Bennie Smith, deacon and member of New Salem Baptist Church, will make the nomination.
I am willing to serve because. . .
1. I want to serve Southern Baptists. I was saved at Gum Springs Baptist Church (a Southern Baptist church in Walling, TN) when I was 17 years of age. I came forward in the same church a year later, believing God had set me apart for ministry. The church agreed. After an internship and being hired at another SBC church as youth pastor, my home church ordained me to the gospel ministry. Since then, I’ve served Southern Baptists in Tennessee and Kentucky as youth pastor and senior pastor for a total of 14 years. I’m just a normal Southern Baptist pastor who wants to serve Southern Baptists.
2. I want to represent rural Southern Baptists. I was saved in a rural Southern Baptist Church, and I’ve primarily served rural Southern Baptists ever since. Where I live now, the nearest gas station is 7 miles away. My church is a small church made up of about 60 people. They’re a loving, caring, godly group of people. Some of the godliest people I’ve met in my ministry worship here. My music minister and chairman of deacons has been a Christian twice as long as I’ve been alive. He’s also served as music minister at New Salem Baptist Church for over 60 years. At 83 years of age, he still does a great job! I want to represent Southern Baptists like the ones I serve on a daily basis who may not have the opportunity to attend the convention or serve at the convention level.
3. I want to promote unity in the SBC. I think Traditionalists, Calvinists, and everything in between in the SBC can work together. Since the founding of the Southern Baptist convention, Southern Baptists of different stripes have been able to work together. There’s no reason to divide beyond the Baptist Faith and Message 2000. I believe we’ll accomplish far more together than we will if we’re divided. In order to accomplish such unity, we must accurately represent what one another believes, lovingly debate, and line up behind Scripture. Our disagreements should not be ignored, but they also should not divide us. Hopefully, this year will be one of renewal as Calvinists and Traditionalists reach across the aisle for the sake of the gospel, and for the sake of the future of the SBC.
4. I want to promote the Cooperative Program. I still believe the Cooperative Program is the best way for Southern Baptists to unite to support the spread of the gospel to the ends of the Earth. My church gives 16% to the Cooperative Program, plus another 3% to the local association. Apart from cooperating with other SBC churches through the Cooperative Program, our small church could not support as many ministries on our own. I realize the Cooperative Program and the ministries it supports are not perfect, but New Salem Baptist Church believes in the Cooperative Program. I hope to encourage churches to begin, continue, or increase their support of the Cooperative Program. It’s still the best way available for supporting the equipping of Southern Baptist ministers to take the gospel locally and abroad, and to train other Southern Baptists to do the same.
What are your thoughts?