Month: May 2022

Ongoing prayers for the end of Roe

CARY, N.C. (BP) – Nearly 50 years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion nationwide through its decision in a case known as Roe v. Wade. Since that time, millions of Christians have been praying for the reversal of that decision, and now there are strong indications the high court is closer than ever.

Monday evening a national news outlet released what it claimed was a draft opinion signaling that the court intends to make a decision in the current Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case that would overturn Roe v. Wade. The high court later confirmed that the draft opinion, while not final, was authentic.

If the court comes to that final decision, it would remove federal protection for elective abortions and represent a pivotal moment for our nation. The sanctity of life is a profound moral issue.

Pre-born children, like all humans, are made in the image of God and worthy of our care. That conviction has roots deep in Christian theology, and it extends far beyond the latest political or judicial moment. What will it take to make abortion unnecessary and unthinkable?

The end of Roe v. Wade would not signal the end of our prayers and advocacy on behalf of vulnerable and voiceless children, but rather a new beginning. While we should celebrate any progress made toward stronger protections for unborn lives, there is still much work to do.

As we strive toward a day when every image bearer receives the honor and dignity they deserve, we must remember that prayer is not our last resort. It’s our primary strategy.

Here are four ways you can pray in the days ahead.

Pray for members of the U.S. Supreme Court

The nine justices that make up our nation’s highest court will receive an immense amount of political and social pressure as we await their final decision on Dobbs v. Jackson. Chief Justice John Roberts has expressed a strong desire for the court to stand against undue pressure. Pray for them to have wisdom and courage from above so they can render a judgment in accordance with godliness.

Pray for state lawmakers

Overturning Roe v. Wade would not ban abortions nationwide, but rather leave the issue up to each state legislature. For years, many state representatives have been doing the necessary legislative work to shore up protections for the unborn. Pray for these local leaders to continue working diligently.

Pray for churches to extend compassion and care

There is a common misconception that Christian pro-life advocates only care about children up until birth. A 2013 report by Barna Research indicates that practicing Christians adopt children at more than double the rate of the general population. In my state, I’m thankful for the Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina, which has been leading in this effort for many years. We are working together on an ambitious goal to end childhood homelessness in our state through the “Every Child” initiative. Many other conventions and associations have similar compassion ministries for orphans and mothers in crisis. As you pray for these efforts, also ask how you might get involved. While you may not feel called to foster or adopt, there are a number of ways you can support those who do.

Pray for your family, friends and neighbors

Abortion is a highly controversial issue about which people have sharply contradictory views. Like other topics, it has the ability to stir disagreement and division. The issue may also feel deeply personal and difficult for women who have undergone abortion procedures. Pray for opportunities to speak with conviction and grace about how the Gospel of Jesus Christ offers hope and redemption for all people.

May God continue to use us as a movement of churches on mission together. On mission together to protect the innocent, care for the hurting and vulnerable, and stand for every man, woman and child made in the image of God.

‘The Image of God: What It Means to be Human in a Culture of Death’ to be held at SWBTS

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Multiple organizations, including the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Commission, are partnering together on an important event to address the topic of “The Image of God: What it Means to be Human in a Culture of Death.”

The event will be held May 24-25 at the Riley Center on the campus of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Other partnering organizations include Stand For Life, an ERLC initiative, and SWBTS’s Land Center for Cultural Engagement.

Featured speakers include:

  • John Kilner, Professor Emeritus of Bioethics and Contemporary Culture, Trinity International University;
  • Scott Rae, Dean of Faculty and Professor of Christian Ethics, Talbot School of Theology, Biola University;
  • Jennifer Marshall Patterson, Director of the Institute of Theology and Public Life, Reformed Theological Seminary;
  • Ben Mitchell, Graves Chair of Moral Philosophy, Union University;
  • John Stonestreet, President, Colson Center for Christian Worldview; and
  • Thomas Kidd, Research Professor of Church History, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Full scholarships are available for pre-conference participants upon request. Online registration is available here.

The colloquium will be held as a pre-conference to a two-track Faculty Development Conference, May 25-27, hosted by the International Alliance for Christian Education.

One track will focus on faculty members who have been teaching less than five years, while the other will be designed for those with extensive classroom experience and aspirations for attaining positions such as program director, department chair or dean.

Separate registrations are required for the pre-conference and the Faculty Development Conference, even for those attending both events.

Burleson pastor, church member join group ministering to Ukrainian refugees in Romania

The pastor of Burleson’s NorthPointe Church, Landon Dees, was part of a group that went to Campulung and Sighetu, Romania, to serve, encourage, and share the gospel with refugees along with the group Manna Worldwide.

Dees ministers to a congregation of over 600 people who support his heart for the lost and the importance of mission.

“We challenge our people to live their lives on mission and look for every opportunity to have gospel conversations and identify needs that our church can meet,” Dees said. “When it comes to missions at a distance, our goal is the same.”

Dees was able to observe God at work in the middle of the chaos. “Two Christian brothers from Ukraine, Vlad and Alex, drove down from Kyiv to load up on supplies to bring back to those in need. We helped them load then listened to their testimonies and prayed over them. I admired their strength in the Lord to go back into harm’s way for the good of others and for the glory of Christ,” Dees said.

