BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP) – Keeping the focus on the “Gospel Above All” theme is Southern Baptist Convention President J.D. Greear’s main goal going into SBC’s annual meeting in Birmingham, Ala., June 11-12.
But following a year of transition among five SBC entities searching for new leadership and the convention responding to reports of sexual abuse, Greear noted there will be other issues demanding attention.
He acknowledged that confronting sexual abuse is among them.
“I look forward to seeing our convention continue in the unqualified declaration that we abhor abuse of any kind,” said Greear, who is spearheading a Sexual Abuse Presidential Advisory Study. “We will demonstrate this conviction with new processes – informed by Christian counselors, victims and victim advocates – that ensure not only that our churches and institutions are safe, but also that those who have been hurt experience the healing love of Christ.”
Southern Baptists, Greear noted, should not lose sight of “the only thing that can unite us and move us in mission – the Gospel.” He also will be promoting the “Who’s Your One?” evangelism campaign in partnership with the North American Mission Board.
“Churches all across the nation have already gotten involved,” he said of the campaign, “asking every church member to identify one person in their lives that they can pray for, share the Gospel with, and invite to church. I’m excited to share stories and pray over these efforts at our annual meeting.”
Other personal meeting highlights, Greear said, will include the International Mission Board’s Sending Celebration, Crossover and a more streamlined program that will forgo any evening sessions. The meeting will also feature three panel discussions: “Undivided: Your Church and Racial Reconciliation;” “Gospel Above All: Keeping Secondary Issues Secondary;” and “Indispensable Partners: The Value of Women in God’s Mission.”
Ronnie Floyd, president-elect of the Executive Committee, also is looking forward to the meeting and helping lead Southern Baptists to tighten their focus on the Gospel.
“While I have been involved at every level of Southern Baptist life,” he said, “it will definitely be a great privilege to be there in my new role.
“I look forward to speaking to our Southern Baptist Convention about reaching the world for Jesus Christ,” he said. “I believe the time is now to prioritize, elevate and accelerate our pace to present the Gospel to every person in the world and to make disciples of all the nations.
“I expect the Lord to bring us together around our mission of reaching the world for Christ … I believe we will put the Gospel above all!”
The “SBC Annual Meetings” mobile app is now live. The app will include a listing of speakers for the SBC Pastors’ Conference and SBC annual meeting as well as the daily program schedule, daily events, exhibitor listing, convention center maps, interactive map of the exhibit hall, 2019 Book of Reports and more. Download the app on your mobile device by accessing the App Store, Google Play or by visiting app.core-apps.com/sbc_am2019. Daily updates will be made to the app leading up to the SBC annual meeting.
Attendees also can follow on Twitter @SBCMeeting, @BaptistPress, @SBCLife, @SBCCP, @SBCPastorsConf and @EC_SBC for the latest annual meeting updates. Many social media users will employ the hashtag #SBC19 and #SBCPC19 in their posts about the annual meeting and the pastors’ conference.
Sex abuse panel
Prior to the SBC meeting, on Monday, June 10, the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission will co-host with the Sexual Abuse Presidential Advisory Study a public conversation at 9 p.m. Greear initiated the study last year and is working with the ERLC to help congregations prevent sex abuse and minister to survivors of such abuse.
Messengers gathering in Birmingham will consider a variety of recommendations during the annual meeting. Among them:
• a recommendation of an amendment to the SBC Constitution stating churches are not “in friendly cooperation with the Convention” if they “have evidenced indifference in addressing sexual abuse.” To take effect, the amendment would need two-thirds approval at both the 2019 and 2020 SBC annual meetings.
• a recommendation of an SBC constitutional amendment specifying racial discrimination as a basis to disfellowship a church. The proposed amendment on racial discrimination would add a section to Article III of the SBC Constitution specifying a cooperating church as one that “has not acted to affirm, approve, or endorse discriminatory behavior on the basis of ethnicity.”
The Cooperative Program Stage and Platform once again will be located between the IMB and NAMB booths in the exhibit hall. The panels will be held Monday through Wednesday throughout the day, beginning at 8:30 a.m. A complete schedule will be available on the SBC mobile app, in the SBC Bulletin and at talkCP.com.
Register online at sbcannualmeeting.net/sbc19 under the Messengers tab. After completing online registration, each individual will receive an eight-digit registration code to present at the annual meeting’s express registration lane. There, the registration code can be entered into a computer and a nametag will be printed.
Messengers planning to propose resolutions must submit them no later than 15 days prior to the annual meeting. Detailed guidelines on submitting resolutions are available at sbcannualmeeting.net/sbc19 under the Messengers tab. Resolutions may be submitted online but must be followed up by a letter of credentials from the submitter’s church.
Children & students
Child care is available for infants through age 12 during the SBC Pastors’ Conference June 9-10 and the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting June 11-12 and for grades 7-12 during the annual meeting June 11-12. All activities for children/youth will be housed at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex. There will be no on-site registration for the children’s and youth programs.