New officers elected for 2020-2021 at 135th Annual Meeting


Three new convention officers were elected during the Monday, Nov. 16 Business Session of the 135th Annual Meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, which was held virtually over a Zoom Webinar with 664 registered messengers in attendance. 

Jason Burden, pastor of First Baptist Church in Nederland and current first vice president, was elected as President; Julio Guarneri, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in McAllen, was elected as First Vice President; and Jordan Villanueva, pastor of Indian Hills Baptist Church in Grand Prairie, was elected as Second Vice President. Burden and Guarneri both ran unopposed and were elected unanimously. Villanueva ran against Nebiye Kelile, pastor of Pathway Church in Dallas, for the position of Second Vice President. Messengers voted 376 to 200 in favor of Villanueva. 

Burden was nominated by Adam Pardue, pastor of Highland Baptist Church in Lubbock.

“Dr. Burden fits well the description of a Christian leader … Jason loves Jesus, and he’s a walking example of how to live that out in both his personal and private life,” Pardue said

Guarneri was nominated by Albert Reyes, president and chief executive officer of Buckner International. In his nomination, Reyes spoke of Guarneri’s widespread and diverse work in the convention.

“Julio brings a unique perspective that I believe Texas Baptists needs now due to the changing demographics,” Reyes said. “He’s a preacher-pastor, leader and statesmen for such times as this.”

Villanueva was nominated by Dennis Wiles, pastor of First Baptist Church of Arlington. 

“He’s a fine preacher, he’s a dedicated and sincere man of God, and he loves Texas Baptists and the Lord,” Wiles said of Villanueva. “He represents the best and brightest of our future.” 

Bernie Spooner was nominated Secretary of the Corporation by Chris Liebrum, former Cooperative Program director for Texas Baptists, and was elected by acclamation. David Cozart, executive pastor of Meadowbrook Baptist Church in Robinson, was elected Registration Secretary following a nomination by current Registration Secretary Doug Powell.  

Outgoing President Michael Evans, Sr. praised the new officers, saying that he was excited to see how the Lord would use them. He thanked the convention for allowing him to serve as president for the past two years.

“I thank God for this opportunity to serve and I thank God for you, my Texas Baptists family, each and every one,” Evans said.

At the conclusion of the Business Session, Executive Director David Hardage recognized the 2019-2020 officers Evans, Burden and Second Vice President Jason Atchley and thanked them for their service. 

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