While on mission in Romania, Dees shared that his group spent one day of their trip in Campulung, Romania, where their mission partners oversee a family home/orphanage. There were about 30 Ukrainian refugees staying at the home and Dees and his group spent the evening listening to stories of God’s faithfulness and singing songs together “each in our own language.”

In Marmației, Romania, which sits on the border of Ukraine, Dees said there were several churches that he and his group worked alongside and assisted with restocking their supplies. NorthPointe and other partner churches gave funds to buy food, water, medical supplies, and more.

Sharing the gospel and the love of Christ was a major priority for the mission team.

“At one church we spent time with Ukrainian refugees, primarily women and children since the men had to stay back. To see these people displaced from their homes was heartbreaking,” Dees said, “but to see how this local church was caring for them and to hear how over 400 refugees that stayed there had heard about the hope only found in Christ was incredible.”

The team was composed of six American pastors (including him), four Manna missionaries, and three lay people (including Michael Luedtke, also from NorthPointe).

“We simply partner with local churches in communities around the world and join them in the work the Lord is doing there. One of the ways we do this is through our partnership with Manna Worldwide,” Dees said.

He’s partnering with the organization to go to Nicaragua and has also ministered through Manna in Cuba on three different occasions. Dees shared that the servants at Manna “do a fantastic job” at finding like-minded churches around the globe, primarily in impoverished places, then join them to help meet the needs in their communities. Often this is through feeding programs, schools, and medical clinics.

“It is through that partnership that we joined the work in Romania ministering to Ukrainian refugees,” he said.

Dees is currently working on his Masters of Theology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Krystal, are evangelistically driven and support the Cooperative Program by giving through the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. In 2021, NorthPointe had 50 baptisms, and he baptizes those who accept Jesus as Lord on the first of every month.

Dees said he is blessed to serve at NorthPointe: “God made it abundantly clear through prayer, fasting, and the affirmation of others that it was where he was calling us to serve. The people of NorthPointe have been gracious and kind, and the Lord has shown us favor with substantial spiritual and numerical growth.”

The pastor asked for prayer for their mission partners and pastors in Romania and Ukraine.

“They are working very hard and are at the point of exhaustion,” he said. “Pray that God would allow NorthPointe to continue to minister to them and support them during this time, that Christ’s name would be made known through these difficult circumstances.”


Leaked SCOTUS draft gives hope for reversing Roe

WASHINGTON (BP) – Pro-life advocates reacted hopefully to the report of a leaked draft opinion within the U.S. Supreme Court that would overturn its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion nationwide.

In a stunning development Monday evening (May 2), Politico – a politics- and policy-focused news organization – published a copy of a draft of an opinion by Associate Justice Samuel Alito that would strike down the Roe ruling if it becomes final. A source familiar with the court’s work said four other associate justices – Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett – sided with Alito in a conference vote after oral arguments in December, Politico reported in an article that include a link to the draft. They remain united on the opinion as of its report, Politico said.

The opinion leaked apparently from within a court that is highly secretive about its proceedings regarding a Mississippi ban on abortion after 15 weeks’ gestation. The state, as well as the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) and other pro-life organizations, had urged the high court not only to uphold the 15-week prohibition contested in the case – Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization – but to overturn Roe and the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey opinion that affirmed that decision.

Roe was an “abuse of judicial authority,” Alito wrote in the leaked draft, which included a note that it was circulated Feb. 10 to the other justices. “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences. And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division.”

If the high court overturns Roe and Casey in its final opinion, the ruling would return abortion policy to the states.

In a news release Tuesday morning (May 3), the Supreme Court confirmed the draft opinion is “authentic,” but “it does not represent a decision by the Court or the final position of any member on the issues in the case.”

In the release, Chief Justice John Roberts described the leak as a “serious and egregious breach” of the trust of the high court. He has ordered the marshal of the Supreme Court to begin an investigation into the source of the leak, Roberts said.

Justices may change their votes before a final opinion is published. Such a reversal reportedly occurred after an initial draft reversing Roe was circulated among the justices in the Planned Parenthood case.

Five justices voted in conference after oral arguments in Planned Parenthood to strike down Roe, and Chief Justice William Rehnquist sent the court’s members a draft opinion in late May 1992 that would have done so, the late Associate Justice John Paul Stevens said in a 2019 memoir, according to The Washington Post. Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy reversed course, however, and joined in a late June ruling that upheld Roe while permitting some state restrictions.

Southern Baptist and other pro-life supporters expressed prayerful hope the justices in the majority will stand firm in their decision to overturn Roe. They also encouraged followers of Jesus to prepare to aid vulnerable women if the opinion holds.

Ed Litton, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, said in a written statement provided to BP, “Christians have sought the end of Roe for nearly 50 years. We must pray now for the resolve of the Court to cement its reversal.

“At the same time, the church must stand ready to love, serve and support women and families in need,” said Litton, senior pastor of Redemption Church in Saraland, Ala. “Let us thank God for the possibility of seeing the specter of this unjust ruling removed from our nation forever. And let us prepare for the next phase of pro-life ministry.”

