ATLANTA — Agreements to “assume the best in one another” and that a “gospel-above-all culture needs to prevail” in the Southern Baptist Convention were among the outcomes when SBC President J.D. Greear met Aug. 20 with 15 executive directors of Baptist state conventions, including Randy C. Davis of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board.
“The most basic principle in airline travel is that if you want someone there for the landing, they have to be there for the takeoff,” Greear, pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, N.C., told Baptist Press in written comments.
“These are the leaders who have been leading in the things before I became president and likely will be there leading after my term. I wanted to know how I could serve them, catalyze their efforts in evangelism and mobilization and bring cohesion to many of the wonderful things already going on throughout the SBC.”
Held at The Westin Atlanta Airport, the meeting included executive directors of conventions in the southeastern United States as well as SBC first vice president A.B. Vines. Second vice president Felix Cabrera was invited but could not attend.
Greear will meet in the future with other state executive directors and leaders of churches, associations and SBC entities, according to an Aug. 21 release from Greear’s office.
David Hankins, executive director of the Louisiana Baptist Convention, told BP the Atlanta meeting was characterized by “a great spirit, camaraderie and willingness to work together.”
Hankins, who endorsed Ken Hemphill during June’s SBC presidential election, said Greear “really wants to move forward” the same types of initiatives state executive diectors are interested in such as “the gospel for everyone,” “growing support for the Cooperative Program” and “cooperation among the various levels of Southern Baptist life.”
The TBMB’s Davis said he “greatly appreciated the opportunity to meet with Dr. Greear. His gospel-focused initiatives are ones that all Southern Baptists can support.
“He is focused on seeing people saved, baptized and set on the road to discipleship (the first of Five Objectives adopted by the Tennessee Baptist Convention). We should all be very encouraged with his leadership of the SBC,” Davis said.
Discussion at the meeting focused on Greear’s priorities as president, with special emphasis on a possible nationwide evangelism initiative, church planting and mobilization of recent college graduates for missions. Additionally, Greear asked state conventions, “How may I serve you?”
Greear called the state executives “men who love the Great Commission and really desire the best days of Southern Baptist cooperation.
“I am honored to come behind them and work together with them and the churches in their states,” he said.