Three candidates for next SBC President are hosted in a discussion forum at FBC Keller, TX
KELLER, TX- First Baptist Church of Keller, TX hosted a presidential forum on May 4th. Three of the candidates who will be nominated for SBC president at the Annual Meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention when it gathers in Anaheim in June made themselves available on the platform. This forum was livestreamed on ACTS2 Network via their app, but you can also view it here by clicking the link to FBC Keller’s website.
Hear the candidates’ answers on how to encourage evangelism and missions, what they would prioritize, and how best to navigate denominational and cultural challenges in coming months. This event was hosted by Joe Wooddell and Tony Richmond of First Baptist Church Keller.
In addition to the on-demand option to view this forum, Baptist Press published three articles (linked below) that contain specific interviews with each candidate. The order these articles were published were alphabetical and are not, in any way an endorsement or priority ranking of each candidate. Neither Baptist Press, nor Utah Idaho Southern Baptist Convention, nor any member of their respective staffs will take a position on any of the men who have made their names available to be nominated for president of the SBC or any other leadership office within the convention. We make these resources available simply to educate and inform churches and leaders in our convention to help them make the most informed decision they can when it comes time to vote at our 2022 Annual Meeting in Anaheim.
“As Christians we understand that prayer is essential in our walk with Christ, and as a committee we felt it was essential to start our process with a season of prayer,” said search team Chairman Adron Robinson. “In John 15:5 Jesus says without Him we can do nothing, so to begin this assignment without seeking God’s direction would be a huge mistake.”
In addition to Robinson, the seven-member search team, appointed by the EC at its Feb. 22 meeting, includes Mollie Duddleston (Springdale, Ark.), Mike Keahbone (pastor of Lawton, First), Jeremy Morton (Woodstock, Ga.), Philip Robertson (Pineville, La.) and David Sons (Lexington, S.C.). Current EC Chairman Rolland Slade will serve in an ex officio capacity until June, when he will be replaced by a newly elected EC chair.
The prayer guide is broken into three sections—personnel, priorities and president. Keahbone stressed the importance of prayer to the team’s mission.
“I was looking through the timelines of the previous hiring processes and did not see a specific and strategic plan to call our convention to pray,” he said. “I brought it up in our first meeting and the entire team was excited to let prayer be the cornerstone of our search process. God knows the shepherd He is calling to lead us. Prayer tunes our hearts to His.”
Morton agreed that the team was united in the idea.
“We all agreed an intentional season of prayer was essential,” he said “We do not assume we can get this search ‘correct’ without God’s gracious touch. In fact, we enter this process humbly and with a sober sense of desperation. Without God’s grace, we know we won’t get it right.
“Prayer isn’t something extra we are doing. It’s the driving force of the entire process. I actually believe the more we pray, the simpler and things will be.”
The group is asking for people to people to pray for the EC trustees, staff, interim President/CEO Willie McLaurin, Vice President for Communication Jonathan Howe, the Sexual Abuse Task Force and SBC President Ed Litton.
“Every believer in our convention is impacted by this hire; therefore, all of us must join together in prayer,” Keahbone said. “My prayer is that God would unify us as a convention. There is no better unifying agent than God’s people seeking their Father’s heart.”
The group is asking Southern Baptists for help in seeking God’s provision of unity, wisdom, patience, discernment, integrity, faithfulness and accountability for the team.
“We hope that God would sanctify our hearts as a committee and as a convention,” Robinson said. “There are many things trying to divide us as a convention, but seeking God will sanctify and unify us. We want to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace and work together to fulfill God’s will.
“The entire Southern Baptist Convention should join in this prayer initiative, and we hope our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world will also join this effort.”
While the team has not begun to receive applications for the position, they are asking Southern Baptists to pray the candidate is:
Prepared to the lead the EC
A strong, relational and unifying leader
Someone with Christ-like character
A leader with compassion for the hurting and lost
Deeply rooted in biblical conviction
A leader committed to the Cooperative Program, the Baptist Faith and Message, SBC entities, the Great Commission and the Great Commandment
“We hope that prayer will help us walk together in unity and clarity,” Morton said. “We hope our season of prayer will encourage all Southern Baptists to join us and participate.
“We are excited and believe by faith that God has a bright future for our search process, that He has the right leader on the horizon for Southern Baptists, and that our convention will move forward and make more disciples for Jesus until He comes again. I’m praying Luke 11:13 that the Holy Spirit will fill us and help us.”
