Pastor J.D. Greear, the Southern Baptist Convention’s newly elected president, says God placed six priorities on his heart that he’ll focus on over the next two years as leader of the largest Protestant denomination in the United States.
On Tuesday, Greear, lead pastor of Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, won the election against Ken Hemphill, an administrator at North Greenville University and a former Southern Baptist Convention seminary president, by a vote of 69 percent to 31 percent.
Speaking of Hemphill, Greear described him as a “godly man.”
“He is a guy that for as long has I’ve known him has invested in younger leaders, and I think he would’ve been a fine leader of the SBC, but God’s decision and the decision of the messengers, this is where we sit. And we’ll see what the future brings.”
Of the 9,467 messengers at the convention, 7,884 cast ballots in the presidential election. Hemphill got 2,459 votes to Greear’s 5,410 votes.
“From the very beginning of this there were six things that I believe God put on my heart as areas of concern [for] the Southern Baptist Convention and reasons to run,” Greear said at a news conference Tuesday afternoon following his election.
Above all, he said, is the Gospel message.
While the SBC is a network of diverse churches that are not identical in style, age, cultural background or political alliance, “we come together united by a common Gospel confession and also by a common Gospel mission, “Greear explained.
“For as long as there has been a convention you’ve had things that threatened to challenge that unity of the Gospel. [I’m] just wanting to see the Gospel be what we unify around and not be divided on secondary and tertiary issues.”
Second, is the elevation of cultural diversity in leadership.
“By God’s grace there are a number of people of color who are part of the SBC. Our leadership, when you look at it, just doesn’t really reflect that yet,” he said. “As we all know, the United States is changing, and because of that, in order for us to be able to meet the questions and challenges that we are presented with in our society, we need perspective and wisdom that our members of color are bringing to us.”
Third, Greear said he will continue to focus on evangelism.
Evangelism was a major focus of outgoing President Steve Gaines, pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee, and Greear said he plans to continue that work.
He also stressed that fulfilling Jesus’ Great Commission and making disciples in all nations is the job of individuals, not leaders, and he wants members to reassume the responsibility of evangelism.
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Source: Christian Post