Parker to Lead MBCB
By William H. Perkins Jr.
Shawn Parker, pastor of First Baptist Church, Columbus, was unanimously called on Dec. 19 by the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board (MBCB) to succeed longtime Executive Director-Treasurer Jim Futral, who will formally retire at the end of February after more than 21 years of service.
“We believe he is the Lord’s man. We believe he is a relational leader who knows how to cast a vision,” said Bobby Kirk, Chairman of the Search Committee and member of Roundaway Baptist Church, Doddsville, in his presentation to the MBCB Executive Committee earlier in the day.
The Search Committee met 19 times and considered every resume’ submitted to them, Kirk said. After 11 months of meetings, the Search Committee voted unanimously to recommend Parker’s nomination to the Executive Committee, according to Kirk.
The Executive Committee voted unanimously to send Parker’s nomination to the full Board.
Parker, age 50, was born in Booneville and raised by Christian parents in Michie, Tenn., about 12 miles northeast of Corinth. He was baptized at First Baptist Church, Michie, at the age of 10, and felt the call to pastoral ministry at the age of 16.
He received a Bachelor of Arts degree with a religion major from Baptist-affiliated Union University in Jackson Tenn., in 1991. He holds both a Master of Divinity with languages degree (1995) and a Doctor of Philosophy in Old Testament and Hebrew degree (2000) from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
“My philosophy of ministry is based on an understanding of the overarching purpose of the church. The biblical material emphasizes a three-fold purpose of the church: to exalt God, to equip believers for discipleship, and to evangelize the world,” Parker enumerated in written remarks to the Search Committee.
“Above all, the Christian leader should be a person of spiritual discipline who is faithful in prayer, diligent in study, intentional in evangelism, and mature in character. When a Christian leader is faithful in these ways, God will honor his work,” he wrote.
Prior to his call to First Baptist Church, Columbus, in 2003, Parker served as senior pastor of Metairie Baptist Church in Metairie, La. (2001-2003); pastor of Lakeview Baptist Church, New Orleans (1993-2001); and pastor of Oak Grove Baptist Church, Milan, Tenn. (1990-1991).
He has served on the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board (2008-2014) and the Board’s Executive Committee, as well as the Mississippi Baptist Convention’s Resolutions Committee (2017) and Nominating Committee (2019).
He also served as a member of Golden Triangle Baptist Association’s Executive Leadership Team (2004-2007) while in Columbus, and on the Louisiana Baptist Convention Executive Board (1996-2002). He was Moderator for Greater New Orleans Baptist Association (1999-2001) and President of the New Orleans Baptist Association Pastors’ Conference (1995-1996).
He served on the adjunct faculty of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary from 2000-2003, and then again from 2011 to the present.
Parker’s interdenominational ministry involvement includes Executive Board memberships for both Global Maritime Ministries in New Orleans (1994-2003) and Greater New Orleans Federation of Churches (1994-2003).
Bobby Kirk released a statement to The Baptist Record after the meeting: “I would like to thank Mississippi Baptists for their faithfulness in praying for the search committee. One of the most rewarding and perhaps greatest challenges we faced as a committee was the fact that we received resumes from many well-qualified candidates, yet there is only one position. Ultimately, our responsibility was to seek the individual that the Lord God Almighty has ordained for this position.
“God, in His perfect timing, has answered those prayers and blessed us with our next Executive Director-Treasurer, Dr. Shawn Parker. I encourage all Mississippi Baptists to join me in praying for Dr. Parker and his family as he begins his new ministry role.”
Clarence Cooper, Senior Pastor of Brandon Baptist Church, Brandon, said, “As chairman of the Executive Committee for the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board, it is my privilege and honor to welcome Dr. Shawn Parker as our new Executive Director-Treasurer.
“Dr. Parker is a man of God with a heart for sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I believe Dr. Parker has the God-given gifts to lead our convention. He is a man of great character [and] integrity and will lead our convention as he has led the many churches he has pastored in the past.
“Let’s get behind him with our prayers and support as we move into the years ahead.”
Ken Hester, President of the Mississippi Baptist Convention and Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church, Pontotoc, said, “Being a part of the Search Committee has been a humbling experience. The Search Committee was filled with men I highly respect. Their wisdom, insight, prayerfulness, and walk with the Lord has taught me a lot over the course of this search. We share a brotherhood and friendship that means a great deal to me. Mr. Bobby Kirk, in particular, has been a great leader.
“Every man on the Search Committee wanted nothing less than to present the person we feel convinced that God has called to the position of the Executive Director-Treasurer, or we would not present him. We are convinced that Dr. Shawn Parker is the man God has called to be our next Executive Director-Treasurer of the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board to shepherd us, as Mississippi Baptists, into the future.”
“The Search Committee showed great patience and wisdom throughout the entire process of looking for a new Executive Director-Treasurer for the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board,” said Jim Futral. “With so many outstanding candidates who were willing to be considered, it was a challenging and difficult task.
“While there were so many things that they certainly were looking for, one of the things all of them sought was someone who it became clear that God had led them to, and led him to the work. Dr. Shawn Parker was/is that man.
“This long-time Mississippi pastor is a gifted servant of the Lord. He has the giftedness and the experience and the enormous shepherd’s heart that will enable him to carry out the task of leading this great state. The future is bright, and Dr. Parker deserves our support and love and encouragement as he moves from the pastorate into this much larger role of caring for the Lord’s church and the mission that He has given to us.”
Parker has been married for over 29 years to wife Elizabeth, a native of Clarksville, Tenn., whom he met while attending Union University. They have two children: Ana Elisabeth, 22, a nurse in Columbus, and Nathaniel Nowell, 20, a student at Baptist-affiliated Mississippi College in Clinton.
Parker will begin his duties as Executive Director-Treasurer Elect on Jan. 13 and will become Executive Director-Treasurer on March 1, upon Futral’s retirement.