Published September 4, 2018
ATLANTA—Agreements to "assume the best in one another" and that a "Gospel-above-all culture needs to prevail" in the Southern Baptist Convention were among the outcomes when SBC President J.D. Greear met Aug. 20 with 15 executive directors of Baptist state conventions.
"The most basic principle in airline travel is that if you want someone there for the landing, they have to be there for the takeoff," Greear, pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, N.C., told Baptist Press in written comments. "These are the leaders who have been leading in the things before I became president and likely will be there leading after my term. I wanted to know how I could serve them, catalyze their efforts in evangelism and mobilization and bring cohesion to many of the wonderful things already going on throughout the SBC."
Held at The Westin Atlanta Airport, the meeting included executive directors of conventions in the southeastern United States as well as SBC First Vice President A.B. Vines.
Paul Chitwood, executive director of the Kentucky Baptist Convention, said the executive directors expressed appreciation for Greear's "championing of Cooperative Program giving," including a CP promotional video he produced recently for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. The executive directors also told Greear many state convention ministries already in existence dovetail with his priorities for the SBC.
The meeting "was a great opportunity to get on the same page," Chitwood said, and for Greear to hear "what we were doing in these areas already and how eager we are to help him champion" his convention-wide emphases.
Greear called the state executives "men who love the Great Commission and really desire the best days of Southern Baptist cooperation. I am honored to come behind them and work together with them and the churches in their states."
Discussion at the meeting focused on Greear's priorities as president, with special emphasis on a possible nationwide evangelism initiative, church planting and mobilization of recent college graduates for missions. Greear's Sexual Abuse Presidential Study Group also was mentioned.
Greear will meet in the future with other state executive directors and leaders of churches, associations and SBC entities, according to an Aug. 21 release from Greear's office. (BP)
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