Ginn notified the SBC of Virginia executive board last week in anticipation of the vote from Istrouma. On Sunday, June 26, Ginn preached in both morning services in view of a call. The congregation responded with a unanimous vote after each service. Ginn indicated that his last day as executive director will be July 31, with Aug. 1 as his first day as Istrouma's senior pastor.
"I have always been so proud of the face Jeff put on the SBCV," said executive board chairman Wendell Horton, pastor of Skyview Missionary Baptist Church in Fancy Gap. No interim director has yet been named, but the executive committee already has met by phone to begin planning for the future. "We will meet in person this week," Horton said, "to pray and work towards selecting an interim executive director and a seven-member search committee. We will do our very best to choose a committee that represents a broad spectrum of the SBCV."
Ginn came to Virginia in 2000 to pastor Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Colonial Heights. It was through this ministry that he was introduced to the SBC of Virginia. "The SBCV's vision of planting new churches, assisting existing churches, and helping all churches to be on mission is a compelling one," Ginn said. "For that reason, serving the Lord through the SBCV has been one of my life's greatest joys and honors. The state staff with whom I have labored is unexcelled in their passion for, capabilities in, and commitment to the Great Commission."
Although he has extensive ministerial experience as a former International Mission Board missionary and seminary educator, Ginn said he senses God's renewed call on his life to be a local church pastor.
"The church is at the heart of all that the SBC of Virginia does. It should come as no surprise then when one of her staff returns to the local church to serve there. Istrouma Baptist Church is uniquely situated to have a global impact. Our family is thrilled and humbled at the prospect of joining in what God is doing at that dynamic fellowship."
It is that pastoral touch that Mark Becton, SBC of Virginia president and pastor of Grove Avenue Baptist Church in Richmond, said made Ginn's ministry effective.
"As our executive director, Dr. Ginn epitomized servant leadership," Becton said. "His passion for maturing, mobilizing and multiplying churches energized our passion to do the same. Each time he spoke in board meetings, committee meetings, in the pulpit, or when sending out a word of encouragement through Empowered , we heard his heart. I'm grateful for the time God allowed us to have Dr. Ginn. We will miss him."
Ginn began as executive director in 2008, following Doyle Chauncey, founding executive director-treasurer of the SBC of Virginia. Chauncey retired from that role at the end of 2007 after more than 12 years. The state convention has been positively impacted by Ginn's service, Chauncey said.
"His keen wisdom, contagious enthusiasm, gifted leadership and communication skills helped make us a better team in serving our churches," Chauncey said. "God used him to accomplish a number of things that would have been left undone had he not served as SBCV's executive director. We will miss the Ginn family, but I am always excited and rejoice when God is at work in the life of His faithful servants wherever He leads them."
During Ginn's tenure, ministry highlights include the formation and unanimous adoption of a Vision 20/20 strategy, with the goals of planting of 400 new churches by 2020 and an increase in Cooperative Program giving to SBC causes of 0.25 percent each year (the SBC of Virginia currently sends 50.5 percent of all CP dollars to SBC national and international missions and ministries.
Istrouma Baptist Church has a membership of about 3,700 with an average worship attendance of approximately 1,500. Sunday's affirmative vote for Ginn concludes an 11-month search for a new senior pastor.
"Istrouma Baptist Church is praising God for sending Dr. Ginn and his wonderful family to be our next senior pastor," said Don Powers, chairman of the Istrouma Baptist Church pastor search committee. "The unanimous vote of the nine-member search team and the unanimous vote of the congregation further provide evidence of God's hand in bringing him here. The search team and the congregation have been praying that God would send us a loving shepherd, preacher, leader, teacher and a protector against false doctrine. Without a doubt, Dr. Ginn not only meets what we were praying for, but God has given us someone far beyond our expectations. Throughout the search process, God's direction was felt in many, many ways. We are excited to see how God is going to use Jeff, the Ginn family and Istrouma Baptist Church to reach the lost in Baton Rouge, La., the United States and the world."
Brandon Pickett is director of media services for the Southern Baptists Conservatives of Virginia convention.
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