A few snippets from the first day of the SBC annual meeting in Baltimore:
—Ronnie Floyd won the SBC presidency in a three-man race, but narrowly avoided a second ballot, gaining 51.6 percent of messenger votes over second-place Dennis Manpoong Kim (40.7 percent), a Maryland pastor, and Kentucky pastor Jared Moore (5.91 percent).
Floyd told media he would work toward three things among Southern Baptists: “Explicit agreement” on common beliefs and mission, “visible unity” and “extraordinary prayer.”
He also promised to include ample time at next year’s meeting in Columbus, Ohio for such extraordinary prayer, echoing his Pastors’ Conference sermon from Sunday night during which he drew from Moses’ Mount Sinai meetings with God as an example of leading people in God’s power and glory.
—The Baptist21 meeting, now a staple at the convention, is one of the biggest draws for pastors, especially, but not limited to, younger pastors. Younger is a relative term here. I’ve seen many a 50-something sitting there, next to a young seminarian, with a Jason’s Deli sandwich and a dill pickle spear listening with curiosity to some of the usual suspects. Good stuff, and a bag full of free books to boot.
—Speaking of usual suspects … I have benefited from many of the speakers on the lineup for the Pastors’ Conference, B21 and other such events. But it seems the mistakes of the past are repeated in every generation. That is, it’s too easy to go straight to your reliable “go-to” guys as speakers and platform guests almost yearly. There are more than a few articulate and careful preachers-thinkers-leaders in our seminaries and even, thank God, in local churches. Let’s work harder at branching out just a bit. It’s possible to keep the standards high and find articulate, careful, deliberate folks who have something edifying and wise to say.
—So that said … SEBTS President Danny Akin perhaps had the best advice doled out at Baptist21: If you are complaining about the Southern Baptist Convention but aren’t willing to be involved in making the changes necessary to improve it, “Then shut up! You have forfeited your right” to throw stones at the SBC. Wish Dr. Akin could be a bit more fiery and forthright. It’s just not his nature.