Josh Reavis, associate pastor of North Jacksonville Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla., has announced his intention to nominate Matt Henslee, pastor of Mayhill Baptist Church in Mayhill, N.M., for president of the 2022 Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) Pastors’ Conference.
The 2022 Pastors’ Conference will be held in Anaheim, Calif., in conjunction with the SBC annual meeting. Elections for that gathering will take place this June at the SEND Conference held in conjunction with the SBC annual meeting in Nashville.
Henslee was to be nominated last year for the role, but the 2020 Pastors’ Conference was canceled alongside the annual meeting due to COVID-19 protocols. David Uth, pastor of First Baptist Church in Orlando and the 2020 Pastors’ Conference president, will officially remain in that position this year. Following controversy surrounding the speakers’ lineup last year, however, Uth and other conference officers asked that the 2021 version of the Pastors’ Conference be a SEND event planned and produced by the North American Mission Board.
Reavis described Henslee as “an everyday pastor who understands the ebb and flow of everyday ministry in a variety of contexts.”
“Matt is a gifted pastor who has been a great encourager to pastors throughout the Southern Baptist Convention. He has a compelling vision for the Pastors’ Conference that I believe will be unifying, edifying and most importantly, Christ-honoring,” Reavis said.
Henslee also is a church revitalization consultant with Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s Center for Church Revitalization and previously served as the managing editor of Lifeway Pastors. He also helps lead his local association’s church planting efforts and serves as the first vice president of the Baptist Convention of New Mexico.
Henslee co-hosts “Not Another Baptist Podcast” with Kyle Bueermann, pastor of First Baptist Church in Alamogordo, N.M., as well as “Potluck Podcast,” which is devoted to Southern Baptist news and co-hosted by Jared Cornutt, pastor of Plymouth Park Baptist Church in Irving, Texas, and J. Allen Murray, pastor of Centerville Baptist Church in Centerville, N.C. Henslee recently wrote the book Jonah Over Coffee: A Runaway Prophet and God’s Extraordinary Grace.
Henslee said he wants to put on a conference reflecting the wide range of Southern Baptist pastors.
“In its 86th year, the SBC Pastors’ Conference should allow every pastor the privilege of looking at the platform and seeing themselves represented, encouraged and edified,” he said.
According to ACP reports, Mayhill Baptist Church recorded 175 members in 2020 with 112 in worship attendance. The church gave $23,672 – 11.2% of undesignated receipts – through the Cooperative Program.
In nominating Henslee, Reavis pointed to the need to hear from someone more representative of the average SBC church.
“After a year like 2020 that is carrying its struggles into 2021, many pastors are worn down, weary and can use a word from pastors who may be struggling just like them,” he said. “Our convention consists of a beautiful variety of pastors serving in churches that differ in location, size and cultural context but share a common aim to advance the Kingdom.”
Henslee said regardless of a church’s size or location, “Southern Baptists are at their best when they are working together to share the good news of Jesus. My aim is for the Pastors’ Conference to be a time for all pastors to come together in unity and endeavor to reach the world as we preach the Word.”
Henslee is a graduate of Dallas Baptist University and holds a master of divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he will earn a doctor of ministry degree this May. He and his wife Rebecca have four daughters, whom they adopted in 2015.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Scott Barkley is national correspondent for Baptist Press.)