Brent Leatherwood, the ERLC’s acting president, described it as “a breathtaking development in every sense of the phrase.”

“Assuming it truly remains a majority opinion – which could still change – it means we are one step closer to ending the Roe-Casey abortion framework that has taken more than 60 million innocent lives, fractured families, marginalized mothers and harmed this nation for nearly 50 years,” he said in written remarks for BP. If this majority holds, witnessing a day where that regime is ended cannot come soon enough.

“By overturning the Roe-Casey precedents and eliminating the number one factor inhibiting pro-life laws from taking effect, our nation can begin to establish a true culture of life by giving states the freedom to pursue policies that protect preborn children. Christians should be in earnest prayer for such a moment to be reality.

“At the same time, we must avoid losing sight of mothers who are in a cycle of fear or maybe even in crisis at this moment,” Leatherwood said. “[O]ur words in this moment should not be ones of mere celebration, but also of care. Our care must alleviate their fears and show that the welfare of mother and child do not have to be pitted against one another.”

Leatherwood urged the Supreme Court “to move with all deliberate speed to finalize and publish this decision as soon as possible. [I]t would show, despite their differences, these justices will not be bullied by those seeking to operate outside of its established processes. So I will be praying for each justice and their safety, for this majority to hold firm for life and for them collectively to have the fortitude to withstand the torrent of criticism that is likely coming their way.”

Elizabeth Graham, the ERLC’s vice president of operations and life initiatives, said she is hopeful about the potential ruling and “optimistic because I think there is a shift happening in our culture that is moving to a holistic view of life – where every human life is protected because they are created in God’s image and have inherent dignity and worth.

“It is not enough to make abortion illegal; we must work to make abortion unnecessary and unthinkable,” she said in written comments for BP. “This means we must address the underlying reasons why a woman believes she has no other option but to choose abortion. So regardless of what the Court decides, I am hopeful the church will continue serving abortion vulnerable women, as it’s done for many years.”

Chelsea Sobolik, the ERLC’s director of public policy, told BP in writing, “If the disastrous precedents set in Roe and Casey are indeed overturned, and they should be, there will be growing numbers of vulnerable women and children in need of care and support. The church must continue to stand on the frontlines of caring for women and children.”

Steven Aden, chief legal officer of Americans United for Life, said “this draft opinion language is to be applauded” and described it as “outrageous” that the draft was leaked.

“It is a cynical and naked attempt to pressure justices to alter course in Dobbs and to perpetuate abortion violence,” he said. “The Court should maintain the moral high ground, stick to the clear and courageous language of this draft opinion, and not allow itself to be ruled by the expectations of pro-abortion activists or proxy media allies.”

President Biden called for legislative action to support abortion rights if the Alito opinion becomes the Supreme Court’s decision in the case.

If the justices reverse Roe, “it will fall on our nation’s elected officials at all levels of government to protect a woman’s right to choose,” Biden said in a statement Tuesday. “At the federal level, we will need more pro-choice Senators and a pro-choice majority in the House [of Representatives] to adopt legislation that codifies Roe, which I will work to pass and sign into law.”

Alexis McGill Johnson, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, called the draft opinion “horrifying and unprecedented” and said her organization “will continue to fight” to protect abortion access.

In the leaked draft, Alito said Roe and Casey “must be overruled. The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision, including the one on which the defenders of Roe and Casey now chiefly rely,” the 14th Amendment’s Due Process Clause.

“On many other occasions, this Court has overruled important constitutional decisions,” he wrote. “Without these decisions, American constitutional law as we know it would be unrecognizable, and this would be a different country.”

As an example, Alito cited the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson decision that upheld racial segregation through what became known as the “separate but equal” doctrine. The high court basically and finally overturned the ruling in 1954.

“Roe was on a collision course with the Constitution from the day it was decided, and Casey perpetuated its errors, and the errors do not concern some arcane corner of the law of little importance to the American people,” Alito wrote. “Rather, wielding nothing but ‘raw judicial power’” – quoting from Associate Justice Byron White’s dissent to Roe – “the Court usurped the power to address a question of profound moral and social importance that the Constitution unequivocally leaves for the people.”

If the Supreme Court overturns Roe, 26 states are certain or likely to prohibit abortion, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research and policy organization affiliated with the abortion-rights movement.

Nine states have enacted a total of 33 pro-life laws so far this year, Guttmacher reported April 15. Among those are a near-total prohibition on abortion and bans at different stages of pregnancy. In addition, seven states have enacted 11 abortion-supporting laws in 2022, according to Guttmacher’s April 15 report.

The United States has one of the most permissive abortion policies in the world. A 2021 study by the pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institute showed 47 of 50 European countries prohibit elective abortions or restrict them to 15 weeks or earlier. The United States reportedly is one of only six countries, including China and North Korea, that permit elective abortions after 20 weeks’ gestation.

