07/07/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Southern Baptists Look To Alabama For Next Leader

By Dave Dieter / The Huntsville Times
Religion News Service

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (RNS) Alabama has a two-out-of-three chance of being home to the next president of the Southern Baptist Convention, the nation's second largest Christian denomination.

The last Alabama pastor to head the 16-million-member convention served in the late 1800s, according to The Alabama Baptist, a newspaper owned by Southern Baptists.

Jimmy Jackson, senior pastor of Huntsville's Whitesburg Baptist Church and currently president of the Alabama Baptist Convention, will be nominated along with Ted Traylor, a native of Pisgah, Ala., who is now pastor of Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola, Fla.

The third nominee will be Bryant Wright, pastor of Johnson Ferry Baptist Church of Marietta, Ga.

The annual convention is June 15-16 in Orlando.

Jackson served as first vice president of the SBC from 2006-2007 and has been an assistant parliamentarian at the SBC's annual meetings for nearly 25 years, according to The Alabama Baptist. For eight years he also served on the SBC's executive committee.

Jackson has been pastor of Whitesburg for 31 years, shepherding the congregation from fewer than 3,000 members in 1978 to more than 7,000 today.

Traylor is a trustee of the North American Mission Board of the SBC and a member of the SBC's Great Commission Resurgence Task Force.

He was president of the Florida Baptist Convention from 1995-6, first vice president of the SBC in 2000 and president of the Southern Baptist Pastors' Conference in 2004.

Wright was a businessman before becoming a minister. He has been pastor of Johnson Ferry since 1981.

Wright is founder and chair of Right from the Heart Ministries, which distributes short inspirational messages via secular media.