Why I am Voting for David Allen for SBC President 

Lewis Richerson

David Allen Has the Heart of a Pastor, the Head of a Professor, and the Zeal of a Missionary

For 20 years now, I have had a front-row seat to observe the life and ministry of Dr. David Allen. His leadership as the Dean of the School of Theology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary started the same semester and year I started as an M.Div. student. Shortly after we both arrived in Fort Worth, I began working in his office. During this time, I was profoundly shaped as a pastor, theologian, and missionary under his leadership. As we approach a critical vote on the next president of the Southern Baptist Convention, I want you to know why I joyfully and eagerly support Dr. David Allen for this important position. 

Dr. Allen embodies the virtues and qualities that are pivotal for leading our Convention into a better and more biblical future, one grounded in unwavering convictions, strong faith, integrity, and evangelistic fervor. His journey through various roles in academia, pastoral ministry, and missionary work distinctly qualifies him for this role. The three main reasons why I support Dr. Allen—and why I think you should too—are his pastoral heart, his academic intellect, and his missionary zeal.

The Heart of a Pastor

Dr. Allen’s pastoral heart has been evident from the early beginnings of his ministry to his now extensive experience leading congregations. He came to Christ at the age of nine, in an SBC church in northwest Georgia, and felt the call to preach while still in high school under the ministry of Dr. Jerry Vines. His first church staff position was as the Minister of Students at the newly planted Prestonwood Baptist Church in Dallas, a role he embraced passionately and enthusiastically. His commitment to pastoral care was further demonstrated during his 16 years of service as Senior Pastor at Audelia Road Baptist Church in Dallas, where he nurtured that congregation into a vibrant community of believers. In addition, he served the MacArthur Boulevard Baptist Church in Irving, Texas, for five years before becoming the Dean of the School of Theology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Dr. Allen’s pastoral ministry is marked by a deep love for his congregation and a commitment to their spiritual growth. He has always prioritized the well-being of his church members, fostering an environment where faith can flourish. His leadership at Audelia Road Baptist Church led to significant church planting and mission work, impacting lives far beyond the local community. The success of these initiatives, including planting eight new churches in Mexico City as a result of one mission trip of thirty church members, underscores his pastoral dedication and ability to inspire and mobilize others in service to God’s kingdom.

His pastoral leadership has also been characterized by integrity and compassion. Given the current trajectory of our great denomination of churches, a return to integrity and compassion is greatly needed. As the Great Commission Resurgence Evaluation Task Force recently wrote, “We can identify current objective evidence of a clear erosion of ‘trust, transparency and truth’ from within our convention, which has ravaged our cooperative work over the intervening years.” I am convinced Dr. Allen’s pastoral leadership will bring a new commitment to transparency and honesty in the SBC.

The Intellect of an Academic

Dr. Allen’s academic achievements are both impressive and integral to his qualifications for the presidency. He is a distinguished scholar with a robust academic background, holding a Ph.D. in Humanities with a focus on Linguistics from the University of Texas at Arlington. His scholarly pursuits have significantly enriched his approach to preaching and teaching, allowing him to integrate complex linguistic principles into exegesis and expository preaching. This intellectual rigor is evident in his extensive body of work, including his commentary on Hebrews, his detailed analysis of the Lukan authorship of Hebrews, and his various writings on the atonement. Dr. Allen is one of the most voluminous authors among academicians in Southern Baptist life.

As an academic leader, Dr. Allen has served in numerous positions among Southern Baptists, including Dean of the School of Theology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and trustee member of the same institute of which he had the honor of serving as vice-chairman for two years and chairman for one year. And he currently serves as the Distinguished Professor of Practical Theology and Dean of the Adrian Rogers Center for Biblical Preaching at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary. 

Furthermore, his role as founder and editor-in-chief of Preaching Coach further highlights his commitment to advancing the art and craft of preaching. Referred to as the “Dean of Expository Preaching among Southern Baptists,” Dr. Allen’s intellectual contributions have not only elevated the academic standards within our Convention but also provided invaluable resources for pastors and theology students.

The Zeal of a Missionary

Dr. Allen’s missionary zeal is a testament to his unwavering commitment to spreading the Gospel. His missionary journey began with a transformative trip to Mexico City in 1990, where his leadership contributed to planting eight new churches. This trip ignited a passion for missions that has continued to shape his ministry to this day. During the sixteen years of his first pastorate, his church members helped to plant more than 100 churches on the mission field. Many of his church members, inspired by his example, have pursued full-time missions, working with missionary organizations such as the IMB and e3 Ministries.

His enthusiasm for missions is not confined to international endeavors. Dr. Allen has consistently encouraged local evangelism and church planting. His experience as the first staff member at Prestonwood Baptist Church, a new church plant, gave him a unique perspective on the challenges and rewards of establishing new congregations. His first pastorate was a new church plant. This firsthand experience has fueled his ongoing support for church planting initiatives, both domestically and abroad.

Dr. Allen’s missionary zeal is also reflected in his academic pursuits in two ways: first, as a practitioner, and second, through his writings. As a practitioner, he has traveled to 10 countries, including Kazakhstan, India, the Philippines, and South Korea, training pastors. Through his writings, such as “The Extent of the Atonement: A Historical and Critical Review,” he demonstrates his dedication to exploring and elucidating theological concepts that are foundational to mission work. His teachings and writings continue to inspire and equip future missionaries and pastors, ensuring that the passion for evangelism and missions remains a central tenet of our convention’s efforts. As President of the SBC, Dr. Allen will continue to lead Southern Baptists to give, send, go, and pray to make much of Christ around the world!


In conclusion, Dr. David Allen is a candidate who embodies the pastoral heart, academic intellect, and missionary zeal necessary for the role of President of the Southern Baptist Convention. His lifelong commitment to pastoral care, scholarly excellence, and missionary work uniquely qualify him to lead our convention with wisdom, compassion, and vision. Make sure to learn more about Dr. Allen’s vision for the SBC directly from him here. As he puts it, his platform “is simple”:

  • Strengthen our long-term Convention focus on evangelism, missions, and preaching.
  • Supports passage of the Mike Law Amendment at the 2024 SBC in Indianapolis.
  • Seek to restore an eroding trust among many Southern Baptists.

Simple and biblical is what Southern Baptists need most right now. His platform is excellent, and so is his character and ministry track record. Dr. Allen’s profound impact on countless lives through his ministry, scholarly contributions, and missionary endeavors speaks volumes about his dedication to serving God and advancing His kingdom. 

I endorse Dr. David Allen for this pivotal leadership role with great confidence and hope. If elected, his presidency will usher in a new era of conservative commitments, biblical fidelity, gospel growth, and dynamic gospel outreach in missions and evangelism for the Southern Baptist Convention.

  • Lewis Richerson

    Lewis Richerson has served as the Senior Pastor of Woodlawn Baptist Church since 2012. He previously served at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in various capacities from 2005 to 2012, where he also received his M.Div. in Biblical Languages and Ph.D. in Preaching. Lewis has been pastoring in SBC churches since 1999, when he began serving as an interim pastor in rural Rapids Parish, Louisiana. He also helped launch a ministry in India that includes an accredited Bible college and seminary, church planting efforts all over India, an orphan ministry, and pastor training.