What’s your story? Adoption has increased our capacity to love

I’ve been a member of the church I pastor since 1998. I found Ridgewood in the yellow pages  after I came back home to Southeast Texas from college. Shortly after I joined,  I became the principal and athletic director for five years of the church’s private school. During those five years, the church relocated to Port Arthur. In the fall of 2004, I became the lead pastor. 

My long tenure serving at a church in my hometown is unique. My family dynamics are even more unique. My wife, Kerri, and I met at Ridgewood in 1998. I guess you could say I found her in the yellow pages, too. Kerri and I had plans for a large family that would grow through both biological and adoptive children. We just had no idea that adoption alone was how the Lord would expand our household.

Our adoption journey began in the fall of 2005. Kerri called me while evacuated for Hurricane Rita to let me know that we had been chosen to adopt two little girls. Two weeks later in a parsonage that was half-livable, we welcomed a five- and two-year-old into our family. They are now 21 and 18.  

Shortly after, we had the opportunity of our lives to take home our third daughter from the hospital as a newborn. At the time we might not have called it the opportunity of our lives, as we were anxious the unknown. Our daughter, who is now 14, has Trisomy 21: Down syndrome. We found out about her at 8 p.m. on a Thursday night and took her home at noon on Friday, clueless of the stressful joyride we were embarking on. 

I tell others that adoption increases your capacity to love as you experience and understand God’s love more fully, knowing that He has adopted you.

We had the blessing of getting our next two children at birth, as well. Our only boy, and fourth child, is now 12. He is a typical redhead. Our caboose, who is our fourth daughter and is Black, is now 11 years old. We are a diverse family that gets plenty of stares everywhere we go.

There are several things I share with folks about adoption. First, I’ll always say that growth is in the process. The growth is in the journey and it is humbling, as adoption exposes your selfishness and the idols you have about what you want your family to look like and be like. It’s gut-wrenching when you and your spouse go through agency paperwork listing which kids you’re willing to take. You see how selfish you are as you rate how likely or not likely you are to take a life into your home based on their ethnicity, disabilities, or deformities.

Second, I tell others that adoption increases your capacity to love as you experience and understand God’s love more fully, knowing that He has adopted you. It is a beautiful picture of the gospel.

Third, I share how adoption teaches you how to depend heavily on the sovereignty of God.  There are many disappointments and roadblocks along the way. We Americans pretty much control our own lives; if we want something, we know how to get it. If we can’t afford something, we figure out a way to make it happen or use a credit card. When you go through the process of adoption, you realize that this is an area you simply can’t control. 

Our kids have only known one church. Ridgewood has been a blessing to our family and has grown along with us in our journey. At one point, we had 21 adopted children in our congregation, and the church has paid out around $30,000 in adoption grants to members. Ridgewood is a safe place to be vulnerable about your ups and downs. It’s a place where it is OK to be not OK. Much of this vulnerability has been birthed through the church standing by us in our unique and unusual journey as a family over the last two decades.

Ridgewood has been a blessing to our family and has grown along with us in our journey. At one point, we had 21 adopted children in our congregation, and the church has paid out around $30,000 in adoption grants to members.

I need to share how the adoption of our daughter with Down syndrome has changed us all and has led Ridgewood to lead the way in Southeast Texas in serving the No. 1 unreached people group in North America: people with special needs and their families. For the last four years, we have hosted Night to Shine (NTS), sponsored by The Tim Tebow Foundation, which is a prom night for people with special needs. NTS SETX has allowed us to reach over 200 individuals with special needs and their families, host over 500 volunteers from the community, and have over 25 community sponsors. After our first NTS, the matriarch of our church who, with her husband, founded the church in 1958, stood up and said, “I’ve been here over 60 years, and this is the best thing I’ve ever seen us do.” That says volumes, as Ridgewood has a rich history of outreach that predates me. We’re experiencing the fruit of many that have gone before us.

What’s my story? God has given my church and my family a greater capacity for love and a deeper dependence on the sovereignty of God through the process of adoption.

What's your story?

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Committee on Nominations report released

ANAHEIM (BP) — The SBC Committee on Nominations has released its 2022 report in advance of the 2022 SBC Annual Meeting to be held June 14-15. Per SBC bylaws, the report is to be released through Baptist Press no later than 45 days prior to the gathering.

The 2022 committee was chaired by Leah Finn, a member of Mountain Creek Baptist Church in Greenville, S.C. Finn told Baptist Press that “throughout the process, the Committee on Nominations prayed for nominees who exemplify humility, willingness to serve and a fervent commitment to the church and the SBC. In addition to those biblical traits, this slate brings a vast range of experience, skill and diversity that will benefit the SBC and build the kingdom of God.”

Ninety-four new nominees were named in the initial report with a handful of vacancies yet to be filled by the committee. The final report will be printed in the 2022 Annual Meeting Tuesday Bulletin and brought as a slate for convention approval on Tuesday (June 14) afternoon.

The 94 nominees include 29 women (31 percent) and 65 men (69 percent). The ethnic breakdown of the nominees includes 84 percent Anglo, 9 percent Black, 4 percent Asian, 2 percent Hispanic, and 1 percent Native American.

