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Every year, the SBC annual meeting produces a number of “moments” that stick in people’s minds. Depending on the tone and content of those moments, it can make you proud to be a Southern Baptist…or, sometimes, feel affirmed in your decision not to be one. This year, for most who attended the convention, the former seems to be the case.

Three of the biggest moments from this year’s convention all point together toward a hopeful future for the SBC. If you were there (or watching online), you probably heard about these. If not, here’s your refresher.

1. Discussing a resolution on the Confederate flag, Pastor James Merritt proposes an amendment to strengthen the resolution. “All the Confederate flags in all the world are not worth one soul of any race.”

2. Russell Moore, president of the ERLC, defends religious liberty for all (and he means all). “Sometimes we have to deal with questions that are really complicated. Sometimes we have really hard decisions to make. This isn’t one of those things.”

3. After two different votes for SBC president, and headed toward a contentious third vote, I announce my decision to withdraw my nomination:

Be sure to check out the interviews immediately following my announcement. Steve Gaines, as the new SBC president, held a brief press conference (here), and I was able to meet up with Baptist 21 (here).

Yesterday the messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention voted for president of the SBC. And then, because it was too close to call, they voted again. That was too close, too. So this morning, we were all prepared to vote a third time.

That third vote won’t happen, because the third vote won’t be necessary. I’m withdrawing my name from contention, and pledging my full support to Pastor Steve Gaines.

Steve didn’t ask me to do this. This was my idea. He was incredibly gracious when we talked about this and prayed about this last night. And we both sought counsel from some of the godly men that encouraged us to be nominated in the first place. Together, we feel this is best for the SBC and best for the Kingdom.

Through this whole process, I’ve been praying for unity. I know that Pastor Steve has as well. But if we go to a third vote, and one of us wins by one half of one percent, it doesn’t matter which of us it is—it’s hard to see how that makes us a united body.

The task for those of you who voted for me is not to complain that things didn’t go our way. It’s to follow the example of our Savior, who came not to be served, but to serve. It’s time for us to step up and get involved, to keep pushing forward and engaging in the mission with those who have gone before us. It’s time to look at what unites us.

We exist as a convention of churches because we believe that we can do more together than we can do apart. What keeps us from splitting into a thousand different directions is one thing: our unity in the gospel of Jesus. We stand together because God saved us, and we want to see him save others—whether that’s in our neighborhoods or on the other side of the world.

I came to this convention with the conviction that the best days for the SBC were ahead of us. And I’ll be leaving this convention with the very same conviction. The greatest works of God aren’t in our past; they’re in our future. It’s time again for us to expect great things of God, and to attempt great things for God. So stand with me as we lift up the arms of our brother, and the next president of the SBC—Steve Gaines.

Meet Me in St. Louis! #SBC2016

Posted by Pastor J.D. on June 10, 2016
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In a little over a day, I’ll be headed to St. Louis for this year’s Annual Meeting of the SBC. I always look forward to attending the SBC’s Annual Meeting for a few reasons. It keeps me informed about what’s going on in churches throughout the country. It renews my passion for missions. It gives me a chance to catch up with some old friends—and to make some new ones. I’m particularly looking forward to this year’s meeting, because (1) St. Louis is an awesome city, and (2) Ronnie Floyd is heading it up, which means prayer is going to be at the center of it all.

I’ll be bouncing around several different events during my time in St. Louis. If you’re in the area and have a few minutes, I’d love to say a quick hello.

Meet me in St. Louis!

Monday, June 13

8:30–8:50 a.m. – ERLC/LifeWay Panel Discussion, with Russell Moore, Devin Maddox (CP Stage)

10:20–10:40 a.m. – Interview with Jimmy Scroggins (CP Stage)

12:00 noon – SEND Luncheon (The Dome @ America’s Center)

2:00-2:45pmGaining By Losing, Book Signing at the LifeWay booth

5:00–7:00 p.m. – IMB Dinner (The Dome @ America’s Center)

Tuesday, June 14

6:30–8:00 a.m. – Replicate Ministry Breakfast: Panel Discussion with David Platt, Johnny Hunt, Robby Gallaty, Steve Gaines (America’s Center)

9:30–9:45 a.m. – Interview at Evangelical Immigration Table booth, with Alan Cross

11:45 a.m. - B21 Luncheon: Panel Discussion (America’s Center)

6:45 p.m. – National Call to Prayer for Spiritual Leadership

Wednesday, June 15

7:00 a.m. - LifeWay Breakfast (The Dome @ America’s Center)

12:00 noon – Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary Alumni Luncheon (America’s Center)