J.D. “Sonny” Tucker was elected executive director of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) at the December 4 meeting of the Convention's Executive Board. He officially begins his duties January 1.

Tucker will replace Emil Turner, who announced August 2 his intention to retire in 2013. Tucker has served as team leader of the ABSC evangelism and church growth team since 1997. Turner has served as executive director since 1996.

All of Tucker's pastoral experience has been in Arkansas churches. Prior to joining the ABSC staff, he was pastor of Second Baptist Church, Monticello, from 1994 to 1997.

His other pastorates were at West Helena Baptist Church, West Helena, 1991-94; Fair Oaks Baptist Church, Fair Oaks, 1988-91, and Shady Grove Baptist Church, Sparkman, 1981-88. He was youth director at Antioch Baptist Church in Hot Springs from 1980 to 1981.

Tucker completed a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in 1998. His major field of study was missiology with a focus on evangelism and church growth.

Tucker also received a Master of Divinity degree from Mid-America in 1992. He completed undergraduate degrees in pastoral ministries and speech and communications from Ouachita Baptist University in 1983.

He and his wife, Nicki, are members of First Baptist Church, Benton.

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