SBC’s Executive Committee Encouraged at Denomination’s Progress on ‘Ethnic Diversity’

A review of ethnic participation in Southern Baptist Convention life left a workgroup of the convention’s Executive Committee (Feb. 21) encouraged at the SBC’s progress and eager for increased diversity in the days ahead. (Left to right) Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.), K. Marshall Williams, president of the National African American Fellowship, and Jerry Young, president of the National Baptist Convention, USA, pray together during last year’s SBC annual meeting.
BP file photo by Matt Miller

A review of ethnic participation in Southern Baptist Convention life left a workgroup of the convention’s Executive Committee encouraged at the SBC’s progress and eager for increased diversity in the days ahead.

Reports submitted to the EC “show intentionality on the part of each one of our entities to provide resources and opportunities for involvement of our ethnic churches and church leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention,” Jim Gregory, chairman of the EC’s Communications Workgroup, told Baptist Press. “I think we’ve made some very good strides because of our intentionality.”

In a Feb. 21 meeting, the Communications Workgroup reviewed information on ethnic church and church leader participation provided in entities’ 2017 Cooperative Program Ministry Reports. Among the highlights:

— Approximately half of North American Mission Board church plants are predominantly non-Anglo.

— LifeWay Christian Resources is the “largest commercial publisher of Spanish Bibles in the world.”

— For more than 20 years, the student body at Gateway Seminary (formerly Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary) has been about 60 percent non-Anglo.

— Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary has increased its “multicultural student population” by more than 47 percent since 2011.

Ken Weathersby, EC vice president for convention advancement, told BP he is “grateful to God that Southern Baptists recognize the need to assist non-Anglo churches that are part of the SBC. Almost one out of five [Southern Baptist churches] are non-Anglo.”

Weathersby added, “Until everybody is saved, we’ve always got room for improvement.” But racial reconciliation has occurred within the SBC because believers of many races and ethnicities have their “hand on the Gospel plow together.”

A 14-page compilation of ethnic participation data reviewed by the Communications Workgroup included information from each SBC entity.

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SOURCE: Baptist Press
David Roach