Category Archives: SBC

Let’s Reach California

We have several critical board openings in our California SBC state convention. These include:

  • Committee on Convention Operations (program committee). This committee wins the prize for coolest nickname — COCO.
  • Committee on Board Nominations (nominates people to serve on the boards of California Baptist University, California Baptist Foundation, and the CSBC Executive Board)
  • Committee on Resolutions, Credentials and Membership (which deals with resolutions and reviews church applications for membership)

While these committees may sound “bureaucratic” in nature, think of it as democracy at work.

Congregationalism (local church autonomy with some level of authority vested in the individual members) is a long-standing distinctive of Baptist life. But the only way congregational churches can partner together on mission is if the churches themselves send delegates to make decisions on behalf of the whole.

Functionally, our convention is divided into nine geographic areas.

All nine of these regions must be represented on every committee. Just like our country’s electoral college, this ensures that both high and low population areas will have representation. But it creates a problem when we can’t find enough qualified individuals to serve, especially from our more rural areas.

The CSBC has immediate vacancies in regions 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, and 9. It won’t be long before the other regions have vacancies too.

If you are a member of a Southern Baptist Church in California, and have a heart to spread the gospel and establish more healthy churches in California, you should consider serving on a board.

Pastors fill many of these positions, but the committees are not made up exclusively of pastors. In fact, at least three members of each committee must be laypersons.

I’d be happy to get some of you started on the nomination process. Just email or Facebook me with the following info:

Your full name
Name of church
Your role/title at church
Why you want to serve
Skills and experience that would qualify you to serve

Please note, not everyone who is nominated will be asked to serve. That’s up to the Committee on Committees. But your nomination form will be held for at least three years for future consideration, and can always be submitted later.

Please let me know if I can be of any help.

How Can I Get More Involved in My Denomination?

Pastor Steve Davison speaks at the 2012 CSBC NexGen Meeting
Pastor Steve Davison speaks at our 2012 CSBC NexGen Meeting

I strongly encourage churches to cooperate with other evangelical churches in their community and to get involved in their denomination if they belong to one. A couple weeks ago, a friend asked for more details on this subject:

“I was challenged at T4G to be more involved in SBC life and want to act on it. So I scheduled to make all my pastor luncheons for my association, go to the executive board meetings, and pray regularly. … I want to know your thoughts on how to be a helpful participant in our state and national conventions. I’m new to denominational life and don’t understand it as well as brothers like you. Please help!”

Here was my reply…

That’s great that you want to get more involved in SBC life. I believe it will give you a lot of opportunities to be an encouragement, team player, and positive influence to other pastors. I was completely new to the SBC when I became pastor of First Southern Baptist Church eight years ago. I quickly discovered that our SBC identity was important to some of the people in our church, and thus it needed to become important to me. In the process, I learned more about God’s goodness to our convention and both opportunities and threats that loom on the horizon.

What I found helpful was to learn more about the convention on my own while also taking advantage of times to meet and build relationships. Some things you may want to do…

  • Books. Read a book on the history of SBC and the reasons for cooperation. For a biography of key historic leaders, check out Theologians of the Baptist Tradition. For a theological case for cooperation, read Southern Baptist Consensus & Renewal. For the story of Southern Seminary and its wider implications in the SBC, read Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
  • Publications. Begin reading denominational publications. Many of our SBC entities publish newsletters, magazines, and blogs like the CSBC, IMB, NAMB, ERLC, Lifeway, and our SBC seminaries. Subscribe to the CSBC weekly e-newsletter. And subscribe to your associational newsletter if they have one.
  • Meetings. Ask your local Director of Missions (DOM) if you can take him out for breakfast to thank him and get to know him. Attend Associational annual meetings and events.  Go to associational breakfast fellowship (if they have them). Attend the CSBC Annual Convention (this October it’s in Clovis). Attend the SBC Annual Meeting (this year it’s in Baltimore). I’ve attended the last five consecutive years, but will not be going this summer because it is rather cost prohibitive. I still hope to go every couple years. Consider other state conferences like On Target, Small Church Workshop, etc.
  • Social Media. Become Facebook friends with some of our state convention leaders and your fellow pastors. There are many Twitter feeds by people and organizations such as IMB, NAMB, Al Mohler, Ed Stetzer, Thom Rainer, Russell Moore. There are also many blogs and podcasts available by these organizations.
  • New Pastor Orientation. Some states offer a New Pastor Orientation. You can call your state office to learn more. I know the CSBC used to offer this for free, and it was a great way to get acquainted with those in the convention.

Denominations are a vast and complicated world. You won’t have time to do all these things, but pick a couple off the list and you will quickly find more specific ways to get more involved. 

Question: What are the benefits of denominations in the 21st century? Click here to leave a comment.

Pastor’s Conference Videos

Our California Pastors Conference last month was a big success and answer to prayer. We had over 250 pastors attend, and were able to give out eleven books to each attendee, including The Conviction to Lead by Al Mohler, Called to Lead by John MacArthur, and What is a Healthy Church? by Mark Dever.

