A 42-year-old pastor and immediate past moderator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of North Carolina has been named to lead the second-largest state or regional chapter of the national organization of moderate Baptists.

Larry Hovis, pastor of The Memorial Baptist Church in Greenville, N.C., becomes the second full-time coordinator of the 10-year-old North Carolina CBF, on Oct. 11. He was elected by the group’s Coordinating Council Sept. 2, according to a Monday press release.

Hovis, who just completed a term as the state CBF’s top elected officer, succeeds Bob Patterson, who entered the ministry mid-career after working 23 years at the U.S. Defense Department. Patterson, 60, cited transition in North Carolina Baptist life in his decision in January to step down after five years in the post to pursue personal and family interests.

Hovis, “who has deep roots in North Carolina and has never met a stranger,” is the ideal candidate to lead the North Carolina CBF in implementation of its new strategic plan, which focuses on networking among pastors and lay leaders in nearly 300 churches where the CBF has relationships, said Tim Moore. Moore, pastor of Sardis Baptist Church in Charlotte, chaired a nine-person search committee that recommended Hovis from about 40 nominees from as far away as Texas and New England. About a third were women.

“We listened to folks, read the [strategic] plan, and came to feel CBFNC needed a broker, not an expert,” Moore said. “The experts in ministry are in our churches, doing God’s work in their communities, so we sought a person who can bring people together to learn from each other.”

Hovis said he is “humbled” by his selection and grateful for “the strong foundation” laid by his predecessor. He said he looks forward to traveling around North Carolina to visit with pastors and churches to “discover their needs and develop ministry partnerships.”

A native of Charlotte, Hovis has served as pastor of the Greenville church for five years. Previous pastorates include First Baptist Church of Mocksville, N.C.; Bethlehem Baptist Church in Richmond, Va.; and Washington Baptist Church in Washington, Va.

Hovis is a graduate of North Carolina State University and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, with a doctor of ministry degree from Union Theological Seminary. His wife, Kim, is also a seminary graduate and active in her local church. They have a daughter, according to the church’s Web site.

Hovis has been active in Baptist life in North Carolina, serving on various boards and committees of the Baptist state convention, including Campbell University, Gardner-Webb University, the Center for Congregational Health and The Biblical Recorder.

According to its Web site, The Memorial Baptist Church is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina and the South Roanoke Baptist Association. It is aligned with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship through the Cooperative Program giving options outlined by the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.

Bob Allen is managing editor of EthicsDaily.com.

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