Every week on the SBC This Week Podcast, Amy Whitfield offers a moment of history. And then every year on the recap episode after the annual meeting, her moment of history is the whole meeting itself. Make sure and check out the episode for an excellent summary of the weeks events. This years meeting felt particularly eventful, and I want to offer a few moments of history that occurred during the week. These are in no particular order, and some are definitely more important than others.
Sexual Abuse Reforms – The recommendations presented by the SATF are good first steps towards addressing the shame of sexual abuse in our churches. The Abuse Reform Implementation Task Force and the Ministry Check website were both approved by the vast majority of messengers. This was no doubt a historic moment that will shape our convention for years to come.
Location – Even the location of the meeting was historic, as it was the first time it was held in California since 1981. There was a large number of messengers, 8133, for being so far away from the traditional base of the SBC. The location was wonderful, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it happens again there sooner than another 40 years.
Presidential Election – Bart Barber was elected president in a runoff vote, with 60.87 percent of the votes. I ran some numbers on the size of the towns of the previous SBC Presidents when they were elected, and Farmersville, TX at 3500 people is by far the smallest in at least 50 years. The next smallest town I found was Yazoo City, home of Owen Cooper the last layman to serve as SBC President. In 1972 it had a population of about 10k. After that there were several towns in the 20-30k range, several in the 100k range, and up to 3.2 million like Houston. Small town is a relative thing though. Sometimes they appear small but are part of a larger metropolitan area. Even given those caveats, we have not had a pastor from this small of a town in a generation at least. This was a historic election.
Resolutions – There were several historic resolutions passed on topics not addressed by the SBC before. Resolutions on rural America, the prosperity gospel, and on the forced conversion of Indigenous American were all historic and also much needed. In addition to that, Resolution #6 On Lament and Repentance for Sexual Abuse was also an important and historic step for the convention.
Credentials Committee – The recently formed Credentials Committee brought a recommendation to the messengers about Saddleback Church, but it was ultimately withdrawn. There was quite a lot of discussion around the matter, but I think there is also complete agreement across the Convention about if women can serve as pastors. The Credentials Committee plans to make a new recommendation later. The issues surrounding Saddleback Church are far from settled though and will continue to be an issue until it is settled.
Recording Secretary – Nathan Finn was elected as the new SBC Recording Secretary after John Yeats announced he would not run again after serving 25 years. There was also a motion made to remove the Recording Secretary as an officer of the convention. This would require a bylaw change and was referred to the Executive Committee.
Odds and Ends – On a lighter note, I think it was the first time someone’s “DM’s” were mentioned from the stage, and also the first time that that Johnny Depp and/or Amber Heard were mentioned during the SBC meeting. Although I haven’t done the research, I think that Victor Chayasirisobhon probably has the most degrees of a Convention officer. Chayasirisobhon holds 10 academic degrees, including three doctorates and five master’s degrees.
Sending Celebration – While it has become a favorite part of the SBC Meeting, the commissioning of 52 missionaries by the IMB is always worth celebrating.
Crossover – Finally, and most importantly, there were 547 gospel conversions through the Crossover attempt before the meeting.
Every SBC meeting is historic in it’s own right, but those are a few of the things that stood out to me. What moments of history did you notice during SBC 2022?