John Upton is executive director of the Baptist General Association of Virginia (BGAV) and the Virginia Baptist Mission Board (VBMB) in the United States. He was elected president of the Baptist World Alliance during the 20th Baptist World Congress held in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 2010.
Upton has had a long association with the BWA. He is a former member of the BWA General Council and the Executive Committee, and served on the Baptist World Aid Committee, the Commission on Christian Ethics, and the Executive Committee of the North American Baptist Fellowship, one of six regional fellowships of the BWA. From 2005-2010, he was chair of the Congress Program Committee.
Prior to being elected executive director of the BGAV and the VBMB in 2001, Upton served as group leader of the Mission Mobilization Group of the BGAV, beginning in 1995. Earlier, he was pastor of Urbanna Baptist Church in Urbanna, Virginia, from 1984-1986 and 1991-1995. Between 1986 and 1991 he and his wife, Deborah, served as missionaries in Taiwan through the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Upton attended the Baptist-affiliated Averett College (now Averett University) in Danville, Virginia; the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, in the USA; and the Taiwan Language Institute. He received a Doctor of Divinity degree from the International Baptist Theological Seminary in Kerrala, India.