Hankins, 40, has been pastor of First Baptist Church in Oxford since 2005.
Pressley, pastor of Hickory Grove Baptist Church in Charlotte, listed several reasons in a statement to Baptist Press why he intends to nominate Hankins for the SBC's second vice president.
Among them: "Eric loves the Southern Baptist Convention enough to work within the convention to help it to honor the Lord as best as we can." Pressley wrote. "This is, I believe, a factor of high importance in evaluating candidates for SBC office. Eric pastors FBC Oxford, Mississippi, and his church gives 12% through the Cooperative Program. If you love the SBC, then Eric is the kind of guy you want to see in leadership."
Before serving at First Baptist in Oxford, Hankins was senior pastor of Galloway Avenue Baptist Church in Mesquite, Texas, from 2000 to 2005 and pastor of Gillsburg (Miss.) Baptist Church from 1997 to 2000.
Hankins earned a Ph.D. in theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Texas in 2007, a master of divinity in biblical languages from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in 1997 and a bachelor of arts degree in religion from Louisiana College in 1994.
Pressley, in his statement to Baptist Press, described Hankins as "an innovative young leader in the pursuit of the Great Commission. Eric was involved in the founding of the One8 church-planting network and he serves on its leadership team today. This network combines all of the best new ideas about church planting with a convictional Southern Baptist doctrinal stance and denominational affiliation. One8 is a distinctively Southern Baptist church-planting network. Guys involved in creating and leading that sort of thing ought to be the leaders of our denomination, in my opinion." The One8 Network is on the Web at www.one8.org.
Pressley also referenced Hankins' father, David Hankins, executive director of the Louisiana Baptist Convention, stating, "The primary responsibility of the second vice president is to assist our president in any way that he requires. Eric will serve well alongside Dr. Fred Luter," the New Orleans pastor who, to date, is the lone nominee for SBC president. "here's already a good relationship between the Luters and the Hankinses," Pressley said, adding, "Eric's not the kind of guy who's going to wind up on CNN for having done something to embarrass the convention while holding office. That's important."
Pressley also stated that "Eric is my friend and I know him to be a godly leader that loves his family, the church and the Great Commission."
Eric Hankins and his wife Janet, have two school-age sons and a daughter.
Compiled by Baptist Press editor Art Toalston.
Copyright (c) 2012 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press www.BPNews.net
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