Southern Baptist Convention 2024

An Update from Pastor Joey

The Southern Baptist Convention concluded last week, attracting thousands from all over our nation. You may have heard updates or read headlines. You might have questions, or might wonder how recent developments will affect our church.

Read on for a letter from Pastor Joey to answer these questions and present his thoughts on the Southern Baptist Convention.

Some Insights from the SBC in Indianapolis

As you know, the Convention meets every year at different places. It is a meeting of “messengers” who are sent by their churches to do the “business” of the convention for the year. You can think of it like a regular church business meeting where only members of the church can vote on the business at hand. The messengers are from SBC churches across the nation that are in “friendly cooperation with the convention” and who have a “faith and practice which closely identifies with the Convention’s adopted statement of faith.” There were close to 10,900 messengers from various SBC churches that showed up in Indianapolis.

Let me give you some Hallelujahs:

In the NAMB report we heard about some of the greatest advances of the Gospel that are happening through church planting all across North America. Since the emphasis of church planting began in 2010, there have been 11,071 churches planted. 27% of all baptisms in states outside the South last year came from churches that have been planted since 2010. Hallelujah!

In the IMB report we heard of the 117,000 baptisms of new believers that have come to Christ through our missions efforts around the world. Hallelujah!

In the report from Send Relief, a combined arm of both NAMB and IMB, we were reminded that Send Relief is not a humanitarian organization within the SBC, but is a gospel-centered work that seeks to bring help and relief to those in need from major disasters, wars, & crisis events all over the world. Over 126,000 salvations were recorded due to the work of Send Relief. Hallelujah!

Among our SBC churches, we heard the wonderful news that baptisms have increased this past year by a huge 26%! Hallelujah.

Let me give you the Highlight:

Tuesday morning, there was an International Mission Board “Sending Celebration” where the IMB presented 83 new missionaries heading out into International Missions. These new missionaries were young, old, married, single, and diverse in race and ethnicity. Of those 83, MOST were going to places where there is danger. That being the case, as those missionaries were presented, we only saw silhouettes of them behind a screen (& in some cases the voices we heard were not their own). We were asked to pray for each of them as they move out to the mission field in obedience to the call of God on their lives. This was truly a highlight as it embodies why we stay committed to the SBC. These missionaries are “our” missionaries. As they go, we go. We must hold them up in prayer and continue to support through our giving. At the same time, we must pray for more laborers to go into the mission field. It is a highlight every year to see missionaries being sent.

Let me give you a Heartache:

We heard that presently in our culture, there are more pastors stepping out of ministry than those who are stepping in. Some of those pastors stepping out are from age or health, while others are just quitting. We need more God-called men to step up and be obedient to pastor God’s people. And we need to pray for our present pastors who are faithfully preaching the word of God to remain faithful to the finish.

Let me help clarify what you may have Heard:

You may have heard that the SBC is now allowing women to be pastors. That is not the case at all. What took place was an amendment (namely the Law Amendment) to the constitution did not meet the required 2/3rds vote to change the constitution. That amendment to the constitution was to add a qualification that among SBC churches, only those that would be considered in friendly cooperation would be those who affirm, appoint or employ “only men as any kind of pastor or elder as qualified by Scripture.” Overwhelmingly, the SBC believe this, as do I.

Then why did the amendment not pass? There were a number of people who felt this amendment was not necessary. We already have this wording in our statement of faith, the Baptist Faith and Message 2000. And the process has been working already as last year, there were churches that were considered “out of fellowship” with the SBC because of their stance of women being able to hold the office of pastor. Even this year, another church, FBC of Alexandria, VA was also voted “out of fellowship” for the same reason. And that vote was a huge 92%! The SBC is not trending in a liberal direction.

The ones who wanted to adopt the amendment said that it needed to be clearly written and placed in the by-laws. The ones who did not want the amendment, though in agreement with its concept and core, said that if adopted, it may cause some undue difficulty with some churches that call women on staff “pastor” who really do not serve as pastor. If the amendment had passed, there was concern that some churches would no longer be in friendly cooperation with the SBC simply because they have a woman who is a children’s director or choir director that the church has given the title “pastor.” There was also the unanswered question as to how the SBC would police this new amendment. Those thoughts, as well as the fact that the process we have in place is already working, is what caused the amendment to fail.

On another note, there were 10 resolutions brought forward, some amended and all voted on.  Since I left early due to contracting Covid, I do not have all the details about each of those, but I can likely answer any questions you may have.  Keep in mind that a resolution is a non-binding exhaustive statement from the convention that is the opinion of the messengers in the convention hall at the time of the meeting.  Since each church is autonomous, any Southern Baptist church may or may not fully agree with all of those resolutions, though they are presented as a witness to the world in how the SBC applies the Bible to current issues.

I hope that helps to clarify some things you may have heard.

Overall, the convention was encouraging and reminded me again why I am grateful to be counted among them. God is at work among our missions partners. He is moving in our churches. His word is still being preached, and it is still believed to be the inerrant, infallible, authoritative Word of God. In a culture that is rapidly running against the Word, the SBC is still standing firm upon it. Hallelujah!


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