2019 Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting
The 2019 Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting was the annual national meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). It was held from June 11-12, 2019 at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex. The theme for the national meeting was, "Gospel Above All."
The event, which brought 8,183 voting members and about 12,000 attendees to the city, was the largest convention hosted in Birmingham since the 1995 National Baptist Convention. The Southern Baptists last meeting in Birmingham was in 1941.
The convention was preceded by a two-day Southern Baptist Pastors' Conference, presided over by Danny Wood, pastor of Shades Mountain Baptist Church. J. D. Greear of Durham, North Carolina was elected to a second one-year term as SBC president.
Major issues addressed during the convention included requiring member churches to institute protections against sexual abuse at the risk of being deemed ""not in friendly cooperation" with the SBC. The action, which impinges on the historical autonomy of Southern Baptist churches, came in the wake of extensive reporting by the Houston Chronicle in February of extensive patterns of sexual abuse within the denomination. A panel discussion, "Sexual Abuse and the Southern Baptist Convention" preceded the formal meeting. Other panels discussed racial reconciliation, the relative importance of secondary doctrinal issues, and the value of women in God's mission.
The convention passed 13 resolutions. The first celebrated the passage in several states, including Alabama, of much stricter prohibitions against abortion services. The second emphasized the importance of correcting sexual abuse. The third clarified that the autonomy of congregations does not permit, "hiding the sins of ministers and others...who abuse...'the little ones'." The 4th resolution decried the persecution of Christians and other human rights abuses in North Korea and China. In the 5th resolution, the SBC counseled those who experience or minister to those experiencing "same sex attraction," to abstain both from homosexual relationships and from self-identifying in ways that, "suggest affirmation of sinful desires or unbiblical social constructs." The 6th promoted a "cooperative culture" within the denomination. Resolution 7 voiced the importance of pursuing justice, but noted that the convention rejects, "...solutions for social brokenness that depend upon ideas that are antithetical to the Christian faith." The 8th resolution recommended increased cultural awareness for messengers of the church. The 9th clarified that "critical race theory" and "intersectionality" can be powerful analytical frameworks, but must not be used in conflict with scripture or, "...absolutized as a worldview." Resolution 10 urged the United States government not to extend the Selective Service System to women. The 11th resolution condemned human germline genome manipulation. A 12th resolution clarified the SBCs positions and authority with regard to endorsing political parties, candidates or policies. The final resolution extended gratitude to the people of the city of Birmingham and the volunteers, committees and staff labor that made the convention possible.
During the convention, "Crossover" missionary outreach teams knocked on 10,409 doors, participated in 1,817 "Gospel conversations", prayed with 2,251 people, and recorded 364 conversions in the area.
The SBC, through its Send Relief program, donated $250,000 to Birmingham City School teachers to help them buy school supplies. SBC President J.D. Greear presented a check to Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin with the donation.
- Garrison, Greg (June 13, 2018) "Birmingham will host the next Southern Baptist Convention." The Birmingham News
- Merritt, Jonathan (June 10, 2019) "Southern Baptists’ Midlife Crisis" The Atlantic
- Garrison, Greg (June 13, 2019) "Southern Baptist meeting drew 12,000, biggest convention at BJCC this century." The Birmingham News
- Garrison, Greg (June 16, 2019) "Five Takeaways from the Southern Baptist meeting" The Birmingham News