TBC’s new president plans to continue focus on statewide evangelism
By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector
FRANKLIN — As David Green begins his tenure as president of the Tennessee Baptist Convention, his primary plan is to encourage Tennessee Baptists to keep their focus on what past TBC presidents have emphasized in recent years — sharing the gospel with the more than four million people in Tennessee who have no relationship with Jesus Christ.
Green, pastor of First Baptist Church, Greeneville, was elected by acclamation in November during the Summit held at West Jackson Baptist Church in Jackson to lead the convention in 2019.
“I want to encourage Tennessee Baptists to continue what we’re already doing well,” Green said in an interview with the Baptist and Reflector (listen to entire podcast on Episode 18 of Radio B&R here).
He said he personally plans to “continue to model and promote intentional personal evangelism.
“It’s not just something I’m telling everybody else to do. When I stop at roadside parks as I travel across the state, I want to find somebody to witness to,” Green said.
He stressed that witnessing is not about “finding one person a day to check off the box. It’s about a way of life and I want to share Christ by the way I live.”
Like past presidents in recent years, Green wants to see more Tennessee Baptists model a lifestyle of evangelism. “I’m afraid that, not just in Tennessee Baptist life, but in Southern Baptist life in general, that we spend a lot of time debating things that we don’t fully understand to the detriment of the one thing we do understand — the Great Commission.
“If we could be Great Commission Christians with biblical integrity and biblical discipleship, we could cut out a lot of those debates that tend to divide us and be united over the person of Christ,” he added.
Green is a strong proponent of the TBC-adopted Five Objectives, a strategic plan with specific goals for evangelism/discipleship, church planting, church revitalization and support of the Cooperative Program and the Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions.
He observed that the Five Objectives have definitely made a difference in the state since the convention adopted the strategic plan in 2014.
“We don’t need to be doing a hundred things well. We need to be doing four or five things great, and that’s Kingdom work. And, when you boil it down to our Five Objectives, that is the work of the gospel. That’s what God has called us to do.”
In order to accomplish God’s plan for Tennessee Baptists, funding is a key component, the new TBC president noted. “I am a huge proponent of the Cooperative Program. Too many people say we give to [the Cooperative Program]. We don’t give to it, we give through it because it meets so many needs outside of what we’re doing just inside our state.”
As Green begins his tenure, he has the advantage of knowing how the convention operates, having served as director of the former Executive Board of the Tennessee Baptist Convention (now Tennessee Baptist Mission Board) from 2004-12 and having a strong knowledge of the TBC’s ministry partners — Union University, Carson-Newman University, Harrison-Chilhowee Baptist Academy, Tennessee Baptist Children’s Homes, Tennessee Baptist Adult Homes and the Tennessee Baptist Foundation.”
“It’s a blessing now to get to serve as part of their boards and encourage them in what they’re doing.”
Green said he is humbled and honored by his election as president but noted it could not have happened without the support of his wife Tracy and children and church family who encouraged him to allow his name to be placed in nomination.
“I felt like I got a green light from God to go ahead and do it,” he reflected.
Green knows the next year will be extremely busy as he manages his time with his family and church while crisscrossing the state on convention matters. He asks for prayer for his family and church in 2019.
Green also asked for prayer for traveling safety and wisdom. Most of all, he added, “pray that I practice what I preach and that I do model personal, intentional evangelism as a way of life.”