The halls are beginning to fill in the convention center. Plenty of meetings and fellowships are already taking place. We visited some great churches this morning. Our group went to FBC Famersville and/or Cornerstone Baptist in Arlington. The Pastors’ Conference gets started in just about an hour from now. Here’s are a few things I’m looking for over the next 4 days.
This week the SBC will decide who will lead the convention as president over the next two years. (Ok, technically one, but the second election is basically a formality). We’ve made no secret about our editorial views here. I and our group believe J.D. Greear is the best choice for the convention. The humility and steps he took toward unity two years ago – as he withdrew before the third election ballot with Steve Gaines – set at tone and mindset for which the entire SBC should be grateful. J.D. is a pastor who leads his church well in evangelism, missions, baptisms, reaching & serving their community, church planting, the list goes on. I hope and anticipate the convention will elect J.D. as the next president of the SBC. Ken Hemphill is also running, a former pastor, seminary president, and denominational leader. I believe Ken is a good man and am thankful for his past service to the convention. I also believe the right leader for this time is J.D. Greear.
1st & 2nd Vice Presidential Elections
These elections have been overshadowed by the coverage of the presidential election. There are several nominations between these two offices but the two that have caught my eye are Dr. A.B. Vines, pastor of New Seasons Church in San Diego and former president of the National African American Fellowship, for 1VP and for 2VP Felix Cabrera, who pastors Iglesia Bautista Central in Oklahoma City and is the Founder of the RED 1:8 church planting network. Johnny Hunt will nominate Dr. Vines and Ed Litton will nominate Cabrera.
We know there have been a ton of resolutions submitted this year. No doubt a lot of eyes will be on the convention bulletin Tuesday morning to see which resolutions they’ve chosen to bring forward and how they’ve crafted those messages to be strong statements that Southern Baptists will be glad to adopt. I’m confident in this year’s committee, the most diverse presidential committee ever appointed in SBC life, that they’ll navigate this carefully and well. It’s likely some amendments will be attempted from the floor and I expect there will be some declined resolutions whose authors will try to bring them from the floor – which is almost sure to fail because of the 2/3 supermajority needed to bring a resolution from the floor.
The Tone & Spirit of the Meeting
I’m really thankful for several articles I’ve read over the last few days calling us to temper this meeting with humility, repentance, and brokenness. We’ve had a rough few months, which is in large measure deep problems that are only now coming to the surface. May this convention lead us back in the direction of unity, even as we realize there are many among us who are hurting and unhappy with decisions and events over the past few months. I don’t have the answers for how unity is going to happen, neither does anyone else I’ve read. But I think we can agree that the cross, resurrection, and the message of the gospel must be at the center. We come together this week because this message unites us and it should overshadow what divides us. May God make it so.
I’m heading to the first session of the Pastors’ Conference. Hope to see you there. (or online at live.sbc.net)