The Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee joined an online video conference with five Black Southern Baptist Convention pastors to talk about race in America.
According to the Christian Post, Executive Committee President Ronnie Floyd said the meeting was so they could all have a “biblical conversation about race in America and the implications it's having on the churches of our Southern Baptist Convention and our Great Commission work that we are doing together.”
Floyd noted that about 23 percent of SBC churches are “non-Anglo,” and about 4,000 of the denomination’s total 47,500 churches are African American churches.
“As we are growing in racial diversity as a convention of churches, it is important that we listen to one another and to learn from each other,” Floyd said. “We are walking through some very difficult times in American life as racial tension and strife continue to rise to levels of great concern for each of us. I believe that the church of Jesus Christ must answer this moment in American history and this is why we are having this conversation together today.”
During the one-hour conversation, the group also discussed how the church may have needed to act against racism years ago.
“If the Church would have stood up for righteousness and justice rather than oppression and slavery back in the day, we may not be here,” said K. Marshall Williams, the senior pastor of Nazarene Baptist Church of Philadelphia.
“I think it is imperative on the Church today, especially cooperatively and all of us of all ethnicities, especially our brethren of the lightest hue, to be able to speak to their concentric circle of contact, their sphere of influence, where laws are made that are deliberately contributing to institutional and systemic racism.”
The group discussed leadership development in churches and also holding church members accountable to being “Nehemiahs, Deborahs and Esthers and Priscillas out in their communities,” said Kevin Smith, the executive director of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware.
“We need to examine the breadth of our leadership pipeline as regards to people in vocational ministry, missionaries and pastors,” he said. “But we more so need to examine the breadth, or even the lack of, the existence of disciplining our members that they might be salt and light influences in the communities in which they live.”
Photo courtesy: Ronnie Floyd Facebook
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.