2018 Proposed Convention Nominees

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Excitement is building for the upcoming Florida Baptist State Convention. Over recent days, several nominees for office have been proposed.

Stephen Rummage, senior pastor of Bell Shoals Baptist Church in Brandon, is being nominated for his second term as Convention president. His nomination will come from Bobby Lewis, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Middleburg.

FBC Nominations
2018 nominees for State Convention include Stephen Rummage for president, Javier Sotolongo for First Vice President and Erik Cummings for President of the 2018 Pastor’s Conference.

Lewis has known Rummage for many years and served alongside him in the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina and now again in the Florida Baptist Convention.

“[Rummage] has always been highly involved in Convention life,” Lewis said. “He’s a great father, husband, professor, pastor, and all-around good guy to know and be affiliated with and it’s an honor to be able to nominate him.”

Rummage said he’s thankful to be nominated again to serve as president because he’s had such a great experience working with Tommy Green and the entire Convention team. He’s also thankful for the opportunity he’s had as president to get to know more Florida Baptist pastors and people from all around the state. But he’s particularly thankful to the Lord for an increase in the number of baptisms over the last year in Florida Baptist churches.

“I’m rejoicing in that and praying that God will use our state to help spur Southern Baptists nationwide to win more people to Christ,” he said.

Also running for a second term, Javier Sotolongo, pastor of Iglesia Bautista Estrella de Belen in Hialeah, will be nominated by fellow south Florida pastor Otto Fernandez. Fernandez, senior pastor of Riverside Baptist Church in Miami and a long-time friend of Sotolongo’s, also nominated him last year.

Sotolongo said he is thankful to Florida Baptists for believing in him and has been honored to serve alongside State Convention President Stephen Rummage and Florida Baptist Convention Executive Director-Treasurer Tommy Green. He wants to continue serving in order to encourage churches to engage with the people who are coming into Florida from out of the country.

“Every day we receive in our airport the arrival of thousands who are coming to live here, in most cases without Christ but open to listening to the Gospel,” Sotolongo said. “I hope to see more churches planting new missions to reach the millions of people who are lost in our cities.”

His commitment to evangelism is just one of the many reasons Fernandez is nominating him.

“He’s well qualified and a proven leader in the Miami Baptist Association,” Fernandez said.

Fernandez said Sotolongo was an intentional choice to build diversity into the structure of the Convention and he looks forward to seeing Sotolongo represent Miami well when the State Convention meets there in 2018.

Jimmy Scroggins, lead pastor of Family Church in West Palm Beach, said he is looking forward to nominating Erik Cummings for pastor of the 2018 Pastors Conference. If elected to serve, Cummings will be the first African-American pastor to hold the position.

“I believe Erik Cummings will strike exactly the right tone as President of our Pastor’s Conference,” Scroggins said. “I also believe that Florida Baptists from all walks of life will be challenged and encouraged by his leadership.”

Cummings said he is humbled by the opportunity to serve pastors at the state level.

“There have been so many great African-American pastors in Florida Baptist life over the years and to have the opportunity to serve, I know that I’m standing on their shoulders,” Cummings said.

Ray Alderman, a layperson who attends Exciting Central Baptist Church in Tampa and currently serves on the State Board of Missions, will be nominated as second vice president. Randy Huckabee, pastor of First Baptist Church in Dade City, will be nominated for his second term as recording secretary. Retired pastor Jimmy Deas will be nominated as parliamentarian. Deas served as senior pastor of Westwood Baptist Church in Live Oak for 20 years before retiring in 2013.

By Nicole Kalil, The Baptist Witness, October 17, 2017

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