Yesterday in a four plus hour Zoom call the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee (SBCEC) approved – in a vote of 44-31-3 – the contract that allows a third-party investigator to access privileged materials for an inquiry into the Executive Committee’s (EC) handling of sexual abuse claims as voted on by messengers in the Nashville 2021 SBC Annual Meeting (SBCAM) (c.f. Guidepost Letter of Engagement (10/1/21)).
We believe that yesterday’s vote is not the end but the beginning of this process that will culminate in the report given at the 2022 SBCAM in Anaheim. We want to thank each of our four members of the EC who took time to participate in today’s meeting and the countless hours behind the scenes working to come to a resolution that will move this process forward.
Many pastors and laypeople have expressed disappointment and/or appreciation at the votes of our EC members. While you may not fully agree with the votes of each member, we want to express thanks and respect for the time and prayerfulness that they have taken towards this and many other votes. There are many mitigating factors that have led each of our members to vote the way they have chosen to – including, but not limited to, information that we are not privy to.
As officers we are choosing to take our EC Chairperson’s shepherding council to heart and we would ask you to do the same,
“It’s time to stop attacking the motives of one another and move forward on this path together.” – Pastor Rolland Slade
Whether you consider today’s actions from our EC a “victory” or “defeat”, please continue to stand with us as we now navigate uncharted and unprecedented waters that may prove to be incredibly difficult. We know that if we fail in this task the only one who wins is our enemy and his minions. May we pause to remember the words of Christ, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Finally, we praise God that Christ honoring decisions have been made so that we can move forward as ONE for the Kingdom of God. Let’s continue to focus on our collective work through the Cooperative Program. Our prayer is that this refining moment finds each of us ministers and churches faithful and ignites a renewed passion for gospel unity within our family.
We are excited to celebrate what the Father has done in our state at our Annual meeting this Oct. 25-26 at the Branson Convention Center. Please mark your calendars and plan to join us in Branson at this important gathering of Missouri Baptists and if you have not registered please do so here (mobaptist.org/annual-meeting/). May God richly bless you!
The Officers of the Missouri Baptist Convention
Pastor Jon C. Nelson – President
Pastor Chris Williams – Lead Pastor of Fellowship Church – First Vice – President
Rev. Dr. Lane Harrison – Lead Pastor of LifePoint Church – Second Vice – President
Pastor Jason Marlin – Senior Pastor at First Baptist Kirksville – Secretary