'Pray for us': Former SBC President Steve Gaines reveals cancer diagnosis

Steve Gaines, the senior pastor at Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee, and his wife, Donna, at his side, announced to their church family on Sunday that doctors had told him he had kidney cancer.

Gaines, 65, who served as president of the Southern Baptist Convention from 2016 to 2018, told the congregation about his health issues toward the end of the 11 a.m. service.

“Last Friday I was diagnosed with kidney cancer and we just wanted to tell you. And we wanted you to hear it from us,” he said.

“And we have some great doctors. And we have the best doctor, Jesus,” Gaines said, raising his right hand in praise and smiling.

The senior pastor at Bellevue Baptist said he has undergone some tests and will soon be treated at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. U.S. News & World Report ranked the teaching hospital as one of the best cancer facilities in the country for the treatment of adult cancers.

“So we just want you to pray for us,” Gaines said. “And we wanted to tell you firsthand. We didn’t want you to hear it from anyone else. We wanted to tell you straight away, OK?”

At the end of his announcement, someone in the audience shouted, “I love you, Pastor!” and he responded, “I love you too,” as the audience erupted in applause.

Gaines did not elaborate on his cancer diagnosis or say how long he would be away from the pulpit.

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In a short video posted to the church’s YouTube page on Monday, he and his wife gave those church members who were not present on Sunday a brief update on his condition and explained what they will do over the next few weeks Holiday would not be present Planned vacation.

“We want your prayers,” Gaines said.

Donna noted that certain Bible passages would be posted so that the congregation could join in prayer.

“We not only ask the Lord to go before us and meet every need, but we also ask Him to heal,” she said.

“We pray for healing through medicine, through a miracle or both,” Gaines said. “We love the Lord Jesus and we love you. Thank you for partnering with us at this time in our lives. God bless you.”

The church has also published an online prayer guide at https://www.bellevue.org/prayer.

Gaines became Bellevue’s senior pastor in 2005, according to the church’s website. He and Donna have four children and 18 grandchildren.


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