Dear SBC President Dr. Steve Gaines,
We want to begin by saying thank you. We had a great convention in Phoenix, and we believe that is due in part to your leadership. You set the tone for the convention with your emphasis on prayer. You also exhibited wise pastoral leadership from the podium. We realize that the resolution condemning alt-right white supremacy would not have happened without your support. So thank you.
We are also excited about the emphasis of this next year on evangelism. We share your concerns regarding our declining baptism numbers. Southern Baptists are a people who love God. It’s time we demonstrate that through prayer and evangelism. As you have said, “If you love someone, you talk to them and you talk about them.”
In light of this need to focus on evangelism, we are hopeful that the evangelism taskforce you appointed at the convention will bring forward helpful ideas about how we can more effectively reach our nation and our neighbors with the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. We believe that you have chosen an excellent group of men who will serve our convention well this next year as you brainstorm together about evangelism. Each person on the taskforce brings to it a wealth of knowledge and experience.
We did, however, notice that only two of the people chosen to serve on this taskforce are non-Anglo. This is at a time when approximately 20% of SBC churches are majority non-Anglo and 50% of NAMB church plants are ethnic minorities. The 2015 Executive Committee report on the SBC’s progress on racial reconciliation noted the great strides that have been made, but it also called on our leaders to make an even more concerted effort to include more minorities on future convention boards and committees. This kind of broad representation is especially needed with regard to evangelism. As the complexion of America continues to darken, we must increase our effectiveness at reaching people who look different than we do.
There are other voices we feel were left out as well. The announced taskforce does not include any women. It also does not include any smaller church pastors or laypeople who are not denominational employees. We believe that Southern Baptists are at our best when we hear from a diversity of people who represent the diversity of the SBC.
With this in mind, we ask that you would broaden representation on the newly created taskforce by adding members from these other viewpoints. We commit ourselves to pray for you in this endeavor and for the work of the taskforce as it moves forward. Again, we are thankful for your leadership and trust that God will guide you in this matter.
Voices for a New Baptist Future