More than 5,000 Southern Baptists assembled in Baltimore to share the gospel during Crossover evangelism events, to listen intently to dynamic sermons, to hear reports from Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) entity leaders, to conduct business and to elect a new SBC president.
Like many North Carolina Baptists, I enjoyed attending the 157th annual meeting of the SBC. With a total of 5,294 registered messengers, I was pleased that North Carolina Baptists were well represented in Baltimore. We had the third largest number of messengers registered (427), exceeded only by the Maryland and Virginia conventions.
While I enjoy the times of worship and fellowship with old friends from across the SBC, I always enjoy the reports and presentations made by SBC entity leaders. If you were not in Baltimore, you can read about each of the presentations in the Biblical Recorder. I have greatly appreciated the leadership of SBC president Fred Luter these past two years, and I am looking forward to working with our new SBC president, Ronnie Floyd.
I enjoyed the Crossover evangelism efforts June 7 by participating in a huge block party held in the inner city Patterson Park in Baltimore. Along with Frank Page, president and CEO of the SBC Executive Committee, and pastors/lay leaders from the Burnt Swamp Baptist Association here in North Carolina, I had the privilege to share the gospel with several Baltimore residents in that park, and I was thrilled to help a man in his late 70s pray to receive Christ.
During the opening session of the SBC on Tuesday morning [June 10], Al Gilbert, vice president for evangelism of North America Mission Board, reported that 2,330 Southern Baptists from 18 states participated in 63 venues in the Crossover evangelism efforts. More than 15,000 people served, and 214 decisions for Christ were recorded.
Another pre-convention meeting that was special to me was Sunday worship [June 8] at the South Broadway Baptist Church in Baltimore because this church has a connection with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC). Their pastor, B.J. Hunt, moved from North Carolina to Maryland 10 years ago to lead this congregation. South Broadway holds membership with the Burnt Swamp Baptist Association in Pembroke. Their director of missions is our former president and interim executive director-treasurer of BSC, Mike Cummings. Burnt Swamp is unique because their member churches are all predominately Native American. Native American Baptists from numerous states were in attendance for this worship service including several people from North Carolina. Pastor Larry Locklear [Island Grove Baptist Church in Pembroke], missionary Gerry Locklear and I were all on program, and pastor Timmy Chavis [Bear Swamp Baptist Church in Pembroke] preached a challenging sermon.
North Carolina Baptists were also well represented in the SBC Pastor’s Conference this year. Bruce Frank, lead pastor of Biltmore Baptist in Arden, was the president of the 2014 SBC Pastor’s Conference, and Clint Pressley, senior pastor of Hickory Grove Baptist in Charlotte, was vice president. These men assembled an outstanding cadre of preachers for this conference including J.D. Greear from The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham. The choir and praise team for the Pastor’s Conference were from Biltmore Baptist. You can obtain recordings of the sermons preached by contacting SBC Tapes in Fort Worth, Texas, at (817) 656-1258 or www.sbctapes.com.