June 19, 2002
BRANSON — The Southern Baptist Convention’s newly elected registration secretary said he wants to conduct the office with integrity and intends to make every Southern Baptist feel important.
"I just want to conduct the office with integrity and a Christ-like attitude toward all Southern Baptists," said Jim Wells, director of missions for the Tri County Baptist Association, who defeated incumbent Lee Porter for the office. "It’s my goal to make every messenger feel that they are important and part of the process of Southern Baptist life."
Wells said he was "shocked" and "humbled" when he heard he had defeated Porter with 60 percent of the vote. Porter had been re-elected to 25 consecutive one-year terms to the office.
In nominating Wells, Ronnie Floyd, pastor of Springdale Baptist Church in northwest Arkansas, praised Porter for his service and described him as one who has done an "extraordinary job," but said it is time to move on and "share" the leadership of this "very strategic position."
"Please know this is not a vote against the past, but about sharing the leadership for the future of the SBC," Floyd said.
Referring to Wells’ leadership on the SBC Executive Committee from 1991 until 2001, Floyd credited him with "knowing the inner working of the SBC from the local church all the way to Nashville.
"He’s one of us," Floyd continued. "It’s time new life and new energy and a new vision are brought to this position."
Wells earned an associate degree from Hannibal-LaGrange College before graduating with a bachelor of art degree from Central Missouri State University in 1971. He earned a master of divinity degree from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1978 and was awarded an honorary doctorate from Hannibal-LaGrange in 1999.
Wells has pastored eight Missouri churches during his ministry, most recently serving 16 years as pastor of Oakwood Baptist Church in Kansas City. He has also served as a trustee for Hannibal-LaGrange from 1991 until 2001.