CHARLOTTE, N.C. (BP) — Dave Russell, pastor of Oakhurst Baptist Church in Charlotte, N.C., has announced his intention to nominate Garrett Kell, pastor of Del Ray Baptist Church in Alexandria, Va., for president of the 2021 Southern Baptist Convention Pastors’ Conference. The 2021 Pastors’ Conference will be held in Nashville, Tenn., in conjunction with the 2021 SBC Annual Meeting. The presidential election will take place at the 2020 Pastors’ Conference in June in Orlando, Fla.
Kell has served as the pastor of Del Ray Baptist Church for the past seven and a half years.
Before his time there he served as the evangelism pastor at Denton Bible Church in Denton, Texas, and previously helped to plant a church in Graham, Texas, where he pastored for seven and a half years.
Kell also served as a pastoral intern at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., and was on the pastoral staff there for a year.
Kell received a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Virginia Tech University and Master of Theology degree from Dallas Theological Seminary.
Russell said Kell’s experience in multiple church settings has prepared him to lead the conference.
“Garrett knows the challenges of church planting,” Russell said. “He also has led a fruitful effort in church revitalization.”
Del Ray Baptist Church was close to shutting its doors before Kell entered as the pastor, Russell said.
“The Lord has used Garrett to lead DRBC from being near empty, to near full each Sunday,” Russell said. “These experiences as a pastor help Garrett identify with the challenges that many pastors in the SBC are facing.”
Kell said he knows the loneliness being a pastor can bring, but he also knows the life-giving nature fellowship with other pastors can bring.
“I love pastors,” Kell said. “I’m a pastor at heart and I know pastoring can be tiring, it can be discouraging, it can be joyful and sometimes it’s all of that at the same time. The thing that makes me most interested in serving in this capacity if the Lord would have it, would be to try to put together a couple days where brothers and their wives could come and be fed by the Word, be refreshed by a big view of Jesus and be encouraged in all the ways they need to be.”
Russell said he finds great wisdom and encouragement from Kell when going through hardship in ministry.
“I am confident that Garrett will lead a conference that will provide pastors with the opportunity to sit and be encouraged from God’s Word,” Russell said.
Kell said ultimately, he seeks to bring individuals to see God’s Word and Jesus’ glory clearly in order to follow Him (God).
“We want to create a church culture where the normal thing is that we are encouraging each other with the Word and we are helping each other to be equipped to reach the lost in our community and to the end of the earth,” Kell said. “We want to have a sober joy to our ministry. Sober in the sense that we serve a holy, glorious God, and joy because serving Him is wonderful and there’s no greater thing.”
The SBC is currently facing a crossroads, Kell said.
“There are lots of things pressing on us from lots of different angles,” Kell said. “Lots of theological issues, there’s social issues, political issues — lots of things pressing right now — my hope is that I can, in some small way, help us as SBC churches focus on what we’re about.”
There are many things the SBC could be about, but one thing it should be about, Kell explained.
“That is Christ being glorified in our own hearts, our own churches, and among the nations and if I had the opportunity to serve, I would want to help set the tone in the SBC for what that can look like,” Kell said. “I don’t think I’ll do that perfectly, I’m not a perfect guy, but we have a perfect Savior and we want to lean upon Him for grace in doing that.”
According to the 2019 Associated Church Profile, the church had undesignated receipts of $954,000 but no Cooperative Program giving. The entry lists $2,000 in Great Commission giving, which is money forwarded to SBC-related causes other than CP. The church also reported membership of 328 and average worship attendance of 350 in 2019.
Kell also serves on the council of The Gospel Coalition, recently served on the leadership council of the SBC’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and is a member of the Columbia Baptist Ministers Association.