A Georgia pastor named at a February Bible conference that has become the traditional forum for announcing the favored candidate for president of the Southern Baptist Convention told his church April 30 he has declined to be nominated.

“Thank you for praying for me,” Pastor Johnny Hunt said near the end of his Sunday morning sermon at First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Ga., archived on the church Web site. “A bunch of you, you know I declined to allow my name to be nominated as president of the Southern Baptist Convention.”

Hunt alluded to an earlier e-mail he distributed to individuals who are committed to praying for him.

“Do you know that I’ve already had dozens of you to write me and say, ‘Well, I can take that off my prayer list for a while?'” Hunt said. “Because you get an e-mail from me near the end of the month, getting ready for May, telling you where I am.

“People always say, ‘Is your schedule out there?’ Only if you’re praying for me.”

Hunt, 53, has been pastor of First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Ga., for 20 years. According to blog reports, former SBC president Jerry Vines announced that Hunt would be nominated in February at an annual Bible conference at First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla., the place where candidates backed by the “conservative resurgence” traditionally are introduced.

A spokesperson for Hunt told EthicsDaily.com at the time Hunt “has not decided” to allow his nomination.

Hunt, a popular speaker scheduled to be on the program at this year’s Pastors Conference just prior to the June 13-14 SBC annual meeting in Greensboro, N.C.

Bob Allen is managing editor of EthicsDaily.com.

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