By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer
COVINGTON – Jay Johnston will be nominated for the office of first vice president of the Louisiana Baptist Convention during the 2017 LBC Annual Meeting.
Tom Harrison, executive pastor of Broadmoor Baptist Church in Shreveport, plans to nominate Johnston for the position.
Johnston, who is associate pastor of First Baptist Church in Covington, is the only announced candidate for the office.
“He has been a convention leader who has effectively served Louisiana Baptists and Southern Baptists,” Harrison said in an e-mail to the Baptist Message. “He is a man of prayer, recently serving as chairman of the Louisiana Governor Prayer Breakfast and as the volunteer state coordinator for the National Day of Prayer.
“Jay is a man of integrity, a leader, caring minister, master of resources and an outstanding Christian man,” Harrison wrote.
Johnston said, if elected, he would work with LBC leaders to advance Louisiana Baptists’ campaign to “pray for every home and share Christ with every person” in the state.
“I am grateful for the vision of current LBC leaders related to the Harvest emphasis,” Johnston said. “The emphasis reveals the heart our leaders have for people without Jesus Christ.
“The time is now for those who know Jesus to share the Good News, disciple and multiply so more will come to know Christ,” he continued. “We have been commanded to love God and others and I believe we can carry out this command but carrying out the Great Commission.”
Since Johnston became associate pastor of First Baptist Church in Covington in January 2009, average Sunday school attendance has increased from 1,167 to 1,363, according to Annual Church Profile statistics. The number of people enrolled in discipleship training also has risen, 610 to 1,347.
The church averages 1,955 in worship attendance each Sunday (an increase of 240 during his tenure) and from 2009 to 2016, the church baptized 983 people, reaching at least 100 baptisms annually.
According to ACP data, last year Johnston’s church contributed 5.2 percent of undesignated receipts through the Cooperative Program, Southern Baptists’ primary channel of giving by which local churches support cooperative ministries in the state, across the nation and globally.
The church’s financial records show the congregation gave another 15 percent of its funds directly to mission causes such as the New Orleans Mission, Samaritan’s Center in Mandeville, Northshore Crisis Pregnancy Center, Louisiana Baptist Children’s Home, Louisiana College, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Disaster Relief, international missions and World Changers.
Johnston’s bio show he is heavily involved with various prayer ministries both at First Baptist Church in Covington and throughout the state; and documents his lifelong commitment to serving Christ:
— He provides leadership to his church’s prayer and recovery ministry, helping other churches launch such ministries as well.
— Away from his congregation, Johnston serves as volunteer state coordinator for the National Day of Prayer and is a past chairman of the Louisiana Governor’s Annual Prayer Breakfast.
— A native of New Orleans, Johnston earned a bachelor’s degree from Louisiana College in Pineville, the Master of Divinity degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and the Doctor of Ministry degree from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary in Lynchburg, Va.
— Baptized when he was seven at First Baptist Church in Kenner, he was called to full-time Gospel ministry, and subsequently licensed by Parkview Baptist Church in Alexandria, while a student at Louisiana College. Before coming to First Baptist Church in Covington, Johnston was on staff at LifeWay Christian Resources as director of evangelism and discipleship. He also has served on staff at churches in Florida, Louisiana and Tennessee and authored two books as well as more than 100 articles.
Johnston and his wife, Jerilyn, have two sons, Grady and Jody, and two grandsons.