It was announced today in Baptist Press that H.B. Charles Jr. will be nominated to serve as the president of 2018 Pastors’ Conference in Dallas, TX. He will be nominated by Ken Whitten. It was previously announced that Brad Graves would be nominated for the office, but he has announced that he is stepping aside to clear the way for Charles to be elected as the first African American president of the Pastors’ Conference.
H.B. Charles is the pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla. He was one of the preachers for the 2016 conference in St. Louis and is scheduled to address the convention during the annual meeting this year according to the program that was recently released. H.B. Charles is an excellent preacher. In my estimation, he’s the best preacher in the Southern Baptist Convention. I am extremely excited about his nomination.
Below are some quotes from the article in Baptist Press.
From Ken Whitten:
Former Pastors’ Conference president Ken Whitten announced his intent to nominate Charles May 11, noting he is a “preacher extraordinaire.”
The decision to nominate Charles stemmed from an informal gathering of past Pastors’ Conference presidents May 2 at which the group expressed a desire to nominate someone representing the numerous qualified pastors from ethnic minority groups, Whitten told BP. Multiple qualified pastors were discussed, he said, and eventually the group sensed God’s leading to Charles, pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla.
“We thought it was time to stop talking about racial unity in positions of leadership within our convention” and “put a president out there at the Pastors’ Conference” from among the “African Americans, Hispanics and Asians who are pastoring great churches and are very worthy of being in positions of leadership in our convention,” said Whitten, pastor of Tampa-area Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz, Fla.
Regarding the decision by Brad Graves to step aside:
Graves, whose candidacy was announced April 17, told BP the decision to withdraw from the election was “a big God moment,” adding no one pressured him to withdraw — except the Holy Spirit after a season of prayer.
Graves was notified May 9 that Charles also would be nominated. So he prayed, sought wise counsel and had a phone conversation with Charles during which he shared his intent to “step aside.”
“I don’t want to be anything divisive” in the SBC, said Graves, pastor of First Baptist Church in Ada, Okla. “I think it’s time to show the culture that there is something that unites [Southern Baptists] more than just a Cooperative Program or a mission statement, but that we really do care for one another. We really are brothers in a fraternity.”
Graves added, “Our convention is very diverse,” and Charles’ nomination “will help show how diverse we really are.”
From H.B. Charles himself:
“I am grateful, honored and privileged to be considered for this important role” in the Pastors’ Conference, Charles told BP. “My prayer, if elected, is that we will have a conference that will encourage pastors and churches to be about the Great Commission of the Lord Jesus Christ in these important times that we live in.”
The potential of being the first black Pastors’ Conference president “made the opportunity all the more overwhelming and humbling,” Charles said. “It would be a privilege to have such a signal honor to be the first to serve in this important role in our convention. And I hope and pray that, if elected, it will signal unity among us as brothers and sisters in Christ.”
Other officer candidates for the 2018 SBC PC have yet to be announced.