In 2018, the Southern Baptist Convention helped place non-white leaders in a majority of its planted pulpits, showing a commitment to racial diversity despite its history of racism.
“By God’s grace, He is moving in His church, and He is showing us that…to be a reflection of His glory, we need to reflect the diversity of our communities, but we also need to proclaim the diversity of the coming Kingdom, and that is what gives glory to Jesus,” SBC President J.D. Greear said at the 2019 Black Church Leadership and Family Conference in North Carolina, as reported by the Christian Post.
At the conference, Greear, who also pastors The Summit Church in the Raleigh-Durham area, shared that more than 60 percent of all SBC churches planted last year were with black leaders.
“I want you to hear from me, who has the privilege of serving in this capacity as president, I want you to hear, ‘Thank you,’ and I want you to know that your sacrifices and your prayers and your faith, have not been in vain, that God is using them,” Greear continued to share to the largely black audience at the event, as reported by the Baptist Press. “And with our humility, and with our continued posture of repentance, we believe that even greater days are ahead, because God doesn’t move in His church unless He intends to impact the world in the future.”
The conference, which has run for nearly 30 years, is intended to address issues surrounding black and multiethnic churches. Attendees often include parents of black children, leaders who want to reach black communities, and leaders of churches hoping to become more multicultural.
Greear also took the opportunity to address the upcoming election and its threat to Christian unity.
"We know brothers and sisters what God's Word says about the church, that it's a group of people that come together not around skin color, or not around past cultural heritage, certainly not around political affiliation. We come together united in the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” he said.
"Southern Baptist churches are not always or ever at their best during seasons like this one. I want you to pray with me that God would allow this to be a season where we really do keep the Gospel above all," Greear continued. "What I do know is this, salvation did not come riding in on the wings of Air Force One. That great Savior sitting on the throne of God one day is not going to be an elephant, and He's not going to be a donkey. He's going to be a lamb that was slain since the foundation of the world. Him we preach, Him we proclaim."
Photo courtesy: Thinkstock
Mikaela Mathews is a freelance writer and editor based in Dallas, TX. She was the editor of a local magazine and a contributing writer for the Galveston Daily News and Spirit Magazine. She blogs at mikaelamathews.com.