SBC's Atlanta-based home missions board president to serve as interim pastor in Tennessee

by Vanessa Garcia Rodriguez |

HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn. (Christian Examiner) -- Almost one month after the passing of beloved Pastor David Landrith, Long Hollow Baptist Church in Hendersonville, Tennessee, has announced that the Southern Baptist Convention's North American Mission Board President Kevin Ezell will serve as interim pastor while the congregation searches for a full-time pastor.

A statement on the Long Hollow website shares that in this interim role, Ezell will preach during weekend worship services and encourage the church and staff during the coming months while a committee meets to find a new leader.

"Kevin is a great friend of Long Hollow who has already spoken to our church and staff several times in recent years," the statement read. "He was a trusted friend to Pastor David, and his willingness and availability to lead us during this unique season is a tremendous answer to prayer."

Landrith passed away Nov. 18 after a 20-month battle with a rare and aggressive form of cancer. He served as lead pastor of Long Hollow for 17 years, growing the congregation from about 300 members to roughly 7,500 worshipers on five-Nashville area campuses.

Long Hollow's staff will continue to direct day-to-day responsibilities of the church and Ezell will primarily fill the gap of teaching and preaching from the pulpit.

"We will continue to invite guest speakers and other staff pastors to preach on occasion, but we will largely rely on the interim pastor's preaching during this period in order to provide consistent teaching and leadership from the platform."

Ezell also will "shepherd" the church through the process of receiving a new leader and act as a dedicated "prayer warrior and champion" during the season ahead.

As president of NAMB, Ezell provides strategic vision, direction, and leadership to reach the spiritually lost in the United States and its territories, and Canada, through evangelism and church planting efforts.

Prior to becoming the president of NAMB in 2010, Ezell served as pastor of Highview Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky for 14 years.