More than 9,000 messengers are expected June 11-12 for the 162nd annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention, held in Birmingham, Ala. President J.D. Greear will seek to keep the focus on the “Gospel Above All,” this year’s theme. The meeting will be streamed at the SBC Annual Meeting site.
Greear is currently unopposed to serve the second one-year term allowed by the SBC. During the meeting, there will be an opportunities to take part in over 130 mission activities and hear about missions; conduct business; learn about ministries and affinity groups; attend ethnic fellowship and alumni gatherings; and hear agency reports, including new entity leaders.
Staying focused on the gospel with face competition from multiple allegations of sexual abuse in the denomination, including the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News “Abuse of Faith” reporting of sexual misconduct in the SBC over the past two decades. A “Sexual Abuse and the Southern Baptist Convention” event is scheduled for Monday night preceding the convention, and a report from the Sexual Abuse Advisory Group is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon. The SBC Executive Committee is also expected to revisit an earlier proposed constitutional amendment on sex abuse and racism with additional recommendations.
Other topics that may be brought up during the meeting involve the 12-year decline in membership to under 15 million for the lowest it has been since 1987; the 40th anniversary of the “conservative resurgence” in Southern Baptist life; the restrictive “heartbeat” abortion ban recently passed in Alabama; and resolutions from the floor.
Greear has faced criticism from complementarians within the SBC in saying women can be speakers during Sunday morning worship. This could arise during a Wednesday afternoon panel discussion, “Indispensable Partners: The Value of Women in God’s Mission.”
A Pastor’s Conference is also scheduled prior to the meeting. The 2020 convention is scheduled for June 9-10 in Orlando, Fla.