AM23: SBTC messengers conduct significant business at meeting

Messengers raise their ballots during a vote at the 2023 SBTC Annual Meeting held at Cross City Church in Euless. SBTC PHOTO

EULESS—The Southern Baptists of Texas Convention met for its an­nual meeting Nov. 13-14 at Cross City Church in Euless. The event drew 925 registered messengers and 247 regis­tered guests, a total of 1,172 people. Messengers conducted significant business that facilitates the convention’s ministry for the coming year:

Forshee, Lopez, Cooper elected to serve as officers

Austin pastor Danny Forshee was elected SBTC president by acclamation on Nov. 14, the final day of the meeting.

Forshee has served as lead pastor at Great Hills Baptist Church for more than 13 years and as president of the Danny Forshee Evangelistic Association for nearly 20 years. From 2018-2020, he served as chairman of the SBTC’s Executive Board.

Rounding out the convention’s elected leadership is Eddie Lopez, pastor of First Baptist Forney En Español, who was elected as vice president, and Sharonda Cooper of Emmaus Church of Georgetown, who was elected convention secretary. Both were also elected by acclamation.

$27.8 million budget approved

Messengers approved a $27,833,488 budget for the next year. This amount is the same as the 2023 budget. The convention’s business and financial plan prohibits raising a budget for the next fiscal year above the current year, beyond receipts in the prior year.

Sexual abuse awareness, prevention resources made available to churches

Messengers were informed of resources being made available to raise awareness and help prevent sexual abuse at SBTC churches during the Nov. 14 afternoon session.

A membership to MinistrySafe—an organization whose mission is to protect children and those who serve them through training and resourcing—will be provided at no cost for the first 500 churches (first-time users) that sign up. SBTC churches interested in learning more are being urged to text PROTECT to 469-727-7272.

Additionally, SBTC Executive Board Chairman Caleb Turner reported to messengers that a licensed therapist specializing in trauma and sexual abuse has been retained by the convention as a resource for churches.

Effective date for 2022 motion extended

At the 2022 annual meeting in Corpus Christi, messengers approved a motion to interpret the SBTC’s constitutional affiliation requirement that the “office of pastor be limited to men” to apply “not only to the titles of senior pastor or lead pastor, but to any role designated by the noun ‘pastor.’”

Referencing a request by SBC President Bart Barber that state conventions “pause” actions they may be considering that involve the nature of cooperation, the SBTC Executive Board recommended the date for implementation of the 2022 motion for presently affiliated churches be moved to Jan. 1, 2025. After a time of discussion at this year’s annual meeting, the board’s recommendation was approved by a hand vote of messengers.

Messenger intends to propose constitutional amendment in 2024

Messenger Rob Collingsworth of Redemption Story Church in Fort Worth reported his intent, in accordance with Article IX of the SBTC Constitution, to propose two constitutional amendments at next year’s annual meeting. Collingsworth is proposing the following amendments (in bold):

Article III. Doctrinal Statement

“The Baptist Faith and Message, adopted in 2000 and amended in 2023 by the Southern Baptist Convention, shall be the doctrinal statement for the Convention.”

Article IV. Affiliation

Section 1 “(d) affirms the church-wide authority and oversight office of pastor/elder/overseer to be limited to men.”

Most Read

Barber exhorts Southwestern graduates to go to the harvest

FORT WORTH—Get to work in the harvest, Southern Baptist Convention President Bart Barber challenged the 301 graduates of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Texas Baptist College during spring commencement held May 3 on the Fort Worth …

Stay informed on the news that matters most.

Stay connected to quality news affecting the lives of southern baptists in Texas and worldwide. Get Texan news delivered straight to your home and digital device.