CORDOVA, Tenn. — Former Southern Baptist Convention president and Tennessee Baptist pastor Steve Gaines announced to his congregation at Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova on Sunday that he has been diagnosed with kidney cancer.
Gaines has served as pastor of the Memphis-area church since 2005.
Gaines said that he has “a great team of doctors in Memphis who are treating me.” He added that he plans to go to M.D. Anderson in Houston to consult with their physicians.
He asked Tennessee Baptists to keep him and his family in their prayers.
Bellevue Baptist Church is one of the largest congregations in both the Southern Baptist Convention and the Tennessee Baptist Convention.
“I speak for our entire Tennessee network of churches when I say that we are praying for our friends, Steve and Donna, their children and grandchildren, and the Bellevue family,” said Randy C. Davis, president and executive director of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board.
“Dr. Gaines has been a tremendous personal encourager, prayer partner and friend to me,” he continued.
“He has been one of the greatest leaders of my generation for the Southern Baptist Convention and is one of the convention’s most respected voices. Steve is a winner and Donna is a gracious and strong Christ-follower. I have full confidence that by the Lord’s grace, he will beat this cancer.”
In addition to Bellevue, Gaines served as pastor of West Jackson Baptist Church, Jackson, (1988-91) and youth minister at First Baptist Church, Milan (1978-80). He also has served as pastor of churches in Alabama and Texas.
Gaines, a graduate of Union University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Baptist Seminary, served as chair of the SBC Resolutions Committee in 2015 and two terms as SBC president, 2016-18.
He also is a former president of the Tennessee Baptist Pastors Conference (2015) and a trustee of Union University and has spoken at several state convention events. His wife, Donna, currently serves as a director of the TBMB.
“Pray for their journey battling cancer. Pray for wisdom as he shepherds Bellevue while caring for himself,” Davis said.