Baptist Courier: Racial Unity & the 2016 SBC Annual Meeting

When I was elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention in June of 2014 in Baltimore, little did I know God would take me through the open doors of addressing racial challenges in America.

While racial unrest already existed in our nation, it was not until Aug. 9, 2014, and the tragic death of a black teenager named Michael Brown, shot and killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo., that we began to see this racial unrest erupt like a volcano across our nation.

From my very first press conference as the newly elected president of the SBC, I began calling upon Southern Baptists to join me in praying extraordinarily and passionately pursuing the next Great Spiritual Awakening in America. When the Ferguson tragedy occurred, God burdened my heart immediately, adjusting my path of understanding.

Politicians, corporate leaders, educators, religious leaders and pastors in America rarely initiate and move forward a positive agenda that leads to racial unity. We should seek to change this.

While this path is still toward the next Great Awakening, God revealed clearly to me and anyone else that has been spiritually alert in America that one of the greatest sins in our nation today is the sin of racism.

At my blog,, in several articles I have recounted the journey taken to bring us to the upcoming session at our SBC annual meeting in St. Louis, “A National Conversation on Racial Unity.” I encourage you to take the time to review those articles, including “Southern Baptists: When Crises Abound, What Should We Do?” and “The Spiritual State of Our Union.”

Immediately following my presidential address at the SBC annual meeting, we will move into our National Conversation on Racial Unity. Jerry Young, president of the National Baptist Convention, USA, and Marshall Blalock, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Charleston, S.C., will begin the conversation.

Dr. Young will speak on “Where We Are Today and Where We Must Go in the Future,” and Pastor Blalock will speak on “The Tragedy and Triumph of Charleston, South Carolina.”

From this foundation, I will lead a panel conversation on racial unity in America. During this 55-minute section of our Southern Baptist Convention, we will be joined by 10 pastors.

The entire Tuesday morning session will be powerful, so please do not miss any of it. All scheduled luncheons will occur following the dismissal of the morning session. You won’t want to be late!

Read more at Racial Unity & the 2016 SBC Annual Meeting.