SBC Executive Committee

Term expires in 2023

Alabama: Craig Carlisle, First, Gadsden; replacing Paul S. Hicks, Good Shepherd Community, Hayden.
Arizona: Mark Martin, CalvaryPHX, Phoenix; replacing Chad Garrison, Calvary, Lake Havasu City.
Florida: *David Twiddy, Mission Hill, Temple Terrace; replacing *Rod D. Martin, Rocky Bayou, Niceville.
Georgia: *Travis Walker, Gospel Hope, Avondale Estates; replacing *Ricardo Avila, Amistad Cristiana International, Gainesville.
Pennsylvania-South Jersey: Fred J. Neal Jr., Harvest, Kittanning, Pa.; replacing Kim Grueser, Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Tennessee: *Erin D. Bryson, First, Dickson; replacing Robyn A. Hari, ClearView, Franklin.
Texas: Russ Barksdale, Rush Creek, Arlington; replacing Barbara Norris, First, Waskom.

Term expires in 2024

Alabama: *Dana H. McCain, First, Dothan; replacing L. Melissa Carlisle Golden, First, Prattville.
North Carolina: *Jana J. White, Freedom, Lincolnton; replacing Modena Henderson, Mercy, Charlotte.
Virginia: *Joshua A. (Josh) Hetzler, Colonial Heights, South Chesterfield; replacing *H. Robert (Rob) Showers, Gateway Community, South Riding

Term expires in 2025

Kansas-Nebraska: *Sanford W. Peterson, Emmanuel, Overland Park, Kan.; replacing Mark R. Elliott, LifeSpring, Bellevue, Neb.
Tennessee: Vacant; replacing Chuck T. Williams, First, Covington.

Term expires in 2026

Alabama: *Ann Stafford, Southside, Dothan; replacing Phyllis S. Ingram, First, Montgomery.
Arkansas: *Donald J. Wells Sr., Second, Conway; replacing *Paul E. (Gene) McPherson, First, Benton.
California: Anthony L. Dockery, St. Stephen Missionary, La Puente; replacing Rolland E. Slade, Meridian, El Cajon.
Georgia: *Clyde A. Chester, Tabernacle, Cartersville; replacing *Cheryl S. Samples, Picketts Mill, Dallas.
Georgia: Landon Dowden, Hebron, Dacula; replacing Michael R. (Mike) Stone, Emmanuel, Blackshear.
Louisiana: John S. (Jack) Hunter, First, New Orleans; replacing Mike Holloway, Ouachita, West Monroe.
Missouri: *Curtis R. Ballard, Genesis, Eureka; replacing *James E. Freeman, County Meadows, Independence.
South Carolina: *Sarah H. Rogers, Christ Fellowship, Greenville; replacing Robert W. (Bob) Neeley, First, Spartanburg.
Tennessee: Corey A. Cain, First, Seymour; replacing Ron F. Hale, West Jackson, Jackson.
Texas: Byron V. McWilliams, First, Odessa; replacing Stephen Swofford, First, Rockwall.
Utah-Idaho: Michael E. Pless, Redeeming Life, Bountiful, Utah; replacing James Gregory, First Southern, Mountain Home, Idaho.
Virginia: Drew Landry, Spotswood, Fredericksburg; replacing Timothy Hight, GraceLife, Christiansburg.

Eligible to serve another term expiring in 2026:

Alabama: Neal Hughes, Heritage, Montgomery.
Alaska: Todd O. Burgess, First, Eagle River.
Arkansas: Mollie Duddleston, Cross, Springdale.
Florida: *Archalena B. Coats, Kingdom Covenant, Miami.
Iowa: Todd Stiles, First Family, Ankeny.
Kentucky: John A. Lucas, First, Pikeville.
Mississippi: Daniel L. (Dan) Lanier, Northcrest, Meridian.
Montana: Caleb T. Groteluschen, Capstone, Helena.
North Carolina: Christopher N. Dickerson, Arran Lake, Fayetteville.
Texas: *James D. (Jim) Green, Sagemont, Houston.

GuideStone Financial Resources

Term expires in 2026

Alabama: *James E. (Eric) Morgan, First, Prattville; replacing *David S. Puckett, Shades Mountain, Birmingham.
New York: Vacant; replacing *Rene A. Trewick, Bronx, Bronx.

Eligible to serve another term expiring in 2026:

Arkansas: *David M. Rainwater, Immanuel, Little Rock.
Georgia: *Deana F. Hames, First, Woodstock.
Missouri: Timothy R. (Tim) Huddleston, Osage Hills, Osage Beach.
Nevada: Damian Cirincione, Shadow Hills, Las Vegas.
Oklahoma: *James R. (Jim) Scrivner, First, Ada.
South Carolina: *Gary L. Stooksbury, Millbrook, Aiken.
Tennessee: *Christopher L. (Chris) Kelly, Third, Murfreesboro

International Mission Board

Term expires in 2024

Arizona: Stephen P. Hayes, North Phoenix, Phoenix; replacing Bret D. Burnett, Mountain View, Tucson.

