Ocala layman to be nominated for FBSC president
Aug 28, 2014
By CAROLYN NICHOLS
Florida Baptist Witness

OCALA (FBW)—Jack Roland, an Ocala layman, will be nominated as president of the Florida Baptist State Convention during its November annual meeting in Lakeland. If elected, he will be only the fifth layman to serve as Convention president since 1950.

According to biographical information sent to the Florida Baptist Witness, Roland is a native of Dunnellon and has lived in Ocala since 1974. He is a funeral director with Hiers-Baxley Funeral Home and a member of First Baptist Church in Ocala, where he has served three terms as deacon chairman. Roland holds degrees from Gupton Jones College of Mortuary Science, Central Florida Community College and the University of Central Florida.
 
He and Carol, his wife of 42 years, have two sons and two grandchildren.
 
Jack Roland has experience serving in Florida Baptist State Convention leadership. He is currently serving a second three-year term on the State Board of Missions and is the Convention’s first vice president. FLBaptist photo
Roland is no stranger to Florida Baptist State Convention service. He is currently serving a second three-year term on the State Board of Missions, where he serves as chairman of the Audit Subcommittee. He previously served on the Budget-Allocations Committee.
 
The Florida Baptist State Convention has elected the Ocala businessman twice as second vice president, and twice as first vice president, a position he currently holds.
 
Roland’s experience with Convention budgets is the foundation of his concern with the future of Cooperative Program funding in the state. He told the Witness he is “not an advocate of the 50/50 split” of CP monies between the Florida Baptist Convention and Southern Baptist Convention causes. In 2010, the Florida Baptist State Convention voted, after much debate, to change the ratio from 60/40, with 60 percent remaining in the state, to 50/50 after a report from the Imagine If Great Commission Resurgence Task Force, which was created in 2009.
 
“The task force’s convictions are not mine. I am 100 percent in favor of missions, but churches should not stop giving to CP while they support other missions efforts,” he said. “I am concerned with the direction the Convention is going financially. We may be looking at severe problems in the future.”
 
Roland said he is concerned about employees of the Convention “who deserve to be compensated” and the continuation of funding for Convention agencies such as The Baptist College of Florida and Florida Baptist Children’s Homes.
 
Roland said an even greater concern is “getting laypeople out of the pews and onto our feet.”
 
“As a layman, I was hesitant for a long time to get involved with the Convention. I thought pastors ran it. But laypeople are a million strong and we have to get more involved. We all have to get up and do something because it takes more than ministers to do the work,” he said. “The Florida Baptist State Convention is an organization, not a church. I am in no way qualified to lead a church, but I feel that I can be a motivator to laypeople throughout the Convention.” 
 
Roland said he is aware of the “tremendous responsibility” of serving as Convention president, but he is “more concerned with the prodding I have felt for several years.” He cited Thomas Jefferson’s quote, “All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.”
 
“If God wants to use me, I don’t want to be silent,” he said.
 
Phillip Hanes, minister for biblical guidance at Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz and former associate pastor of First Baptist Church in Ocala, will nominate Roland before Convention delegates in Lakeland on Nov. 11. A friend for 25 years, Hanes said Roland “truly wants to honor the Lord by being considered for continued service in our Convention.
 
“It is unique for a layman to serve in this capacity, but Jack has a deep love for Florida Baptists and a desire to motivate other laymen to be fully engaged in the work of our denomination in our state and beyond,” Hanes said.

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