The team has encouraged people to pray from March 11-31, but anytime is a great time to start. If you plan to start on Sunday, March 20, your prayer season will conclude on April 10, Palm Sunday.
Warsaw, Poland (BP/IMB)- Polish Baptists and International Mission Board missionaries quickly rallied to respond to the needs of Ukrainian refugees crossing the border to seek sanctuary from the attack on their homeland.
Josh and Bailey Krause serve with the IMB in Warsaw, Poland, and are the liaisons between the IMB, Send Relief and the Polish Baptist Union. After meeting with Send Relief partners, Josh met with the president of the Polish Baptist Union to hear their plans and determine how Send Relief funds can assist Ukrainian refugees.
The Polish Baptist Union initially hoped to house 500 refugees. They have since doubled that number to 1,000. Eight centers were designated to receive refugees, but Baptists increased the number to 40 camps located across Poland.
The Krauses said the Polish Baptist Union is outfitting the camps with sheets, pillows, food and hygiene items. Send Relief funds are being used to support these efforts, as well as transportation needs.
IMB missionary Ken Brownd said First Baptist Church of Gdasnk, Poland, committed to hosting one of the centers to receive refugees. Brownd said a church member recently moved into a new house and his old home, which is next to the church, is being prepped to house refugees. The church also converted a youth room and a meeting room into a shelter for refugees.
Members of FBC Gdansk drove to the border of Poland and Ukraine to receive women and children. Church members formed relationships with these women and children through summer camps. For years, the church sent teams to a city in western Ukraine and hosted Vacation Bible Schools.
The church members waited, and slept, in the van for hours at the border, as hotels were booked in the area, with no word from the women and children. Lines at the border were rumored to be around 10 kilometers long and a 15-hour wait. Over the weekend, five women and children arrived at the church, and others traveled to other Baptist camps. Another 18 refugees are in transit to FBC Gdansk.
Bailey said other Polish Baptist churches and individuals have and will provide transportation for refugees.
A Baptist church in the city of Chelm posted on their Facebook page that they have already sheltered 120 refugees. Church members remain on duty 24 hours to receive refugees. Hotels, businesses and individuals have joined the efforts to help the church by providing food, mattresses and bedding.
Brownd said Polish Baptists are using social media to organize the collection of supplies, and the response has been enthusiastic and generous.
“It’s just cool to see Polish Baptists stepping up and taking care of their neighbors. They’ve done that for a long time now, but this is a different level,” Brownd said. “Our team is trying to organize the Send Relief help … but really, this is mostly driven by Polish Baptists, so we’re not the main players in this at all. We’re helpers, and so it’s amazing.”
Nightly prayer meetings are being held at First Baptist Gdansk. Polish and Ukrainian Christians have come together, and services are held in both languages. Poland is home to a significant population of Ukrainians, many of whom moved to Poland after unrest and conflicts in Ukraine in 2014. Many, if not all, of the Ukrainians in Poland have family members still living in Ukraine.
Josh said he’s encouraged by the “cooperation and the brotherhood between the Ukrainian Baptists and the Polish Baptists here and the way they’ve worked and gotten together. Everyone is coming together to say that we’re with our Ukrainian brothers and sisters.”
“Whenever there is a new crisis, everybody rallies. As we’ve been working with the [Polish Baptist] Union and with different churches, we’ve seen their desire currently just to serve, to support, to love on their brothers and sisters from Ukraine,” Bailey said.
Bailey asked for continued prayer for Polish and Ukrainian Baptists in the weeks and months to come.
“Our prayer is that the churches would be praying for perseverance, because in two weeks, this is still going to be here. This is a new reality, not just for Ukrainian people, but also for the Polish people, and so [pray they will] handle that new reality well and with grace and patience.”
Brownd asked for prayer for refugees who left behind family members. Men, ages 18 to 60, must remain in the country when Ukraine declared martial law.
Josh and Bailey said their prayer is for the Lord to work in mighty ways during this time of crisis.
“The church in Ukraine is thriving and doing great, and so through this, I really hope that not only the believers and the churches in Ukraine come out even more strong and on fire, but the Polish churches, that they too would catch that and grow. The Lord can do great things out of destruction,” Bailey said.
Your gifts to Send Relief are already providing emergency food supplies, shelter and clothing to displaced families. Send Relief partners will continue to provide food relief, continue meeting shelter needs and offer transportation to those impacted by this crisis. Give now.
About the author:
Caroline Anderson writes for the IMB from Southeast Asia.