Morris H. Chapman
President and CEO, 1992-2010
Morris H. Chapman’s leadership as president and CEO of the SBC Executive Committee was a natural extension of numerous leadership roles in local church and denominational life. Chapman played a pivotal and strategic role in the continuation of the initiative to return Southern Baptist entities to their historic conservative stance regarding God’s Word.
Over a span of twenty-five years, Chapman was pastor of four churches in Texas and New Mexico, leading them to be in the top tier in their respective state conventions in baptisms and Cooperative Program giving. He served as chairman of the SBC Committee on Order of Business, preached the Convention Sermon in 1989, and preached in three SBC Pastors’ Conferences, serving one term as its president. At the state level, he served in various appointed and elected positions in three Baptist state conventions: the Baptist General Convention of Texas, the New Mexico Baptist Convention, and the Tennessee Baptist Convention. He also served two terms as SBC president.
A native of Kosciusko, Mississippi, Chapman was converted to faith in Jesus Christ in the pastor’s office at First Baptist Church of Laurel, Mississippi. Chapman graduated from Mississippi College and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he received his master of divinity and doctor of ministry degrees. He was later awarded honorary degrees from Southwest Baptist University, Mississippi College, and Grand Canyon University and was the recipient of the M. E. Dodd Denominational Service Award from Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. He is the author of four books, providing valuable Bible studies and addressing crucial issues among Southern Baptists.
Shortly after his election as president of the Convention in 1990, Chapman participated in two evangelistic harvest opportunities, one in Kenya, the other in Korea. He said, “These two experiences left me exhilarated and hopeful for America.” Greatly moved by these experiences, he returned to America determined to call Southern Baptists to a spiritual awakening, asking the Home Mission Board to sponsor “Crossover Atlanta,” an evangelism initiative preceding the annual meeting.
Chapman’s fervor for missions took him to forty-two countries around the world where he led evangelistic services and conferences and ministered with missionaries and nationals. He and his wife Jodi established a Christian home in which they raised two children, Chris and Stephanie.
- Chapman led the EC to call the Convention to adopt the Covenant for a New Century in 1997, restructuring the Convention to become “more efficient and effective” for the twenty-first century.
- Chapman routinely challenged Southern Baptists to a passionate commitment to prayer for revival in our nation. When he launched SBC.net, he set up a corollary website dedicated to facilitating prayer.
- At Chapman’s initiative, the SBC embraced Empowering Kingdom Growth (EKG), a call for Southern Baptist churches and members unreservedly and wholeheartedly to pursue the Kingdom of God above all else.
- Seeking to secure the Convention’s future ownership and authority over its entities, Chapman led the EC and each SBC entity to designate the SBC as the “sole member” in their corporate documents.
- After the SBC voted to withdraw from the Baptist World Alliance, Chapman led the Executive Committee to establish the Global Evangelical Relations initiative, seeking to build and maintain relationships with likeminded Baptists and other evangelicals around the world.