hope and Restoration in 2014 and is vice moderator of the association. He also has served with Etowah Association for the past year in a part-time congregational wellness strategist/catalyst role. He and his wife Camillus have three children.
Editor’s Note — State convention officers are elected for one-year terms and traditionally only serve two back-to-back terms. Champion and Bailey served a third term in their previous officer positions because the business portion of the 2020 annual meeting could not be held due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All elected positions from the 2019 annual meeting remained in place through 2020 and until the upcoming 2021 meeting. Also included in officer elections are recording secretary and statistical/registration secretary, which do not have term limits. Billie Davis currently serves as recording secretary and Bobby DuBois was the most recent statistical/registration secretary but has since retired from his role as associate executive director of the State Board of Missions. Mike Jackson, who is now associate executive director, will be in an acting role for the upcoming annual meeting.