By William H. Perkins Jr.
Editor, The Baptist Record
JACKSON, Miss. — 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.
Kirk added that 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.”
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 served as pastor of Oak Grove Baptist Church in Milan from 1990-91.
He received a bachelor of arts degree with a religion major from Union University in Jackson 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) and pastor of Lakeview Baptist Church, New Orleans (1993-2001.
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).
Parker has been married for over 29 years to wife Elizabeth, a native of Clarksville, whom he met while attending Union University. They have two children: Ana Elisabeth, 22, and Nathaniel Nowell, 20.
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. B&R