Clearly, we have the most interesting, and contested, race for the SBC presidency in quite some time. While I think J. D. Greear is the clear best choice, he will not get my vote. I’m 597 miles away and I hear you have to be physically present in the convention hall to cast a ballot. Any of the three would be fine and do well. We have some challenges and although the SBC president isn’t necessarily someone who can do a lot about it, it is important for the symbolic leader of our denomination to be a good representative of the best among us.
Which of the three might offer the most? Tough to say and whatever said is just conjecture.
I like David Crosby because he isn’t a megapastor. His large church does great ministry and has a very good reputation in the community. His traditional Cooperative Program support (greater than the SBC average percentage but having dropped post-Katrina) appeals to those who think churches should return to the halcyon double-digit days of a generation or more ago. I’d guess that his appointment and nominees would broaden the tent.
I like Steve Gaines because his church, Bellevue, is the former pastorate of my generation’s most outstanding SBC pastor, Adrian Rogers. I get the impression that it is a traditional megachurch, perhaps an oxymoronic phrase, but it looks like the typical megachurch in the affluent suburbs around here. Colleagues that I respect who interact with him like him and speak highly of him.
I like J. D. Greear because his non-traditional megachurch has focused so much on overseas missions. That Summit has 149 individuals currently serving with our International Mission Board is not just impressive. It is astonishing. At some point even his critics might consider that many similar non-mega churches with cool-haired pastors have little to do with the SBC. Greear and his church have pointedly called for the next generation to take responsibility for SBC entities and ministries.
We’ve seen some odd things this year. The rap piece for J. D. (I thought it was clever, appropriate, and funny). Paid advertising, and I don’t recall any such previously, by one of the candidate or his supporters, a social media buy on behalf of Gaines. (I guess that’s where we are these days). We have a smattering of tendentious reporting and, yes, Calvinism has bubbled up occasionally. But let’s rejoice that we have three stellar pastors, men of integrity, and not any buffoonish or devious characters like our national election has given us this year.
Need I note that there are some age differentials: Crosby is 63 (I think), Gaines is 58. Greear, 44. Generational changes will roll on in. This may be the year.
Is it any indication of what is to come that the non-traditional, non-celebrity, non-mega pastor, Dave Miller was elected president of the Pastor’s Conference? Maybe. Maybe not. Clearly, that crowd favored, slightly, the new guy with a new plan.
We will know soon.
Note: SBC Voices doesn’t endorse candidates. This is my view, not SBCV. Contributors here have been welcomed to post at will but I think they are all in St. Louis on fat expense accounts and don’t have time. Yours truly stayed home to feed the cat and pick the tomatoes.