Pastor Fred Luter, Jr., the first African American President of the Southern Baptist Convention, is the Senior Pastor at Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Fred Luter, Jr. began his ministerial journey on what he refers to as his “Damascus Road Experience.” In 1977, a motorcycle accident seriously injured his body but ultimately saved his soul. As a result of the accident, he made a conscious decision to surrender his life entirely to Christ. Every Saturday, on the street corner of Galvez and Caffin Avenue in the Lower Ninth Ward, Luter would preach the gospel to all who wanted to hear.
In 1983, God elevated Luter and equipped him to preach his first sermon at the Law Street Baptist Church in New Orleans, Louisiana. Years later, while preaching at the Greater Liberty Baptist Church, Luter learned of the opening at Franklin Avenue Baptist Church and applied for the pastoral position.
In September of 1986, the small but faithful 65 members of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church elected Fred Luter, Jr. as their pastor. This young street preacher from the Lower Ninth Ward was humbled and honored to serve this church as his first pastorate. This first-time pastor committed himself to encourage the people by preaching, teaching and living the Word of God. Dedicated to saving the family, Pastor Luter purposely sought unique ways to draw men to the church. His belief has always been that if you save the man, the man would save his family. The blessings in the next few years were truly the hand and grace of God upon his life and the Franklin Avenue Baptist Church.
By 1989, Pastor Luter had grown FABC to over 300 members. By 1994, the church could no longer accommodate the crowd in their current building and Pastor Luter challenged his congregation to increase their tithes and offerings to build a larger sanctuary. In March of 1997, God rewarded their faithfulness and Pastor Luter moved his growing membership into a 1,700 seat sanctuary. By 2005, prior to Hurricane Katrina, Pastor Luter grew FABC to over 7,000 members. Currently, FABC is still growing and in December 2018, the congregation moved into a brand new 3,500 seat sanctuary with separate areas for children and youth worship services.
Pastor Luter says that Franklin Avenue’s mission statement is simple: To spiritually impact our families, neighborhoods, city, and state by Exalting the Savior, Equipping the Saints and Evangelizing the Sinners. Pastor Luter’s strategy for congregational growth is embedded in his concept he calls “FRANgelism”—the acronym “FRAN” standing for friends, relatives, associates, and neighbors where he encourages his congregation to invite them to come to church with you. Pastor Luter’s passion for the people of God, commitment to his family and his love for God’s Word led him to be unanimously elected as President of the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest protestant organization in America, in June 2012. Many have referred to him as a man after God’s own heart that is known for his humility and powerful, lively preaching style. One of Pastor Luter’s famous sayings at Franklin Avenue Baptist Church is “It’s Not About the Pastor, It’s About the Master”. When asked to say a few words after being elected, his response was simply “To God Be the Glory for the Things He Has Done.” On June 11, 2013, Pastor Luter was unanimously elected for the second time as President of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Pastor Fred Luter, Jr. was born in New Orleans, Louisiana on November 11, 1956. He has been married to his “Prime Rib” Elizabeth Luter since 1980. They are the proud parents of one daughter, Kimberly Luter-Terrell, one son, Pastor Fred “Chip” Luter, III, son-in-law, Howard Terrell, daughter-in-law, Jasmine Luter and grandparents of one grandson, Fred Luter, IV, and one granddaughter, Zoe Grace Luter.