Messengers celebrate ministry at 2022 Annual Meeting
November 22, 2022
COLUMBIA – Messengers to the 202nd Annual South Carolina Baptist Convention Meeting met November 14-15 at Riverland Hills Baptist Church in Irmo to conduct business and celebrate ministry achievements from the previous year. Of note during the meeting were presentations from the Sexual Abuse Task Force and recognitions for SCBaptist Executive Director-Treasurer Dr. Gary Hollingsworth, who will retire on April 30, 2023. Convention President Wayne Bray, the pastor of First Baptist Church Spartanburg/Upstate Church, presided during the meeting.
Messengers voted to approve the proposed $26.5 million 2023 operating budget and approved eight resolutions, including statements on transgender social issues and calls to action regarding sexual abuse. Messengers also approved resolutions from a report of the SCBaptist Sexual Abuse Task Force, a nine-member group named in late 2021 to craft a proactive response to the Southern Baptist Convention’s Report on Sexual Abuse, released May 22, 2022.
Task Force Chair D.J. Horton said the report’s goal was to help every South Carolina pastor and ministry leader position themselves to protect best every child, every female, and every person with special needs within their respective churches. Task force members represent all major geographic areas of the state, and include pastors and members of SCBaptist churches with informed and professional knowledge on the subject.
“We ask the Lord to help us learn from it, in repentance and redemption, and create an even better and stronger way forward,” Horton said of the report, which contained resolutions, recommendations, challenges, and resources to churches. The Task Force will continue working through November 2023.
SCBaptist ministry reporting included a panel discussion on the need for church revitalization, in response to shared data that an estimated 17 Southern Baptist churches face closure each week. Messengers from SCBaptist churches in decline and those willing to partner to assist them were encouraged to find resourcing at scbaptist.org/hopeforchurches
Chief Strategic Officer Lee Clamp presented the new SCBaptist mission statement and strategy to messengers. SCBaptist is about “Helping each church advance the Great Commission together,” and works to engage South Carolina Baptists through identified Moments, providing Map resources, and Mountain support. Messengers heard updates on focused ministry areas including prayer, salvations, baptisms, discipleship, and church planting.
Messengers elected the following 2022-2023 officers:
President Albert Allen, pastor of First Baptist Newberry
President-elect Wes Church, pastor of First Baptist Columbia
Vice President Ryan Roodroe, pastor of Utica Baptist, Seneca
Registration Secretary Brian Sherwood, pastor of First Baptist Darlington
Hollingsworth was recognized with gifts of appreciation and a reception during the meeting and named the 2022 E.A. McDowell Award recipient by the Christian Life and Public Affairs Committee. Senator Josh Kimbrell presented a resolution on behalf of the South Carolina General Assembly thanking Hollingsworth for his leadership and affirming his faithfulness to an “unchanging gospel to a changing world.”
For more information about SCBaptist or the 2022 Annual Meeting, visit scbaptist.org/annualmeeting.