Every year Amy Whitfield and Jonathan Howe of the excellent SBC This Week podcast post some questions for the coming year as it relates to the Southern Baptist convention. Find their questions for this year here. And then at the end of the year they go back and answer those questions. Sometimes they are right on the money, and sometimes they miss the big stories entirely. In honor of there questions I want to pose a few questions of my own that I have been thinking about.
1. Will someone run against Ed Litton for SBC President?
During the Conservative Resurgence it was not uncommon to have multiple candidates for president every year. After the CR ended there came to be mostly peaceful transitions of power. While the president is only elected for one year, it is customary for them to serve two. Most times the President is not opposed in his second year running. As far as I can tell, since 1992 every serving president seeking a second year been voted in by acclamation, with no opponent. With all of the rumblings in the convention and rumors swirling around I would not be surprised to see someone run against Ed Litton for his second term.
2. Will there be churches that continue to leave the convention?
Over the last few years churches have left the convention both for being too liberal and too conservative, if I can summarize some varied and multi layered explanations. Will churches continue to do that this year? Perhaps the results of the meeting in Anaheim could push people one way or another? If churches do leave, what will be the effect on the Convention as a whole? Which leads to the next question…
3. Will the CP and special offerings continue to rise?
The recent news about the CP finishing above budget is wonderful news and reaffirms the commitment of Southern Baptists to the gospel. In addition social media has been flooded with stories of churches smashing their Lottie Moon goals. There can be no doubt that Southern Baptists have a heart for missions. Anyone who says otherwise is denying the facts. But will this trend continue in 2022? I sure hope so.
4. What will the effect of a new generation of leaders be across states and entities?
There always new leaders coming up, but the last few years has seen a flurry of new leadership at significant positions. Several state conventions and national entities have leaders from Gen-X, replacing Baby Boomers at many of those spots. It was news when JD Greear became the first Gen-X president, as among other things Air Jordan’s appeared on stage for the first time. A new generation in leadership means new appointees under them as well. By no means are we through with Baby Boomers of course, and Millennials already are serving faithfully too in many positions across the convention. But the effect of a new generation of leaders remains to be seen.
5. How will the mid term elections affect churches and across the convention?
This year in November 2022 will be the mid term elections in the US. Races will be tight and contentious across both houses of Congress and state elections too. If 2016 and 2020 proved anything, it’s that politics are divisive among Baptists. Since this is not a national election, it’s possible that the struggles will stay local. But there is still lots of potential to affect local congregations.
That’s five solid questions. It’s hard to know what this year will bring, as the last few years have shown us. There might be something that no one sees that takes front stage across the convention. I’m not the man with answers, just with the questions. I pray that 2022 is a year of mission growth and unity across the Convention, but it’s impossible to tell.
As a bonus question, there is one I feel confident enough to answer: Will William Thornton and other SEC promoters continue to make everyone else roll their eyes? That’s a solid yes.
Do you have answers for these questions? Or questions of your own for 2022?