It was an honor to put together this year’s program and speakers. On our survey form, one attendee spoke of the “marvelous speakers – great spiritual enrichment.” Another said, “It’s hard to pick just one good thing, because the whole Pastor’s Conference was probing, timely, and effective. But the preachers were God sent.”

All the audio and video are now available online for free…

Betrothed: A Call to Sanctify Christ’s Bride
2013 CSBC Pastors Conference

The Holiness of God” (Isaiah 6) – Elisha Rimestad
Personal Discipleship & Sanctification” (1 Cor. 4:14-6:11) – Dr. Russell Moore
Is Your Church Prepared to Suffer?” (Exodus 5) – Kevin Hsu
Preaching and Sanctification” (John 17:17) – Dr. Walter Price

Special thanks to the sponsors who made this year’s conference possible! These include: 

2013 Pastors Conference

Our 2013 Pastor’s Conference is just over a week away! I was asked to organize this year’s event, so let me share briefly about our theme.

Our title this year is Betrothed, and our basic theme is sanctification. Scripture teaches that the church is the bride of Christ — chosen, beloved, and betrothed. Christ died for our sins and continues to sanctify us with the water of the Word. He is preparing a bride without spot or wrinkle that He will soon come to claim.

Even more surprising, Christ recruits ordinary pastors to protect His bride. Paul describes this sacred trust in 2 Corinthians 11:2. Like a father writing to his engaged daughter, Paul says, “I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ.” Paul was faithful, and now it’s our turn.

On October 21-22, 2013, we’ll explore this theme of sanctification together. Monday night (10/21), we’ll see that God Himself is our perfect standard of holiness. Then, we’ll consider personal discipleship as a means of sanctification. Tuesday morning (10/22), we’ll learn how preaching and suffering conform the church into Christ’s image. Lastly, we’ll apply biblical principles to the sin of anger.

My prayer is that pastors would feel refreshed and sharpened after our short time together.

For driving directions and speaker bios, visit our conference webpage. Here’s the full schedule:

Betrothed: A Call to Sanctify Christ’s Bride
2013 CSBC Pastors Conference
October 21-22, 2013
Shadow Mountain Community Church
El Cajon, CA

Monday, October 21 | 6:30 pm – 9pm 
6:30 pm Musical Worship (Barabbas Road Baptist Church)
6:50 pm Session I: The Holiness of God (Elisha Rimestad)
7:30 pm Session II: Personal Discipleship & Sanctification – 1 Cor. 4:14-6:11 (Russell Moore)
8:25 pm Session III: Q&A Panel
9:00 pm Closing Prayer

Tuesday, October 22 | 8:30 am – 11:30 am
8:30 am Musical Worship (Barabbas Road Baptist Church)
8:40 am Session IV: Is Your Church Prepared to Suffer? – Ex. 5 (Kevin Hsu)
9:20 am Logos Bible Software Demonstration (Jose Martinez)
9:35 am Session V: Preaching & Sanctification – Jn. 17:17 (Walter Price)
10:10 am Election of 2015 Pastors’ Conference President
10:30 am Session VI: Anger Mismanagement: Only Grace Transforms the Heart – Mk. 7:20-23 (Jim Newheiser)
11:30 am Closing Prayer

This conference is FREE and open to all pastors, their wives, and laypeople. Through the generous donations of our sponsors, we’ll also be giving away ten books to every pastor in attendance. Hope to see you in El Cajon!

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SBC Makes History in New Orleans

Pastor David Crosby nominates Dr. Fred Luter as next President of the SBC

Today, we had the privilege of gathering in New Orleans to elect the first African-American President in the 167 year history of our Southern Baptist Convention. After nomination, Dr. Fred Luter ascended to the platform of the convention. Baptist Press describes what happened next…

It’s customary, current SBC President Bryant Wright said, when there is only one candidate for elective office, for the SBC recording secretary to cast one vote for everyone.

“However, this chair on this occasion believes this historic moment should fully belong to the messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention,” Wright said. He instructed the messengers to stand if it was “their pleasure” that Luter be elected president.

It was.

[Almost 8,000 messengers stood and gave a rousing ovation]

As Luter came to the podium, he wiped his eyes, pointed toward heaven, and wiped his eyes again.

“To God be the glory for the things He has done,” Luter simply said. “God bless you. I love you.”

Wright wrapped his arm around Luter’s shoulders as he prayed for the man elected to lead the Southern Baptist Convention as of Wednesday evening, June 20.

It was an emotional moment for all of us in the room. But as Danny Akin noted in the IX Marks at Nine meeting tonight, our work has just begun. This must be more than symbolic. We have elected our first African-American president of the SBC and shown once and for all that we have repented of our denomination’s past. Now we must support Dr. Luter as he leads us into the future.