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Dr. Lavonn Brown, Ret. Pastor, First Baptist Church of Norman

Dr. Brown is married to Norma Lee Kennedy Brown, an acclaimed artist with paintings displayed in galleries in Oklahoma, Colorado, Texas and California.  They have three sons, Robert Alan, Scott Hudson and Nathan Lee; three daughters-in-law: Sylvia, Debbie and Laura; and five grandchildren; Matthew, Noah, Parker, Paige, and Sierra.

Six months after graduating from Cyril High School in Cyril, Oklahoma, Lavonn was Ordained to the Gospel Ministry by the First Baptist Church, Cyril, Oklahoma.   Preparing himself for his calling, Dr. Brown earned a Bachelors degree from Oklahoma Baptist University where his academic achievements were recognized by his inclusion in Who’s Who of American Colleges and Universities, 1954-55.   He went on to earn a Bachelor of Divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Theology Degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.  His major field in doctoral studies was Christian Ministries and his dissertation was entitled:  A History of Representative Southern Baptist Preaching From the First World War to the Depression (1914-1929).

Dr. Brown's pastorates include Ahloso Baptist Church of Ada, OK (1954-58), Ratliff City Baptist Church of Raliff City, OK (1958-61), First Baptist Church of Tecumseh, OK (1961-64), Oakland Heights Baptist Church of Longview, TX (1964-69), and First Baptist Church of Norman, OK (January 1970 – December 1998).

Involved in Southern Baptist Convention affairs until ostracized by the Fundamentalists when they took control of the SBC, Dr. Brown served as a member of the SBC's Committee on Boards and Agencies (1972), as Chairman of the SBC's Resolutions Committee (1974), as President of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary Alumni Association (1977), as a member of the Board of Trustees of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (1971-81), and as the Oklahoma Representative on the SBC's Committee on Boards (1981-82).

Involved in Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma affairs until excluded by Fundamentalists in control of the BGCO, Lavonn served as a member of the Board of Trustees at Oklahoma Baptist University (1973- ?), President of the BGCO (1973-74), a member of the Board of Directors of BGCO (1981-85)

A popular conference leader, Lavonn has served two summers as camp pastor/preacher at Oklahoma's Falls Creek Assembly and three summers as camp pastor/preacher at California's Janess Park. He has also been the speaker for the Senior Adult Chautauqua at Glorieta Baptist Assembly (September, 1985 and October, 1992), was Bible Study Leader for Home Mission Week at Glorieta Baptist Assembly, (July, 1986) and was speaker for the Senior Adult Chautauqua at Ridgecrest Baptist Assembly, (October, 1987).

Internationally recognized for his speaking abilities, Dr. Brown spent two weeks with Missionary, Bob Lindsey, in Jerusalem, Israel, was a speaker for California State Pastors’ Conference at Hume Lake (1982), addressed the Annual Missions Meeting in Santiago, Chile (1984), participated in a Pulpit Exchange with Malcolm Love, Pastor of Northcote Road Baptist Church, London, England (May 1985), and spoke at the Canadian Baptist Evangelism Conference in Edmonton (January 1986).

A respected teacher, Dr. Brown taught three semesters of Preaching classes while a doctoral student at Southwestern Seminary (1962-64), taught preaching seminars at both Glorieta and Ridgecrest Baptist Assemblies, gave a series of lectures in National Preaching Conferences sponsored by the Sunday School Board, delivered lectures on Preaching at the Southern Baptist Seminary in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (summer 1982), taught two courses in Preaching at the Southwestern Seminary Extension at OBU (fall 1982), taught a "J" Term in preaching at Southern Seminary (summer 1987), taught a Doctor of Ministry seminar on "The Ministry of Worship and Proclamation" at Midwestern Seminary (fall 1987), taught a Doctor of Ministry seminar on "Preaching" at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary (spring 1991).

A leader in the opposition to the Fundamentalist takeover of the SBC, Lavonn preached at the "forum" in St. Louis, MO (June 1987), was a member of the Board of Directors of the Baptist Cooperative Program, Inc., has been a member of the Coordinating Council of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship since its inception (1992- ), was a member of the Personnel Search Committee that recommended CBF's first Coordinator (Cecil Sherman), was chairman of CBF's Relationship with Friends Task Force, and served as CBF's Moderator-Elect (1995-96) and Moderator (1996-97).

A distinguished author, Dr. Brown's published books include I Believe, Volume I, Convention Press, 1973; I Believe, Volume II, Convention Press, 1976; Reprinted in one volume, Truths That Make A Difference, 1981; Youth Affirm: The Doctrine of Salvation, Convention Press, 1978; My Salvation: Secure and Sure!, Convention Press, 1986; The Life of the Church in the Layman’s Doctrine Series, Broadman Press, 1987; Biblical Preaching Using Great Hymns, Convention Press, 1990.  He was editor of Salvation In Our Time, Convention Press, 1978; a contributor to Ideas for Effective Worship Services, Compiled and Edited by James C. Barry and Jack Gulledge for Convention Press, 1977; a contributor to Sermons and Services for Special Days, Compiled and Edited by Jack Gulledge for Convention Press, 1979; he contributed by an article, "Legitimate Shortcuts in Sermon Preparation," and a sermon, "Bloom Where Planted," to Preaching in Today’s World, Compiled by James C. Berry. Nashville: Broadman Press, 1984; and was a contributor to Best Sermons, Volume 5, in which he was awarded Honorable Mention Evangelistic Sermon, Harper-Collins, 1992.

Lavonn has also written numerous articles for Baptist Sunday School Board periodicals (Baptist Program, Home Life, Proclaim, Search, The Deacon, Church Administration).  Among those essays are "Leaving and Cleaving," Home Life, (June 1984) and "Helping Deacons to Preach," Proclaim, (October-November-December 1986).

Dr. Brown's accomplishments were recognized by his inclusion in Who’s Who in Religion, 1975-1976 and by his being selected "Outstanding Alumnus of Oklahoma Baptist University" by the Joe L. Ingram School of Christian Service  in April 1992.


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