Jack Graham – A Continuing Catalyst for Expansion

Jun 19, 2003 05:50 AM EDT

Dr. Jack Graham was elected without opposition for a second one-year term to the Southern Baptist Convention presidency during the annual SBC pastor’s conference in Phoenix, June 17. The continued term was a testimony to Graham’s lifelong dedication to ministry.

Graham, born in Conway Arkansas began his commitment to Christ at age six at the local First Baptist Church. Since then, he took a steady course into ministry; in 1970, at age 20, he was already an ordained pastor at First Baptist. Jack then served at Sagamore Hill Baptist Church in Fort Worth as an associate pastorate from 1972-1975. He went on to pastor First Baptist Church in Hobart, Oklahoma until 1978, then to the First Baptist Church in West Palm Beach Florida from 1981-1989. Currently, Graham pastors the Prestonwood Baptist Church.

In 1989, when Prestonwood Baptist Church called Graham as senior pastor, the congregation was already active with 8,000 members. Within years, Graham’s enthusiasm and powerful messages stirred a passion in the church to expand its tent. The church family increased by 2,000 members annually under Graham’s direction; they investigated, deliberated, prayed, and finally built a new worship facility, school, and ministry complex on 150 acres in what was then very far north Dallas.

"What I love about this church is that it's everywhere," said one member. "We're in Boston, in Thailand, in south Dallas. It's big, but it's big for a purpose."

Dr. Graham received a bachelor of science degree with honors at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas, a master of divinity degree with honors and a doctor of ministry degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. In addition, Graham published the books: "You Can Make a Difference," "Diamonds in the Dark," "Lessons from the Heart," and most recently, "A Hope and a Future."

Jack Graham was elected President of the SBC in June 2002 and since been an impetus of growth for the 6 million member denomination.

Bobby Welch, pastor of First Baptist Church in Daytona Beach Fla., nominated Graham for the 2003-2004 presidency; Welch thanked Graham for his leadership of the convention during the past year.

"As all of us in this auditorium know, the last 12 months has been loaded with controversial and uncertain times and changes," Welch said. "But during this time, our president has led us with certainty, with conviction through these times, and during this time has kept the focus on the main thing and that is for this convention to keep on making a priority of reaching people and discipling them for the Lord Jesus."

Dr. Graham lives in Frisco, Texas, with his wife and ministry partner, Deb. The Grahams have three children: Jason (married to Toby), Kelly, and Joshua.

By Pauline J.