Former Southern Baptist Convention President Steve Gaines has announced that his kidney cancer has spread to his lungs, and his congregation continues to ask for prayers for his recovery.
In a video posted to YouTube Wednesday, Gaines, the pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, Tennessee, shared an update on his health two weeks after announcing his diagnosis with kidney cancer to his congregation.
The 65-year-old served as president of the largest Protestant denomination in the United States from 2016 to 2018 while continuing to lead Bellevue Baptist Church.
"After they discovered the cancer in my kidney, they spent the last two weeks running additional tests. During those tests, they discovered the cancer had also spread to my lungs," Gaines said.
"I have a great team of doctors who are working hard to come up with the best treatment plan possible," he added. "More than anything, we continue to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for complete healing."
He expressed gratitude for the "words of encouragement" he received over the past two weeks and those praying and fasting for him.
Gaines' wife, Donna, who appeared alongside her husband in the video, said her husband will receive a port placement this week that will allow him to "begin chemotherapy as soon as possible."
"[H]is doctors are encouraged due to a recent release of a very effective new regimen of three medications that have been very effective against his type of cancer," she said.
"Please continue to pray as we seek the Lord that we might be able to glorify Him in this journey," she said.
The former SBC president outlined his plans to travel to the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, next month for "consultation and also confirm my treatment plan." He does not "expect any major updates" before traveling to the hospital during the second week of January.
Gaines vowed to update the congregation as new information becomes available.
Gaines shows no signs of stepping away from his ministry even as he faces a more difficult health crisis than initially expected. When sharing the video message on social media, Bellevue Baptist Church's X account urged the congregation to "pray for Bro. Steve as he returns to the pulpit this Sunday."
Please watch this update from Bro. Steve and Donna and join us as we continue to pray for our Pastor's healing.— Bellevue Baptist Church (@bellevuememphis) December 6, 2023
Please also pray for Bro. Steve as he returns to the pulpit this Sunday. pic.twitter.com/AOORVYzYaS
Statistics compiled by the American Cancer Society based on people diagnosed with cancers of the kidney between 2012 and 2018 suggest that kidney cancer that has "spread to distant parts of the body such as the lungs, brain, or bones" has a 15% five-year relative survival rate.
As Bellevue Baptist Church's website indicated, Gaines has served as senior pastor there for nearly two decades. Before taking his current post at Bellevue Baptist Church in 2005, Gaines pastored other churches in Texas, Tennessee and Alabama for over two decades. He and Donna have been married for 43 years. They have four children and 18 grandchildren.
The church has put together a prayer guide for Gaines, which includes nearly two dozen Bible verses that members of the congregation can look to when "praying for God's healing, peace, and blessings over Bro. Steve and his family."
Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org