Longtime Southern Baptist leader Willy Rice announced Monday (June 5) he intends to nominate Georgia pastor Mike Stone for SBC president during the annual meeting in New Orleans (June 13–14).
“He is one of the few guys I know who possess the strength to stand in this current moment and the wisdom to know what to do,” Rice, pastor of Calvary Church in Clearwater, Florida, said in announcing his intention to make the nomination.
“This is no time for the pastel colors of nuance,” Rice said. “This is time for the bold colors of conviction and courage.”
Rice had announced plans to run for SBC president in 2022 before deciding to withdraw after he came under fire for having a deacon with a past of sexual misconduct. Rice called Stone “a man of courageous conviction, a pastor with a shepherd’s heart, and somebody who understands the SBC and the issues of this hour that we face.
“He is an independent thinker and, more than most, he is his own man,” Rice said.
Having Rice as a nominator is seen as a boon for the Stone campaign.
Rice has been active at all levels of the denomination, including having served as president of the SBC Pastors Conference, trustee for the North American Mission Board, president of the Florida Baptist Convention, and as chair of the SBC Committee on Committees and SBC Committee on Nominations.
Stone is challenging incumbent SBC President Bart Barber, a Texas pastor who won election last year in Anaheim, California. Steven James, pastor of Trinity Baptist Church, Lake Charles, Louisiana, announced on Feb. 13 his intentions to nominate Barber in New Orleans.
Stone had sought the presidency two years ago, narrowly losing to Alabama pastor Ed Litton who didn’t seek a second term.
To read more about this year’s presidential candidates and their views on a variety of issues, click here.