This year’s annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is right around the corner, and I hope you are making plans to attend.
This year’s meeting is scheduled for June 12-13 in Dallas, Texas, and the theme is “Testify! Go. Stand. Speak.” The theme verse is Acts 5:20. Please be in prayer for the meeting, as well as the SBC Pastors’ Conference that will be held June 10-11 and the Greg Laurie evangelistic crusade on Sun., June 10.
One of the things I look forward to most during the SBC annual meeting and pastors’ conference every year is seeing and connecting with all the folks from North Carolina who attend our convention’s national gatherings.
I am grateful that we have so many pastors, church members and associational leaders from our state who are invested in our denomination and give of their time, energy and resources to participate in these meetings at all different levels. Thank you for your willingness to be involved.
Messengers at this year’s annual meeting will also cast ballots for a new SBC president, and at the time I am writing this column, both of the announced candidates are North Carolina Baptists. They are J.D. Greear, pastor of The Summit Church in the Raleigh-Durham area, and Ken Hemphill, a North Carolina native and current member of First Baptist Church of Hendersonville, N.C., who has served the SBC in a variety of roles throughout his ministry. Greear will also be preaching at this year’s pastors’ conference.
I can say without a doubt that these are two godly men from two great N.C. Baptist churches who are running for the office of SBC president in 2018. I am grateful for the friendship that I have with both of these individuals, and I believe that either one of these two men could serve our Southern Baptist Convention well as president.
One candidate is the current senior pastor of a North Carolina Baptist church. The other is a former pastor who is a good and supportive member of his church.
When I consider that we have two good men running for the office of SBC president, I am disappointed that some supporters of one of these candidates seem to have given this election the appearance of a secular political party system through their publication of materials via the internet.
I am thankful that both Ken and J.D. have mutually called upon all Southern Baptists to pray and interact with grace and civility leading up to the convention and the presidential election.
Please understand that I would equally defend Ken Hemphill or J.D. Greear should any information be published about either of them that is contradictory to what I know about these men.
In saying that, some of the characterizations and descriptions of J.D. that have been made are very different from my personal interactions with him and the church he serves, which is an active partner with our state convention.
I wish we had more churches in our state like The Summit Church and more pastors like J.D. Greear.
As we approach this year’s SBC annual meeting, I hope that you will be in prayer for the convention, all of the related events and for our denomination as a whole. Also, please be in prayer for our current SBC President Steve Gaines as he makes plans to preside over the meeting and deliver the annual president’s address.
To learn more about this year’s SBC annual meeting and to register as a messenger or guest from your church, please visit sbcannualmeeting.net.
“Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life” – Acts 5:20 (NKJV).