Skip to main content
Bellevue Baptist Church Senior Pastor Steve Gaines, left, and his wife Donna. (Screenshot credit: Bellevue Baptist Church/YouTube)

'Pray for Us': Former SBC President Steve Gaines Reveals Cancer Diagnosis

Share This article

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

Gaines, 65, who served as president of the Southern Baptist Convention from 2016 to 2018, told the congregation about his health problems near the close of the 11:00 a.m. service.

"This past 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've got some great doctors. And we've got the best doctor, Jesus," Gaines said as he raised his right hand in praise and smiled. 

The Bellevue Baptist senior pastor explained he has had some tests and will soon be treated at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. U.S. News & World Report ranked the teaching hospital as one of the best cancer facilities in the nation in treating adult cancers. 

"So all we're wanting you to do is pray for us," Gaines said. "And we wanted to tell you firsthand. We didn't want you to hear it from somebody else. We wanted to tell you straight up, OK?" 

At the end of his announcement, someone in the audience shouted, "Love you, pastor!" and he replied, "Love you, too" as the audience broke out in applause. 

Gaines didn't elaborate on his cancer diagnosis or say how long he would be out of the pulpit. 

***Please sign up for CBN Newsletters and download the CBN News app to ensure you keep receiving the latest news from a distinctly Christian perspective.*** 

slider img 2In a short video posted on Monday to the church's YouTube page, he and his wife gave a quick update on his condition for those church members who weren't in attendance on Sunday and explained how they would be gone for the next few weeks on a planned vacation.

"We covet your prayers," Gaines said. 

Donna noted there were specific scriptures that would be posted, so the congregation could pray along with them. 

"As we ask the Lord to not only go before us and meet every need, but we're asking him for healing as well," she said. 

"We're praying for healing through medicine, through a miracle or both," Gaines said. "We love the Lord Jesus and we love you. Thank you for being partners with us during this time in our lives. God bless you." 

The church also posted an online prayer guide at

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

Share This article

About The Author

Steve Warren is a senior multimedia producer for CBN News. Warren has worked in the news departments of television stations and cable networks across the country. In addition, he also worked as a producer-director in television production and on-air promotion. A Civil War historian, he authored the book The Second Battle of Cabin Creek: Brilliant Victory. It was the companion book to the television documentary titled Last Raid at Cabin Creek currently streaming on Amazon Prime. He holds an M.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and a B.A. in Communication from the University of