SBC of Virginia church plant pastor tapped as new executive director
The Executive Board of the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia (SBC of Virginia) unanimously voted Dr. Brian Autry, pastor of Parkway Baptist Church in Moseley, Va., the convention’s new executive director. Autry’s new role will take effect May 16.
“The vote was overwhelmingly in favor of Brian Autry,” said Dr. Doyle Chauncey, SBC of Virginia’s treasurer and interim executive director. “It’s a great day. I’ve been with SBC of Virginia a long time, and I’m probably more excited now than ever before. He’s going to be a great leader.”
SBC of Virginia’s former executive director, Dr. Jeff Ginn, left his post at the organization as of Aug. 1, 2011 to become the pastor of Istrouma Baptist Church in Baton Rouge, La., where he continues to serve. Chauncey, the convention’s founding executive director, was named interim executive director until a replacement for Ginn could be found.
Ginn praised the board’s decision, saying, “[Autry] is wonderfully suited to this new, vital role. He is teachable, experienced, proven, fruitful, visionary, and creative. Add him to the mix of the SBCV’s current staff and unique vision and it is a winning combination! I rejoice to hear the good news and back it 100%!”
Members of the SBC of Virginia Executive Board say they knew how important it was to select God’s person for this position, so a search committee was immediately formed upon Ginn’s resignation.
The committee considered multiple candidates from across the nation, but in the end, explained Burris, the committee unanimously voted to present Autry to the Executive Board.
“Brian did not seek the position, but we sought him. He had been recommended to us by several people,” Burris said. “The more we began to talk with him, the more impressed we were of the passion that he had for the SBC of Virginia.”
The heart, passion, zeal and love for the Lord that made Autry so attractive to the search committee are also key factors in knowing they picked the correct candidate for the job.
“We’ve got somebody with experience with Virginia—somebody with experience with the SBC of Virginia,” said SBC of Virginia president, Dr. Randy Hahn.
In his presentation to the Executive Board on Tuesday morning following the vote, Autry shared 2 Thessalonians 3:1-5, citing the Scripture as his challenge for the convention and himself in this new role.
Although Chauncey will no longer serve as executive director for the SBC of Virginia, he is, in his words, “pleasantly thrilled to pass the mantle and to become a member of the team again.”
“I’m excited about the choice of Brian Autry as executive director,” Chauncey said. He’s going to bring a different dimension to our convention. Our church planters are going to be extremely excited about a church planter who has been very successful.”
“I think it’s an exciting new beginning for the SBC of Virginia,” he said. “We’ve had several new beginnings, and every new beginning turns out to be something that God’s up to, and we later find out what it’s all about.”
During his presentation to the Executive Board, Burris noted some goals that Autry had for the SBC of Virginia.
“He wants to plant strong churches that stay strong,” Burris said. “He wants the SBC of Virginia to mentor and encourage courageous leaders; to lead the Southern Baptist Convention in planting ethnically diverse congregations; to advance Christ’s mission—the Great Commission—by mobilizing followers of Jesus; to see our members become our missionaries.”
Autry, 41, shared that he is optimistic about the opportunity to work with the SBC of Virginia to serve the churches in such a role.
“I look forward to seeing how God is going to continue to use the SBC of Virginia as a marvelous coalition of churches of great Kingdom impact and advance the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” he said.
The search committee saw that Autry’s experiences have prepared him for the position.
He has been a part of the SBC of Virginia for more than 16 years in one way or another. He began working for the SBC of Virginia in 2000 as the student evangelism director. In 2002, he left his state convention role to plant a church. The church, Parkway Baptist, recently celebrated its 10th anniversary.
“We have an average of 900 people in attendance each weekend and a little more than 1,000 members,” said Parkway’s pastor of worship and missions, Derek Futrell.
In addition to his work with SBC of Virginia, Autry was a missionary with the North American Mission Board (NAMB) from 2000-2005. His work in ministry reaches farther back than that, though. He worked as the associate pastor of students and education at Kempsville Baptist Church in Virginia Beach, Va. from 1996-2000.
Autry graduated from James Madison University in 1992 with a Bachelor of Science in both psychology and political science. He earned his Master of Divinity from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1996. In 2002, he received his doctorate from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary with a focus in evangelism, church growth, and church consulting.
Autry and his wife Jennifer have three children: Melissa, Mark, and Jenna.
For more information about Autry and Parkway Baptist Church, visit www.parkwayfamily.org.941