November 14, 2013

South Carolina Baptists elect new president

The new president of the South Carolina Baptist Convention said Wednesday he wants to spread the Gospel to those who may not know the story of Southern Baptists and their work in the Christian faith and the mission field.

The Rev. D.J. Horton, pastor of Anderson Mill Baptist Church near Spartanburg, was elected Wednesday at the annual convention, which drew messengers to Shandon Baptist Church in Columbia for the two-day convention. Horton will succeed outgoing president, the Rev. Ralph Carter, for the one-year term.

A cradle Baptist from Alabama, Horton has led Anderson Mill since 2004, tripling the church's membership to about 2,000 and increasing its church budget to Southern Baptist missions. According to the Baptist Courier, Anderson Mill is set to give $100,000 to the International Mission Board, $75,000 to the state convention and $92,000 to local missions.

At a news conference, Horton, who turns 36 Thursday, said the church and the convention has to adapt to a modern technological world, and reach out to people who turn regularly to online resources. He said he wants to strengthen the convention so that it becomes a powerful source to pastors across the state.

"We have to center our efforts on a handful of biblical issues, like missions,'' he told the Baptist Courier. He said churches have to be bold in adapting to new methods to reach their mission fields.

A graduate of Auburn University, Horton earned his master of divinity degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and a doctorate of ministry in expository preaching from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a trustee of the New Orleans seminary.

Horton was nominated by the Rev. Sonny Holmes, pastor of Northwood Baptist Church in North Charleston. He told the Baptist Courier that Horton understands the "unique pulse of our state and the many challenges of engaging a culture like ours.''

Horton and his wife, Laurel, have four children and are preparing to adopt a child from Ethiopia.

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