Term expires in 2025

North Carolina: *Shannon Wallace, Christ Community, Huntersville; replacing Will Gatling, Bay Leaf, Raleigh.

Term expires in 2026

Alabama: Tracie M. Griggs, Southside, Southside; replacing Cecil M. Sanders Jr., First, Headland.
Georgia: *Kristen Nichols, Mercy Hill, Marietta; replacing William H. (Bill) Ricketts, Prince Avenue, Bogart.
Mississippi: *Justin Ryan Lohmeier, Hillcrest, New Albany; replacing *William H. (Opie) Hurst, Harrisburg, Tupelo.
New England: *Allison Karr Blessen, City on a Hill, Brookline, Mass.; replacing Sam Taylor, Nashua, Nashua, N.H.
North Carolina: Vacant; replacing Michael Cloer, Englewood, Rocky Mount.
Ohio: *Marci C. Hare, First, Heath; replacing Lawrence (Larry) Lambes, Hillcrest, Carlisle.
Tennessee: *Timothy S. Sheehy, Cornerstone, Germantown; replacing Phillip D. Mitchell, First, Adamsville.
Texas: *Mary Jane Schwarz, First, McAllen; replacing *Thom Polvogt, First, Katy.
Texas: Gregory H. Pickering, Brazos Pointe, Lake Jackson; replacing Robert M. (Mike) Simmons, Hillcrest, Cedar Hill.

Eligible to serve another term expiring in 2026:

Florida: Alan M. Brumback, Central, Sanford.
Georgia: *Joyce A. Chambers, Grace, Monroe.
Hawaii: Christopher Martin, Makakilo, Kapolei.
Nevada: Thomas R. McCormick Jr., Hope, Las Vegas.
New Mexico: John E. Hinze, First, Tucumcari.
Oklahoma: Chris B. Wall, First, Owasso.
South Carolina: R. Marshall Blalock, First, Charleston.
Texas: John B. McCullough, Berea, Big Springs.
Texas: James C. (Cliff) Mayton, Memorial, Spring.
Texas: William T. (Tommy) Turner, First, Paris.
Utah-Idaho: David A. Edmunds, Hope, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Wyoming: Daniel R. Brubeck, North Cheyenne, Cheyenne.

Lifeway Christian Resources

Term expires in 2023

Arizona: *Janet W. Shrader, Casas Adobes, Tucson; replacing Cheri Dempsay, First Sahuaro Ranch, Glendale.

Term expires in 2024

New York: Vacant; replacing *Judith Sonich, Bellewood, North Syracuse.
North Carolina: *Joshua Benfield, Fairview, Apex; replacing Yana J. Conner, Oaks, Raleigh.
Virginia: *Elaine D. Hanger, Parkway, Moseley; replacing Gary Comeforo, The Heights, Colonial Heights.

Term expires in 2025

Georgia: *Princess S. Moon, Image, Marietta; replacing Randall P. (Randy) Smith, Johnson Ferry, Marietta.

Term expires in 2026

Florida: Scott E. Yirka, Hibernia, Fleming Island; replacing James H. (Jimmy) Scroggins, Family, West Palm Beach.
Louisiana: *Seane S. Rice, Connect, New Orleans; replacing *J.D. Perry, Florida Boulevard, Baton Rouge.
New Mexico: *Kristin L. Overman, First, Albuquerque; replacing *Linda K. Dean, Emmanuel, Farmington.
Oklahoma: *Lana E. Gragert, First, Choctaw; replacing *Christopher (Todd) Fannin, Life Fellowship, Pryor.
Tennessee: *Beth Greene, First Concord, Knoxville; replacing *Burt Landers, First, Shelbyville.
Texas: Tony Wolfe, Lakeland, Lewisville; replacing Brad H. McLean, First, New Braunfels.
Texas: Wes T. Terry, Broadview, Abilene; replacing Brice D. Mandaville, First, Seguin.
Texas: Ryan J. Gilbert, Lamar, Arlington; replacing Roger A. Yancey, West Conroe, Conroe.

Eligible to serve another term expiring in 2026:

Alabama: Benjamin D. Posey, First, Leroy.
Florida: Curtis D. Clark, Thomasville Road, Tallahassee.
Mississippi: Derrick Burt, First, Natchez.
Ohio: Chad Keck, First Kettering.
Pennsylvania-South Jersey: *Madeline Harris, Ezekiel, Philadelphia, Pa.
South Carolina: *Cynthia M. Cook, South Main Street, Greenwood.
Texas: Jacob M. Fitzgerald, Denman Avenue, Lufkin.

North American Mission Board

Term expires in 2023

West Virginia: Mason A. Ballard, Resurrection, Charleston; replacing Brandon Carter, Cross Lanes, Cross Lanes.

Term expires in 2025

South Carolina: Wallace H. Harris, First, Simpsonville; replacing Randy Bradley, Locust Hill, Travelers Rest.
Texas: Stephen B. Trammel, First, Houston; replacing Kenneth W. Priest, Prestonwood, Plano.

