Pastors to be nominated to lead 2024 Florida Baptist Pastors’ Conference

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LUTZ­–Aaron Burgner will be nominated by fellow Florida Baptist pastor Alan Brumback to serve as president of the 2024 Florida Baptist Pastors’ Conference.

The nomination from Brumback, lead pastor of First Baptist Church Naples, will come during this year’s Pastors’ Conference meeting, set for Nov. 12-13 at Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz in conjunction with the Florida Baptist State Convention annual meeting.

Burgner, senior pastor of Lakes Church, with campuses in Lakeland and Auburndale, “is a leading pastor in our state and denomination,” said Brumback.

“In addition to serving as senior pastor at Lakes Church, a multi-site church with locations in Lakeland and Auburndale, he serves our convention as president of the State Board of Missions. He has a missional, disciple-making heart that is making an impact in Central Florida and the nations.”

In response to his upcoming nomination, Burgner said, “I am excited about the opportunity to serve in this role because I love pastors, and I love our Florida Baptist Convention and its churches. My prayer would be that I would serve our pastors and our convention well.”

If elected, Burgner said that his “biggest priority would be to encourage pastors. Many pastors, including myself, do not have a lot of opportunities to just sit down with other pastors and be encouraged. Ministry is difficult, weighty and messy at times. It is so important that we’re around each other and that we are encouraged in the good work we are called to do. One of the greatest encouragements we will ever find is sitting under and listening to God‘s word. I hope to put forth a conference that would focus on the beauty of Christ, so that we can all sit and be encouraged for a few days in what God has called us to do in making His glorious name known among our neighbors and the nations.”

A Polk County native, Burgner began serving as senior pastor of Lakes Church, previously known as First Baptist Church at the Mall, in November 2017 after having served churches in Kentucky, North Carolina and Louisiana. Within a couple of years of becoming senior pastor, Burgner led his church to change its name to Lakes Church because church leaders believed the new name would be recognizable at any of its current and future locations moving forward as its members seek to reach Central Florida with the gospel. He also has led his church to generously support the Cooperative Program, Southern Baptists’ unified plan of giving through which cooperating Southern Baptist churches give a percentage of their undesignated receipts in support of their state conventions and SBC missions and ministries.

Burgner said, “I have a huge heart for missions,” and CP is a practical way to fund North American and international missions efforts. CP is a “pathway” and “game plan,” he believes.

He has served in full-time ministry since the age of 20. Burgner holds a doctor of ministry degree from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina; a master of divinity degree from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, and a bachelor of science degree from Southeastern University in Lakeland. He was awarded an honorary doctorate from Louisiana Baptist University for his leadership in church growth.

Burgner served as first vice president of the 2020 Florida Baptist Pastors’ Conference. In addition to his service with the Florida Baptist Convention, Burgner is serving on the board of trustees for Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Tiffany, have a son and daughter.

First vice president

Aaron Filippone, pastor of Indian Rocks Baptist Church in Largo, will nominate Matt McCraw, pastor of First Baptist Church in Bartow, for Pastors’ Conference first vice president.

“Matt is a humble, hardworking, patient leader in our state. He has been a successful leader in small, medium and large churches. He is well-connected and will serve our state well for the Pastors’ Conference,” said Filippone.

A native of Polk County, McCraw has served as senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Bartow since September 2017, after serving churches in Florida and Kentucky since 2000. McCraw has a doctor of education degree and a master of arts in Christian education degree from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, and a bachelor of science degree from Boyce College in Louisville, Kentucky. He is the author of a recently published book, “Leading the Jesus Way: Learning to Lead from the Master.”

He and his wife, Jennifer, have three sons.

Second vice president

Richard Williamson, associational mission strategist for South Florida Baptist Association, will nominate Lito Lucas, pastor of Philippine International Christian Fellowship in Lakeland, for Pastors’ Conference second vice president.

“Pastor Lito has served in many ways. He has been the moderator and prayer coordinator and currently serves as chairman of the Stewardship Committee, all for South Florida Baptist Association. Beyond that he is the Asian-American multicultural consultant for the Florida Baptist Convention. He planted the church where he serves. He is a faithful pastor and selfless servant. He is the best of Florida Baptists and will do a great job!” said Williamson.Pablito Lucas

A native of the Philippines, Lucas moved to the United States to study at Dallas Theological Seminary in Dallas, Texas, graduating in 1997 with a master of theology degree in pastoral leadership. Following graduation, he and his family moved to Lakeland, where he started Philippine International Christian Fellowship.

In 2018, Pastor Lucas received his doctor of ministry degree, specializing in pastoral counseling, from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

He and his wife, Lilybeth, have two sons, a daughter and a daughter-in-law.

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