Clayton Cloer to be nominated for FBSC president
Second announced candidate to lead Florida Baptists
Sep 18, 2012

Editor's note: On Sept. 24, the story was updated to reflect corrected data from First Baptist Church of Central Florida concerning its giving to the Greater Orlando Baptist Association. On Sept. 26, the church contacted the Witness with further corrections to Cooperative Program, Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, GOBA, and total missions giving. The original report relied upon data from the 2011 Annual Church Profile, as filed by the church.

CLEARWATER (FBW) – Orlando pastor Clayton Cloer will be nominated as president of the Florida Baptist State Convention in November, according to Clearwater pastor Willy Rice, who will nominate him.

“I don’t know of another pastor who has volunteered more time or been more effective at mobilizing Baptists across this state for cooperative missional efforts,” Rice said of Cloer, pastor of First Baptist Church of Central Florida in Orlando, in a news release submitted to Florida Baptist Witness Sept. 18. 

Rice, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Clearwater and a former FBSC president, said Cloer is “uniquely gifted and positioned to lead Florida Baptists during this time. Clayton has served in numerous roles in our convention and has always exemplified great leadership, strong convictions and a cooperative spirit.” 

Cloer has served as president of the Florida Baptist Pastors’ Conference, chairman and vice chairman of the FBSC Committee on Nominations, and chaired the State Board of Missions workgroup that brought recommendations to implement the Imagine If Great Commission Resurgence Task Force report concerning spiritual renewal, Rice noted. Cloer’s workgroup developed the “ReVision Florida” campaign that resulted in meetings in various locations across Florida and via telephone, beginning in the fall of 2011.

Rice praised Cloer as the “point person to galvanize pastors and Baptists across our state to pass the crucial marriage amendment to the state constitution.” Voters approved the Florida Marriage Protection Amendment in 2008 with more than 60 percent support.

“He has a proven track record of leadership, not only in our cooperative work together, but also in his outstanding work as pastor at the First Baptist Church of Central Florida,” Rice said. 

“Clayton led a church that had been largely disengaged from SBC life for 20 years to renew its commitment to the cooperative mission work of Florida Baptists and Southern Baptists. During his tenure the church has consistently increased its commitment to giving through the Cooperative Program, an increase of 375 percent in eight years,” he said.

“If chosen to serve, Clayton looks forward to continuing to encourage the revision work of the Florida Baptist Convention as it progresses toward an even greater Great Commission impact,” Rice said.

Rice said Cloer agreed to be nominated after the “encouragement of numerous friends and a time of seeking the Lord’s guidance and in consultation with leaders in his church.” Cloer has a “peace about … being nominated and a willingness to serve Florida Baptists in this vital role if he is elected,” Rice said. 

In 2003, Cloer became pastor of First Baptist Central Florida. Previously, Cloer served as pastor in Mississippi and executive pastor in Tennessee. He grew up in South Carolina and received an undergraduate degree from Clemson University. He earned both a master of divinity and doctor of philosophy degree, with an emphasis in missiology, from Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in Memphis, Tenn. He and his wife, Linda, have two sons.

According to information supplied by the church after some data from the 2011 Annual Church Profile was found to be in error, First Baptist Church of Central Florida lists 151 baptisms and primary worship service attendance of 1,353, with total resident membership of 2,187. The church gave $90,874.98, or 4.06 percent, through the Cooperative Program from total undesignated receipts of $2,236,687. The church also received $37,833 for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions and $144 for the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions. The congregation gave $21,375 to the Greater Orlando Baptist Association and $29 to the Maguire State Missions Offering, with total missions giving in 2011 of $431,202.

In July, Bartow layman Marvin Pittman announced he intends to nominate Jacksonville pastor Tim Maynard for FBSC president. The last contested FBSC presidential election was in 2008 when North Port pastor John Cross defeated Fort Myers pastor Richard Powell by 12 votes.

The FBSC will meet Nov. 12-13 at First Baptist Church in Orlando. Current FBSC President David Uth, pastor of First Baptist Orlando, is completing a second, one-year term and is ineligible for reelection.  

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