NASHVILLE, Tenn. (KT) – Thousands of Southern Baptist messengers elected Ed Litton as the next president of the Southern Baptist Convention at the 2021 SBC Annual Meeting on Tuesday.
Litton won by a margin of 52% to 48% against Mike Stone, a total of less than 600 votes. SBC officials said 13,131 messengers voted in the election.
Stone and Litton were the top two candidates from a four-candidate field resulting in a runoff election. Litton is the pastor of Redemption Church in Saraland, Alabama.
“We are a family,” Litton said at a news conference after his victory. "At times it seems we’re incredibly dysfunctional, but we love each other. My goal is to build bridges, not walls.”
Todd Gray, Kentucky Baptist Convention executive director-treasurer, said, “One of the enduring strengths of Southern Baptists is that we are a church-centered convention which means the churches give direction to the work of the convention. The messengers of the 2021 annual meeting have chosen Ed Litton to lead us into the year ahead.”
KBC President Wes Fowler said, “My prayer is for the Lord to use Ed Litton to unite our convention around the Great Commission. We have many issues worthy of consideration, but we desperately need evangelism and discipleship to take priority. Lostness is pervasive throughout our country, as well as the nations. Therefore, we need the Gospel to unite us, as well as compel us, as we move forward. ”
Litton, who served as the SBC's first vice president in 2001, becomes the 63rd president of the SBC and will take over from J.D. Greear, pastor of The Summit Chuh in Durham, N.C., who served an extra year due to the cancellation of the 2020 annual meeting amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Fred Luter, the only Black pastor to serve as president of the SBC, from 2012 to 2014, announced in January that he would nominate Litton on Tuesday.
Litton graduated from Grand Canyon University in 1983 and later Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He served in church and state convention posts in Texas and Arizona before helping to found Mountain View Baptist Church in Tucson. He became pastor at Redemption — then known as First Baptist North Mobile — in 1994.
Gray and Fowler called on Kentucky Baptists to unite in prayer for Litton as he leads in the role of president of the SBC.