Looking Back

As we mark yet another Southern Baptist Convention in the history books, many people are asking what the Convention was like and how did it go? Others are asking how we can make things better in the future.

First of all, let me say that I was proud to be part of the entire meeting. We experienced a strong spirit of unity throughout the entirety of the Convention. Despite what some news media, and yes, even fake news, may have said, this year’s SBC annual meeting was one of strong unity and purposeful direction. The Convention was ably and wonderfully led by Dr. Steve Gaines. During the meeting, I saw his heart more than ever before. He truly wants what’s best for God’s Kingdom. He led as a pastor and a prophet. He was elected to a second term, for which I am grateful.

As you might imagine, the Convention sessions are very long, and there are ancillary meetings that fill up the days before and even into the evening following the two-day annual meeting. It is a tiring experience for me, but I came away from this meeting again thankful to be Southern Baptist.

Many people are writing about what went wrong during the Resolutions Committee report. There are many opinions; yet it is obvious that most messengers trusted the committee process. In fact, most messengers trust our SBC leadership a great deal. That makes me nervous at times and always humbles me.

Fortunately, despite some confusion and last-minute deliberations, Southern Baptists were able to present a clear message through the resolutions we adopted, especially the final resolution which was overwhelmingly, if not unanimously, approved on Wednesday morning. It frustrates me, in all honesty, because the message has been sent year after year after year. In fact, if I might be so bold, I get tired of public statements. I would much rather see people act and change the way they behave than focus so much attention on grand and well-stated resolutions. I believe it is time for us to heed the words of the Book of James and be “doers of the Word and not hearers only.”

We can always look for ways to do things better. I assure you that the team at the Executive Committee and all of the SBC officers will be looking for ways that we might improve our processes. We are perhaps the largest deliberative body still in existence. This brings great challenges as well as opportunities. Please pray for us in the days ahead.

It was a great time seeing friends and building new relationships. I came away from the week encouraged. Tired? Yes . . . but encouraged.

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