In recent days some questions have been asked, primarily on social media, about the 2020 Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) Pastors Conference. Questions such as: What is the pastors conference? Who funds it? Who selects the speakers? Who do I talk to if I have concerns? This brief article is an attempt to answer some of those questions.
The SBC Pastor’s Conference is typically held on the Sunday and Monday preceding the two-day annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention. After surveying the Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives for information about the conference, one could argue that the first conference took place in the first half of the 20th century.
Since the annual meeting is primarily a business meeting, the Pastors’ Conference was designed to provide spiritual edification for likeminded Baptist pastors and church leaders. The Pastors’ Conference does not receive Cooperative Program funds and is not under the authority of any SBC entity. The elected Pastor’s Conference president has the responsibility to raise support for the gathering and to secure speakers.
The Pastors’ Conference is a separate gathering from the Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting. The conference president will purchase convention space in the auditorium where the conference will take place. This process is consistent with any auxiliary or organization that makes a space allocation request to the Executive Committee.
When any Southern Baptist leader has concerns with the Pastor’s Conference, they should be encouraged to express those concerns in the place where they can do the most good. We encourage Kentucky Baptist church leaders and members to share those concerns with your KBC Mission Board staff members. Since our ministry positions are created by churches for churches to help churches, we will see to it that your concerns are forwarded to the appropriate place through the proper channels.
As Kentucky Baptists, and Southern Baptists, we are at our best when we are working together for our common mission. At times we are required to work together to share concerns that will ultimately protect and improve our work. The work of reaching Kentucky and the world for Christ is ultimately too important to be sidetracked, or even derailed. Please partner with me in hopes that our best days of ministry will be out in front of us and not behind us. KBC leadership is listening to your concerns.
TODD GRAY is the executive director-treasurer of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.