Pelham Baptist’s Mike Shaw elected president of state Baptist Convention

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

The pastor of the First Baptist Church of Pelham said he will continue the Alabama Baptist Convention’s church support and national and international mission work after he was elected president of the statewide organization Nov. 17.

Dr. Mike Shaw, who has been pastor of the Pelham church since May 1979, took the helm of one of the largest religious organizations during the convention’s annual meeting at Hunter Street Baptist Church in Hoover.

“It’s a very humbling experience, and I am grateful for the opportunity to serve,” Shaw said. “It wasn’t something I was necessarily seeking, but it is a great chance to serve.

“It won’t affect my ministry at Pelham,” he added. “I appreciate their confidence in me very much.”

Shaw said many people envision Baptist churches in Alabama to be large structures with hundreds or thousands of members, but many of the state’s smaller Baptist institutions are struggling to get by.

“I want to reach out to the churches that are struggling and help them any way we can,” he said. “Most people think of Baptist churches as being huge and having a lot of members, but the average Baptist church in Alabama has less than 100 members.

“I want to draw everyone around the table so we can help the churches that are struggling,” Shaw added.

The Baptist Convention has ongoing mission projects in Haiti, Guatemala and other areas of the world ravaged by poverty and natural disasters, and Shaw said he will continue those efforts.

“Right now, the conference has several ongoing outreach programs, and we want to continue to work on those diligently,” Shaw said. “We have partnerships with the Baptists in Florida and Michigan, and we’ll be working on projects with them.

“We can do a whole lot more together than we can apart, as far as mission work goes,” he added.

One of the convention’s major focuses is on preparing to help those in Alabama facing hardships and areas affected by disasters. Last year, the convention was one of the first organizations to send volunteers to help those affected by the Walker County tornadoes.

“We actually had people there in Walker County before the Red Cross,” Shaw said. “A lot of our members are retired, so they are ready to go help on a moment’s notice.

“Of course, we work closely with the Red Cross. We aren’t in competition with them in any way,” Shaw added.

Shaw’s primary mission will be to help and spread the gospel to everyone in Alabama, regardless of their denomination or religious views.

“I serve not only the Baptists in Alabama. I serve all Alabamians,” he said. “The gospel applies to all people.”