Tuesday Evening Highlights
As the final session of the 199th Annual Meeting of the South Carolina Baptist Convention (SCBC) convened Tuesday night, it was reported that 759 total registered messengers were in attendance throughout the two-day meeting. Messengers experienced worship, called business, and ministry reports under session themes challenging them to “Engage.” Four session themes guided messengers through the ADVANCE Priorities: “Engaging the Culture” (SERVE); “Engaging the Lost” (SHARE); “Engaging the Nations” (SEND); and, “Engaging the Future” (START).
Additional student groups from local universities and youth groups joined messengers for the Tuesday evening worship time. Special speakers Don Brock, Senior Pastor of Gateway Church in Irmo, and H.B. Charles, Jr., Senior Pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Church in Jacksonville, F.L., encouraged participants to seek ways to intentionally engage others. Don Brock spoke to the importance of mentoring the next generation and bringing generations together. H.B. Charles delivered a message entitled “Rest for the Weary” and focused on Matthew 11:28-30.
SCBC President Bryant Sims also recognized several individuals with the President’s Barnabas Award. Recipients have discipled, mentored and poured into the next generation of leaders across South Carolina. The 2019 Barnabas Award recipients are Bill Cox, Don Brock, David Gallamore and Don Wilton.
During the evening session, 2019 Annual Meeting officers were recognized and applauded for their efforts, and 2020 SCBC elected officers were announced and presented.
President: Josh Powell
President-Elect: Alex Sands
First Vice President: Brad Vassey
Second Vice President: Seth Buckley
Recording Secretary: Kathy Hall
Registration Secretary: David Dinkins
SCBC Associate Executive Director-Treasurer/Chief Strategist Jay Hardwick introduced the ADVANCE Team report for START New Work, reminding messengers that “any church, any size, anywhere can ADVANCE in fulfilling the Great Commission” by engaging the lost through new work. Sharing that three out of four people in South Carolina are not involved in an evangelical church, START Team Leader Cliff Marshall challenged messengers not to be comfortable with overwhelming lostness. “We desire to see a multiplying church in every community in South Carolina,” he said, adding that partnership is crucial to the process to starting and restarting churches.
Messengers also heard from several areas directly engaging the future through ministries to young people across the state. Collegiate Ministry Director Chad Stillwell and BCM directors from around the state shared that there are now BCM ministries on the majority of campuses across the state, 667 students were led to Christ last year and more than 3,100 BCM students participated in local and international missions.
Looking Toward the Future
Messengers heard reports regarding several forward-looking ministry initiatives. In his role as chair of the Racial Reconciliation Task Force, SCBC President-Elect Josh Powell updated messengers on the committee’s progress. With the full committee by his side, Powell announced three recommendations for the Convention to take into consideration moving forward. Those recommendations included promoting minority inclusion in Baptist Collegiate Ministries, developing tactical church planting strategies for areas with a large minority population, and establishing a strong pastoral care network with increased support and training opportunities.
Powell, also elected as the 2020 SCBC president, announced next year’s theme as “Legacy.” The 2020 SCBC Annual Meeting will be held Nov. 9-10, at First Baptist Church Columbia.
Ministry Partner Highlight
SCBC President Bryant Sims interviewed the Baptist University Presidents, who shared highlights and updates from each campus. Each President also shared ways for messengers to pray for their universities and students.