On October 19th Bob Fowler, a Houston attorney and former chairman of the BGCT Executive Board, announced his intentions to nominate John Ogletree, founding pastor of First Metropolitan Baptist Church of Houston, as second vice president.
I have had the privilege of getting to know Pastor Ogletree over the past few months and have found him to be a good man, and gifted leader. If the messengers of the convention elect both of us to serve, I would be honored to serve with him. I believe Pastor Ogletree brings valuable experience to the position. As a former chairman of the Executive Board, he knows all too well the inner workings of our Baptist family and convention. He knows the challenges face us, and brings a valuable perspective to our work.
Pastor Ogletree has also just completed a term as president of the African American Fellowship (AAF). The AAF is a key part of our Texas Baptist family. The leaders and churches of the AAF are setting the pace for many of us to follow with the innovations in ministry, their commitment to reach into some of the most difficult and challenging communities in our large cities with actions of compassion and powerful expressions of the gospel. Pastor Ogletree and current president Dr. Michael Bell have led the way in helping our Texas Baptist family understand and impact the challenges faced by African Americans all across our state. I believe their contributions have helped the BGCT to be one of the most powerful forces for good in our state in recent years. It should also be noted that in these hard economic times that our African American churches have been leading the way in their sacrificial giving. While many churches and affinity groups have given less in recent years, the AAF has increased their giving. We should all follow their example.
On a personal note, a few months ago I found myself in an awkward situation of having offended some of my AAF brothers by some statements I had made. I had not intended to offend, yet my words did. In an effort of reconciliation I approached Pastor Ogletree. In this encounter I found him to be a gracious and understanding man. He received me with mercy, and helped me to understand better life from the perspective of our African American churches. I am indebted to him for sincerity, kindness, and willingness to open his heart to me. I saw Jesus in him, and went away blessed and better equipped to lead.
Needless to say, I would be honored to serve along side a man like Pastor Ogletree. He and his wife Evelyn have been significant leaders in our recent past, and I believe are uniquely prepared to help us embrace the future.