Term expires in 2026

Alabama: Vacant; replacing Charles M. (Danny) Wood, Shades Mountain, Birmingham.
New England: *Heather L. Kirk, Renewal, Boston, Mass.; replacing David Saylor, First, Manchester, Conn.
North Carolina: *David E. Amiss, Poplar Spring, Bunn; replacing *Cynthia E. (Cindy) Bush, Bay Leaf, Raleigh.
Northwest: *Daniel B. Kim, Well Community, Bellevue, Wash.; replacing Robert J. (Bob) Lowe, First, Yelm, Wash.
Texas: Jeff Young, Champion Forest, Houston; replacing Denny J. Gorena, First, Leopard.
Texas: *Amy N. Thompson, Redeemer, Lubbock; replacing *Zoila Lopez, First, Forney.
Texas: Caleb M. Turner, Mesquite Friendship, Mesquite; replacing Jarrett L. Stephens, Champion Forest, Houston.

Eligible to serve another term expiring in 2026:

Florida: Brian E. Nall, Olive, Pensacola.
Florida: William E. (Willy) Rice, Calvary, Clearwater.
Louisiana: Gevan L. Spivey, First, Haughton.
Mississippi: Tommy Mitchell, Agricola, Lucedale.
Mississippi: Bill H. Wright, First, Purvis.
Texas: Bill L. Coffey, Pinecrest, Silsbee.

Gateway Seminary

Term expires in 2024

West Virginia: Vacant; replacing Donald R. Yeager, Southside, Parkersburg.

Term expires in 2025

Virginia: Don L. Paxton, Rosedale, Abingdon; replacing *Raul Lozoya, Remnant, Richmond.

Term expires in 2026

Maryland-Delaware-DC: Keith Myer, Harvest, Salisbury, Md.; replacing *Mark Trammell, Mt. Airy, Mt. Airy, Md.
At-Large: Vacant; replacing Matt Carter, Sagemont, Houston.

Term expires in 2027

Arkansas: Kelly D. Womack, Grand Avenue, Fort Smith; replacing Ronnie H. Deal, First, Greenwood.
Michigan: Jerome Taylor, Eastgate, Burton; replacing Roberto R. Santos, Philippine International, Taylor.
Oklahoma: Heath Tucker, Waterloo Road, Edmond; replacing M. Dale Griffin, Immanuel, Shawnee.
At-Large: Young S. McCann, Journey, San Luis Obispo, Calif.; replacing *Robert Evans, First, San Francisco, Calif.

Eligible to serve another term expiring in 2027:

Illinois: Kevin Carrothers, First, Rochester.
Pennsylvania-South Jersey: *Thomas M. (Tom) Toone, East Shore, Harrisburg, Pa.
South Carolina: *Charles H. (Chuck) Morton, First, Taylors.
At-Large: Walter A. Price, Fellowship in the Pass, Beaumont, Calif.

Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Term expires in 2024

Mississippi: Vacant; replacing *Douglas C. Rule, First, Jackson.

Term expires in 2025

Local: Vacant.; replacing Nathan G. Rose, Liberty, Liberty, Mo.

Term expires in 2027

Alabama: *Kris D. Cornutt, Twelfth Street, Rainbow City, replacing *Ben O. Character, Meadowbrook, Oxford.
Louisiana: Jason P. Kees, East Leesville, Leesville; replacing Randall H. Tompkins, Calvary, Alexandria.
Oklahoma: *Kelli Northcutt, First, Ponca City; replacing *Larry W. Sheppard, Clearview, Broken Arrow.
Local: *Wade R. Pruitt, First, Clinton, Okla.; replacing Bryan C. Pain, First, Duncan, Okla.

Eligible to serve another term expiring in 2027:

Indiana: Larry T. Lewis, Vann Avenue, Evansville.
Texas: *David C. Shanks, Travis Avenue, Fort Worth.
Local: Jacob A. McMillian, Journey, St. Joseph, Mo.

New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary

Term expires in 2023

Nevada: Vacant; replacing Samuel J. (Sam) Crouch, Calvary, Elko.
Local: Vacant; replacing *Gary W. Fordham, First, Petal.

Term expires in 2026

Kentucky: Brian C. Hinton, Highview, Louisville; replacing Tim L. Searcy, Allen, Allen.

Term expires in 2027

Maryland-Delaware-DC: Rhonda B. Caldwell, Kettering, Upper Marlboro, Md.; replacing *Daniel Shieh, Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.
New Mexico: Michael Kirby, Central, Clovis; replacing David G. Brittain, Celebration, Rio Rancho.
Local: Reggie L. Bridges, Temple, Ruston, La.; replacing Michael E. (Mike) Shaw, First, Pelham.

Eligible to serve another term expiring in 2027:

Arkansas: Larry D. White, Central, Conway.
Florida: Mark W. Warnock, Family, West Palm Beach.
Mississippi: *William P. (Phil) Hanberry, Temple, Hattiesburg.
Ohio: Timothy E. Binns, First, Fairborn.

Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

Term expires in 2027

Local: *Ronnie W. Campbell, Swift Creek, Midlothian, Va.; replacing *Charles H. Cranford, Carmel, Charlotte, N.C.
Local: *Joe Maltempi, The Heights, South Chesterfield, Va.; replacing *James R. Marston Jr., Hyland Heights, Lynchburg, Va.

