NASHVILLE (BP) -- Ken Weathersby will begin April 1 as vice president for convention advancement with the Southern Baptist Convention's Executive Committee, the first African American to hold an EC vice presidential position.

Weathersby, who most recently has served as presidential ambassador for ethnic church relations with the North American Mission Board, has held a series of trail-blazing positions with various SBC entities over the past two decades.

Weathersby will work in his newest role to increase ethnic participation and grow relationships with demographic subsets within the SBC such as young ministers and pastors of small churches and mega-churches, along with overseeing the EC's Global Evangelical Relations ministry.

Executive Committee President Frank Page said Weathersby is a friend who will bring a wealth of expertise to the office.

"Dr. Ken Weathersby brings a level of experience that will be beneficial to the Executive Committee and to our convention," Page said. "Ken is a friend and a man who is trusted and respected across our convention. We thank God for this new addition."

Weathersby replaces Thomas Hammond, who has resigned to accept the pastorate of First Baptist Church in Alpharetta, Ga.

Page also announced the reassignment of Ashley Clayton from associate vice president for Cooperative Program and Stewardship to the new position of special assistant to the Executive Committee president for Cooperative Program and Stewardship, effective immediately.

In his redefined role, Clayton will direct CP promotion and budget allocation planning, assist Page in recommending and implementing a nationwide process for CP development, and oversee stewardship education through state conventions, SBC entities and seminaries.

Weathersby was the first person to fill the role of presidential ambassador, created in August 2011. He has held a series of leadership roles at NAMB, including associate vice president for multi-ethnic mobilization, vice president for the church planting group, senior strategist for the evangelization group, and senior director of the church planting group's equipping team.

Weathersby in 1999 was the first African American pastor to hold a full-time associate professorship at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, where he was director of the seminary's Cecil B. Day Center for Church Planting and director of the Nehemiah Project, which steered seminary graduates into church planting.

He also has served the Tennessee Baptist Convention as evangelism specialist and team leader for evangelism strategies and director of the black church extension and multihousing office.

The National African American Fellowship honored Weathersby in 2012 for his denominational service with the Kennedy Boyce Award, named for the first two African American pastors to join the SBC in 1953, and in 2009 with the "Best Friend of Pastors" award for his work in facilitating relationships between the SBC and black pastors.

Weathersby has planted and pastored churches in Kentucky, Alabama, Ohio and Baton Rouge, La., where he started and led Douglas Avenue Baptist Church from 1989-93.

He has authored two books, "How to Start a Church in an African-American Community," published by NAMB, and "Develop a Heart to Help the Poor, Create a Safer World," published by the Woman's Missionary Union.

A native of Jackson, Miss., he holds a master of divinity degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., and a B.A. from Mississippi College in Clinton. He also holds a doctor of ministry degree from Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson.

He and his wife Belva Kennedy Weathersby from Charleston, S.C. have a daughter, Kenyeta, a student at South Carolina State University, and a son, Breon, a student at Morehouse College.

Diana Chandler is Baptist Press' staff writer. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email ( baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).

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