In a called meeting of the Ohio Mission Council, Ohio Baptists called Dr. Jeremy Westbrook to serve as the new Executive Director-Treasurer of the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio. Briggs Road Baptist Church in Columbus hosted the meeting. Westbrook will begin his new role on August 1, 2021.
The Executive Director Search Committee was named at the November 16, 2020, Annual Celebration following the July announcement of the retirement of Dr. Jack Kwok, effective December 1, 2020. Pastor Reginald Hayes, Sr., of United Faith International Church, Columbus, served as chairman of the Search Committee and is current president of the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio. Dr. Bruce Smith, who has served as the Associate Executive Director for the state convention since 2004, currently serves as the Interim Executive Director.
When the search committee was named, the 2020 state president Dr. Ryan Strother worked with the vice-presidents and intentionally included several members of the Ohio Future Team to be part of the eleven-member search committee. Leadership desired continuity in the selection of someone who could effectively lead Ohio Baptists in the new mission focus of Amplifying leaders to accelerative Gospel impact. Jeremy Westbrook’s vision of every church establishing a multiplication pipeline for the purpose of discovering and developing leaders for the next generation complements that focus.
Pastor Reggie Hayes said, “The State Convention of Baptists in Ohio was intentional to quickly have an Executive Director whose immediate and primary responsibility is to work alongside the Ohio Future Team to create the structure for Ohio’s vision for amplifying leaders to accelerate Gospel impact and then effectively lead toward those goals. Dr. Westbrook will accomplish this in Ohio.”
When asked why he wanted to come back to Ohio, Westbrook replied, “I believe we have the greatest pastors, the greatest leaders, and the greatest opportunity to advance the Kingdom in the state of Ohio.” He went on to say, “Ohio matters more than just every four years in the Presidential election; it matters in the advancement of the Kingdom.”
Dr. Westbrook came to Ohio from Memphis, TN, in 2008 to plant Living Hope Church in Marysville, Ohio, where he continued as lead pastor through 2016. During that time, Living Hope Church baptized more than 200 individuals, and the church developed and implemented a pastoral pipeline, with Living Hope Columbus being launched in the spring of 2017. In 2017, Westbrook went to serve as the Senior Associate Pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, Clearwater, Florida. As part of that church’s global vision to start and strengthen 150 churches, in 2018 he began a joint position as Lead Missional Strategist of the Suncoast Baptist Association. In that joint leadership role, Jeremy Westbrook has been helping mobilize Suncoast churches for church planting and revitalization.
Westbrook said, “I long to see the day where all of our churches in the Ohio convention and throughout the Midwest are filled with multiplication pipelines. Every church, no matter the size, can develop and implement a pipeline to raise up and release leaders for the next generation of Gospel impact. I believe Ohio has the Kingdom potential to be the epicenter of a movement of pipelines to call out the called for the Gospel of Christ.”
Jeremy Westbrook and his wife Jennifer are excited to move back to Ohio where two of their three children were born.
Other actions of the Mission Council included acceptance of the recommendation of the Finance Committee on the salary and benefits package for the Executive Director position and a concurrence with the recommendation that the new Executive Director work with the Denominee Future Team in establishing direction for the future.