On Monday afternoon I sat waiting surrounded by family at the Baptist General Convention meeting in Fort Worth. We were anticipating President Joy Fenner’s announcement of vote totals from the election for president. It felts as if the clock was standing still as I waited in anticipation for the results.
Earlier in the afternoon, Bruce Webb had nominated me for the office of president. He did a wonderful job, and there were even times that it sounded like he was describing me. (I am going to have to get him to preach my funeral one day!!) Likewise, Dr. Bill Tolar did a good job placing into nomination the name of Dr. Stephen Hatfield, Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church of Lewisville, and the co-chair of the Future Focus Committee of the BGCT. After the nomination speeches the crowd of approximately 1400 people sat in silence. Without the benefit of polling it was impossible to know the mood of the crowd, so that only increase the feelings of uncertainty.
As the seconds ticked by as minutes, we waited and waited. Shortly after 2:00 p.m. President Fenner was handed a note. She studied the note closely and paused for what seemed like the three and a half years of the tribulation. She then announced that she had the results from the presidential election. Now time sped up and my hearing slowed down, and my mind became like a slow computer. I don’t remember exactly what she said, but she reported that thirteen hundred some odd votes were cast. Immediately I begin trying to do the math. Half of thirteen hundred would be six hundred and something. While I was slowly computing the percentages, President Fenner said “For David Lowrie…seven hundred and” at this point my brain froze up. I thought to myself “Did she say seven hundred—seven hundred is half of fourteen hundred—I have more than half the votes.” At this point I am trying to make sense of what I was hearing, then it hit me “I was elected president.” A big smile crossed my lips. A huge weight was lifted. Two years of working and dreaming came true—a miracle happened, and I was going to get to serve as president. Those around Robyn and me began to celebrate, and I hugged my wife and gave her a quick kiss.
This excitement and joy lasted for thirty glorious seconds, and then it hit me like a ton of bricks, “I was elected president of the BGCT.” Much like the punch line from a bad joke, I had received the good news and the bad news all at once. A friend of mine reminded me of a quote he heard from President Bill Clinton after he was elected president, allegedly he said that I feel like a dog that just caught the car he was chasing and stopped and asked “what am I going to do now!” As quickly as the weight of the election had lifted, the weight of the responsibility feel on my shoulders and to be honest, it was a bit more than I could bear alone. The good news is that I don’t have to do this alone. I am convinced we are all in this together, and the best news of all, is that we are partnering with the LORD Himself in this Kingdom assignment.
For two years I have talked and dreamed about what we could do together. I offered ideas and suggestions. I did my best to be a team player. Now as president, I challenge all of us to step up and claim the future God has laid out for us. At the press conference following the election I said to the writers that I did not believe the election showed a divided convention. No I believe that 100% of the votes were cast for positive, progressive, proactive change because Stephen Hatfield and I only want what is best for our convention and our future.
Challenging days lie ahead, but I believe some of our best days are just around the corner. For those of you voted for me, thank you for believing in a dreamer and giving me this opportunity to serve you. For those who voted for Stephen, thank you for being part of the process and helping us determine the Lord’s will in an open election that took the high road, and I pray in the days ahead that we can work together for the future of our great convention, but more importantly for the advance of the Kingdom of God in our lifetime.