During the Sunday morning worship service this week, former Southern Baptist Convention President and current senior pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee, Steven Gaines shared with his congregation that he has been diagnosed with kidney cancer.
Standing alongside his wife, Donna, Pastor Gaines, 65, disclosed that he received the news just last Friday.
“Just this past Friday, I was diagnosed with kidney cancer, and we just want to tell you. We want you to hear it from us,” Gaines expressed to the congregation, emphasizing the importance of sharing the news directly. He conveyed optimism, saying, “We’ve got some great doctors; we’ve got the best doctor, Amen?” Gaines shared that he will undergo treatment, including seeking care at the renowned MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, currently ranked No. 1 in the nation for treating adult cancers by the U.S. News and World Report.
While addressing the congregation, Gaines mentioned, “I’ve had some tests and all, but we’re going to go through a few more things. And then we’ll be going to MD Anderson as well.” He urged the church community to keep him and his family in their prayers, stating, “All we’re wanting you to do is pray for us. I just want to tell you, firsthand, OK? Didn’t want you to hear it from somebody else. Wanted to tell you straight up.”
The American Cancer Society provides insight into kidney cancer survival rates. If the cancer is localized, with no indication of spreading beyond the kidney, the five-year survival rate is 93%. If it is regional, signifying the spread to nearby structures or lymph nodes, the rate is 72%. However, if the cancer is considered distant, having spread to other parts of the body like the lungs, brain, or bones, the five-year survival rate drops significantly to 15%.
Gaines has not disclosed the extent to which his cancer has spread or whether he will be taking time away from his pastoral duties for treatment. Requests for comments from Bellevue Baptist Church regarding Pastor Gaines’ health status were not immediately answered when contacted on Monday by The Christian Post.
Pastor Gaines has been leading Bellevue Baptist Church since 2005 and has previously served as president of the Southern Baptist Convention from 2016 to 2018. Before his time in Memphis, he led congregations in Texas and Alabama.
Married to Donna, the couple shares four children and is blessed with 16 grandchildren. The church community and well-wishers are now rallying together, offering prayers and support for Pastor Gaines and his family as they navigate this challenging journey.