Prominent Georgia Pastor Mike Stone has obtained endorsement for his second-time quest to become the president of the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in the United States.
The denomination’s long-time leader, Willy Rice announced on Monday his plan to nominate Pastor Mike as SBC president at the annual meeting in New Orleans coming week.
“In just a few days at our Southern Baptist Convention meeting in New Orleans, I will nominate Mike Stone to the office of SBC President. Such an announcement would have been unthinkable for both of us a short time ago. I wish the status quo were an option. It’s not,” Rice wrote in a statement posted to the website of Calvary Church in Clearwater, Florida, where he serves as lead pastor.
“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 added.
Pastor Stone is contesting in opposition to the incumbent President Bart Barber, a Texas pastor who has been serving SBC since last year. In 2021, Stone contested for SBC president but narrowly lose to Pastor Ed Litton, an ALbama pastor. At the time, he was opposed by Rice who conversely supported Litton.
Rice however explained that when Stone contested for the presidency, he “disagreed with him on several issues and especially felt concern over the Conservative Baptist Network.” “I found some of their voices to be overly divisive and unnecessarily caustic,” he added.
Rice further made known he considered Stone fit for this year’s president after knowing him better.
“In the last months I have come to know Mike Stone on a personal level. I have found him to be 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 wrote.