|Former President of the Southern Baptist Convention|
|Church||Franklin Avenue Baptist Church|
|Installed||June 19, 2012|
|Term ended||June 11, 2014|
November 11, 1956|
New Orleans, Louisiana
|Residence||New Orleans, Louisiana|
|Spouse||Elizabeth W. Luter|
Kimberly Ann "Kim" Luter |
Fred J. Luter III
Fred J. Luter Jr. (born 1956 November 11 in New Orleans) is a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). He was elected on 2012 June 19, and he is SBC's first African-American president. According to Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary president Daniel L. Akin, ". . . the most significant event to happen in our [SBC's] history since our formation" is Luter's election.
On June 20, the day after electing Luter, SBC voted to permit use of the designation "Great Commission" as an alternative to "Southern" for congregations desiring a break from the geographical and historical eponym. Nominated by David Crosby of New Orleans' First Baptist Church, Luter succeeded Bryant Wright of Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in Marietta, Georgia.
Luter cited "to improve racial harmony" as his goal on his reelection to the second (and final) year of SBC presidency.
On June 11, 2014, Dr. Ronnie Floyd of Cross Church in Arkansas succeeded Rev. Luter as SBC president.
Franklin Avenue Baptist Church
Luter is senior minister of the Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans. He has been with the congregation since 1986, when it had 65 members. Before Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, the congregation had grown to over 7000 members, making it the largest congregation affiliated with SBC in Louisiana. Luter led the rebuilding of the membership after the diaspora from Katrina, and as of his election to the Southern Baptist presidency the congregation had 5000 members. Luter's strategy for congregational growth is rooted in his concept "FRANgelism"—the acronym "FRAN" standing for friends, relatives, associates, and neighbors in acts of networking people into the life of the congregation.
Luter had begun his ministry in 1977 in New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward after he suffered a motorcycle accident. He has credited his motorcycling misadventure as his "road to Damascus moment"—his analogy to the conversion of Saul of Tarsus. He began as a street preacher at the corner of Caffin and Galvez. During his streetpreaching days Luter observed a need to draw men, particularly fathers, into his evangelistic appeal by urging events which attract male interest, on one occasion, in 1981, hosting a gathering for a pay-per-view televised boxing match between Thomas Hearns and Sugar Ray Leonard. His first sermon in a churchbuilding was in 1983 at New Orleans' Law Street Missionary Baptist Church. He was a staff minister at the city's Greater Liberty Baptist Church when he learned of the opening at Franklin Avenue and sought the job.
Luter was the middle child of five siblings and, after his parents divorced, was largely brought up single-handedly by his seamstress mother Viola Luter. In 1980 Fred Luter married Elizabeth W. Luter. The couple has two children: daughter Kimberly Ann "Kim" Luter was born in 1982; son Fred J. "Chip" Luter III, born 1985, is a graduate of Dallas Baptist University and is also a Baptist minister. Elizabeth Luter (born 1956) is involved in LifeWay Women's Conferences.
- "Meet our pastor". FABC: Franklin Avenue Baptist Church. Retrieved 2012-06-20.
- Nolan, Bruce (June 17, 2012). "Spirit of change: An influential local preacher is set to become the first black leader of the Southern Baptist Convention". Times-Picayune (Metro Edition). pp. A1, A10. Retrieved 2012-06-18. Cf. Sherman, Dayne (June 24, 2012). "Southern Baptist Convention in black, white". Sunday Star. Hammond, Louisiana. pp. 4A, 5A. Retrieved 2012-06-24.
- Oller, Travis (June 13, 2012). "Rev. Fred Luter Jr. to be Southern Baptists first black president". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2012-06-18.
- Jervis, Rick; Grossman, Cathy Lynn (June 19, 2012). "Pastor to become first black leader of Southern Baptists". USA Today. Retrieved 2012-06-20. (Akin's seminary is the one in Wake Forest, North Carolina). Cf. Land, Richard (June 21, 2012). "Meaning of Fred Luter's presidency to Southern Baptists". Washington Post. Retrieved 2012-06-24.
- Davis, Jamie (June 22, 2012). "Historic moment: Local pastors attend SBC annual meeting". Daily Star. Hammond, Louisiana. pp. 1A, 2A. Retrieved 2012-06-22. The election of Luter and the decision to provide an alternative name were taken as signs that SBC desired to move away from a past associated with slavery and racial segregation. As stated by president Ed Stetzer of SBC's LifeWay Research: "Many Southern Baptists were on the wrong side of the hoses in Birmingham" "Southern Baptists face tough decisions". Lubbock Avalanche Journal. June 19, 2012. p. A1. Retrieved 2012-06-23.
- Jones, Jim (June 19, 2012). "Southern Baptists elect first African-American president". Star-Telegram. Fort Worth, Texas. Retrieved 2012-06-24.
- Kwon, Lillian (June 20, 2012). "Outgoing SBC Head Calls on Southern Baptists to Repent of Theological Idolatry". Christian Post (United States Edition). Retrieved 2012-06-20.
- Hunter, Mark H. (August 10, 2013). "Racial harmony punctuates plans of Southern Baptist Convention head". Advocate. Baton Rouge, Louisiana. p. 3D. Retrieved 2013-08-10.
- Eckholm, Erik (June 17, 2012). "Southern Baptists set for a notable first". New York Times. Retrieved 2012-06-18.
- DeBerry, Jarvis (June 19, 2012). "With Luter, Baptists show new side". Times-Picayune (Saint Tammany Edition). New Orleans. p. B5.
- Editorial Page Staff (June 21, 2012). "A Southern Baptist first". Times-Picayune (Metro Edition). p. B6. Retrieved 2012-06-21.
- Acts 9:1–18; Acts 22:3–16.
- Loller, Travis (June 16, 2012). "Southern Baptists set to elect first black president: Organization that formerly supported segregation makes way for diversity". Kansas City Star. Retrieved 2012-06-20. On the 1981 Leonard-Hearns boxing match, see Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Thomas Hearns.
- Hayes, Ashley (June 20, 2012). "New Southern Baptist leader: Former street preacher, Katrina survivor". CNN. Retrieved 2012-06-20.
- Peoplefinders information on Fred Luter, (accessed 2012-06-20). For photograph see Herbert, Gerald (June 20, 2012). "Elizabeth Luter, wife of Fred Luter". Knoxville News Sentinel. Retrieved 2012-06-20.
- Pope, John (June 20, 2012). "Southern Baptists elect denomination's first African-American leader". Times-Picayune (Saint Tammany Edition). pp. A1, A4. Retrieved 2012-06-20. Number of children appears on p. A4.
- Peoplefinders info on Kimberly Ann Luter (accessed 2012-06-25) locates her in Bessemer, Alabama as well as New Orleans.
- Hennessy-Fiske, Molly (June 1, 2012). "Black pastor reaches across the Southern Baptist divide". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-06-25.
- "Elizabeth Luter talks about Jonah at ministers' wives luncheon". Florida Baptist Witness. November 23, 2009. Retrieved 2012-06-20.
| President of the Southern Baptist Convention