Eligible to serve another term expiring in 2027:

Alabama: Ed Litton, Redemption, Saraland.
Arkansas: Ryan A. Martin, University, Fayetteville.
Florida: Aaron, D. Burgner, Lakes, Lakeland.
New York: Charles E. (Chuck) Jennings, Ridgewood, Lockport.

Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Term expires in 2025

Local: *Mark A. Jordan, Third Avenue, Louisville, Ky.; replacing *Howard A. Pope, Hurstbourne, Louisville, Ky.

Term expires in 2027

Arkansas: *Tamara J. Buck, Second, Conway; replacing Jeff D. Breeding, Midtown, Little Rock.
Arkansas: Courtney Reissig, Immanuel, Little Rock; replacing Nick G. Floyd, Cross, Springdale.
California: Stephen A. Jones, Immanuel, Highland; Alfred M. (Merril) Smoak Jr., Trinity, Livermore.
Kentucky: *Glen W. (Wayne) Braswell, Porter Memorial, Lexington; replacing Elizabeth H. (Ellie) Coursey, First, Henderson.
Local: *Margaret G. Beachy, Ballardsville, Crestwood, Ky.; replacing *Patricia A. Skelton, Salem, Shelbyville, Ky.

Eligible to serve another term expiring in 2027:

Florida: H.B. Charles Jr., Shiloh, Jacksonville.
Oklahoma: *Harold D. Mathena, Quail Springs, Oklahoma City.
Tennessee: *Bobby T. Hancock, Bellevue, Cordova.
Texas: *Sally M. Ramsay, Champion Forest, Houston.
Local: *Thomas N. (Nat) Millican, Highview, Louisville.
At-Large: Bryan T. Myers, Faith, Fairbanks, Alaska.

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Term expires in 2023

Florida: Bob Bumgarner, Chets Creek, Jacksonville; replacing Herb M. Reavis Jr., North Jacksonville, Jacksonville.
At-Large: *George E. West II, North Garland, Garland, Texas; replacing *Jeanine D. Sanchez, High Point, Austin.

Term expires in 2027

Georgia: *Andrew Bunnell, Prince Avenue, Bogart; replacing Jeff W. Crook, Blackshear Place, Flowery Branch.
Ohio: *Joshua W. Grega, Lifepoint, Lewis Center; replacing Cornelious C. (Connie) Hancock, Springboro, Springboro.
Texas: *Timothy A. Rothberg, Sagemont, Houston; replacing J. Kie Bowman, Hyde Park, Austin.
At-Large: Joshua W. Allen, Parkway Hills, Plano, Texas; replacing *Don Whorton, First, Dallas, Texas.

Eligible to serve another term expiring in 2027:

Indiana: John C. Horn, City View, Avon.
Louisiana: *Leon A. Stamm, Temple, Ruston.
North Carolina: N. Todd Houston, Beach Road, Southport.
At-Large: *Louie L. Lu, Birchman, Fort Worth, Texas.

Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Term expires in 2023

New England: Mitchell W. Kimbrell, Christ Memorial, Williston, Vt.; replacing *Robert L. Orleck, Baptist Fellowship, Randolph, Vt.

Term expires in 2026

Kansas-Nebraska: *Greg G. Greer, River Community, Wichita, Kan.; replacing Dan R. Anderson, Prairie Hills Southern, Augusta, Kan.
Kentucky: Jaime F. Masso, Primera, Mayfield; replacing Lynn O. Traylor, Calvary, Glasgow.
Mississippi: Matthew T. Morgan, Grace Community, Indianola; replacing Mike Aultman, Military, Sumrall.
New York: *Paul Yoo, Fordham Community, Bronx; replacing Robert Dean, Tonawanda Indian, Basom.

Eligible to serve another term expiring in 2026:

Illinois: D. Scott Foshie, Steeleville, Steeleville.
Virginia: *Christine Hoover, Charlottesville Community, Charlottesville.
At-Large: David E. Prince, Ashland Avenue, Lexington.
At-Large: Kevin L. Smith, Family Church Village, West Palm Beach.

Committee on Order of Business

Term expires in 2025

*Ashley S. Davis, Dublin, Dublin, Ohio; replacing *Steven F. Bates, First, Winnfield, La.*Beth Holmes, Yellow Creek, Owensboro, Ky.; replacing *C. Joyce Hall, Broadmoor, Madison, Miss.

Credential Committee

Term expires in 2024

*Jonathan Sams, Image, Marietta, Ga.; replacing Roger Spradlin, Valley, Bakersfield, Calif.

Term expires in 2025

*Jill R. Rayburn, Edwards Road, Greenville, S.C.; replacing Greg Fields, Nellis, Las Vegas, Nev.Meagan N. Stedman, First, Westwego, La.; replacing *Sara K. Mills, Friendship, Conway, Ark.Vacant; replacing *Stacy Bramlett, First, Collierville, Tenn. (position to be filled by SBC Executive Committee)

An asterisk (*) indicates the person holds a non-church or denominational role.