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.
Greear, who is expected to be reelected SBC president without opposition, 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,” he said.
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.
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!”
This year’s Crossover evangelism initiative is set to engage more than 20,000 homes with the gospel. The North American Mission Board will partner with the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions to mobilize 400 teams of volunteers to knock on doors in the metro Birmingham area.
“This year we have a really simplified approach that will help us make as big of a concentrated push as we can make in one day,” Joel Southerland of NAMB’s evangelism team said in a Baptist Press article. “We already have student pastors bringing students, and pastors who are bringing van loads of volunteers, because it can all be done in one day.”
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 a.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. The June 10 conversation, “Sexual Abuse and the Southern Baptist Convention,” will be at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex.
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.”
Register online at sbcannualmeeting.net/sbc19 under the Messengers tab. NOTE: messengers, exhibitors and invited guests need to be registered and properly badged for entrance into the general sessions June 11-12.
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.