Published November 24, 2005
Ten months ago Frank Cox, pastor of North Metro First Baptist Church in Lawrenceville, announced that he was going to nominate evangelist Wayne Hamrick as the president of the Georgia Baptist Convention. True to his word, Cox nominated Hamrick, extolling his virtues as a pastor, church growth strategist and evangelist while declaring, "Wayne Hamrick represents who we are as Georgia Baptists."
Since there was no rival to Hamrick's candidacy, he was elected by acclamation. It is very likely that no full-time, vocational evangelist has ever served as the president of the Georgia Baptist Convention. The new president is hopeful that his election will send a message that Georgia Baptists are serious about reaching people for Christ.
At the press conference after Hamrick's election, he was asked to outline his goals as Convention president. He stated, "I believe we need to get back to basics. I will be seeking to emphasize the importance of Sunday School (or open groups), evangelism and missions."
Prior to Hamrick's election the GBC voted to begin the initial process necessary to separate from Mercer University, the Convention's flagship university for 172 years. (See story on page 1). When asked to state his view of this historic action, Hamrick indicated that he was in sympathy with the decision of the vast majority of the messengers who voted to disassociate the Convention from the institution of higher learning based in Macon.
Hamrick said that he did not anticipate any significant opposition to finalizing the separation from Mercer when the Convention meets in November of 2006 to register the final vote to dissolve the relationship. The president from Cartersville commented, "I hope Dr. White (GBC executive director) and Dr. Godsey (Mercer president) will be able to work out an amiable agreement as proposed by the wording of the motion adopted by the Convention.
Those who know Hamrick best see him as a clever strategist who became one of the chief architects of the conservative resurgence in the Georgia Baptist Convention. He is also a sincere man of God who loves people, who is passionately concerned about those without Christ, and who is deeply concerned about growing healthy kingdom churches.
Hamrick, who is serving as the chairman of the GBC Executive Committee, will have to relinquish that position at the group's December meeting to fulfill his new duties. He also serves as the chairman of the board of trustees at LifeWay Christian Resources. He is a recognized leader and is eminently qualified to lead Georgia Baptists well.
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