The Baptist General Convention of Texas approved and adopted a statement last week encouraging its staff to continue to affirm women in “ministerial and leadership roles.”
The BGCT is the first state to make an official statement since the Southern Baptist Convention voted in June to expel a number of churches from the denomination because those churches allowed women to serve as pastors, according to The Roys Report.
California’s Saddleback Church was one of the churches expelled in the vote.
SBC also voted to amend the SBC constitution to officially state that only men can be pastors. In 2024, voters will consider a second vote to adopt the amendment officially.
The BGCT is the more progressive of Texas’ two state Baptist conventions.
Meredith Stone, executive director of Texas-based Baptist Women in Ministry, presented the motion and wanted to affirm “women in all ministry and pastoral roles.” However, the final language was changed to “leadership roles.”
“The SBC is specifically targeting women who have ‘pastor’ in their title, which was why including pastoral roles was so important to include as a part of the motion,” she wrote. “Without it, women who are serving as pastors of all kinds are left wondering if the BGCT actually supports them and if they have a home with the BGCT.”
However, Dustin Slaton, senior pastor of a Round Rock church in Texas, said the amendment didn’t need the “unkind” message that stronger language may have sent.
Pastor Dwight McKissic also agreed, Religion News Service reports.
“It respects autonomy & diversity and that’s all I’ve wanted on this issue,” said McKissic, pastor of an Arlington church, in a text message to reporters.
Last week also marked a meeting of the National African American Fellowship of the Southern Baptist Convention and SBC President Bart Barber in North Carolina.
“We have spent the last day and a half in intensive conversation and dialogue,” said Rev. Gregory Perkins of the NAAF. “Here is our single goal: to ensure that the SBC family remains unified. We are one family. We have all kinds of different aspects of our family but we’re one family.”
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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.