Ken Whitten, pastor of Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz, Fla., nominates H.B. Charles, pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla., as the first black president of the SBC Pastors’ Conference. Charles won by acclamation. Photo by Jeremy Scott

The 2017 SBC Pastors’ Conference proved historic on many levels including the unanimous election of H.B. Charles Jr., pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla., as the conference’s first black president.

The election took place during the afternoon session of the conference at the Phoenix Convention Center, June 12. In addition to the historic nature of the officer elections, this year’s lineup of speakers included pastors of smaller to average-size Southern Baptist churches preaching through the book of Philippians.

H.B. Charles

Charles was nominated by Ken Whitten, pastor of Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz, Fla., who said, “I want to be real clear about one thing — I am not nominating H.B. Charles because of the color of his skin. I’m suggesting that he be the conference president because of the character of his soul and the convictions of his spirit.”

Whitten shared about Charles’ pastoral ministry experience and commitments to the inerrancy of Scripture and expositional preaching, adding, “All of this has given H.B. a vision of what every Southern Baptist pulpit can look like, when we make Jesus Christ the central figure of our preaching and the cross the central factor of our preaching.”

There were no other nominees, so current conference president Dave Miller asked the crowd to vote by standing and cheering, and the entire auditorium erupted in applause.

Steve Swofford, pastor of First Baptist Church in Rockwall, Texas, was nominated by Bart Barber of First Baptist Church in Farmersville, Texas, vice president for the 2018 Pastors’ Conference, and was elected unopposed. There were no nominees for secretary, so Miller explained that per the rules of the conference, Charles would be able to appoint one.

Monday afternoon and evening Pastors’ Conference sermons follow:

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SOURCE: Baptist Press



I have just returned from the Southern Baptist Convention’s Annual Session in Phoenix, Arizona. It was a busy but blessed week.

Having preached five times Sunday (a big mistake I do not intend to repeat), I caught a flight to Phoenix through Atlanta. The flight to Atlanta was uneventful. My connection was scheduled to leave Atlanta at 9:35 PM. Because of mechanical difficulties, it did not leave until 3 AM Monday morning. As you can imagine, I spent the rest of the week trying to recover.

The SBC Pastors’ Conference kicked off on Sunday evening, led by David Miller. Between Sunday evening to Monday evening, twelve brothers preached through Philippians. I was helped by the messages I heard, particularly the last message by Shane Hall. It was also wonderful to be led in worship by the Gettys.

It was announced that I would be nominated for President of the 2018 Pastors’ Conference in Dallas (June 10-11). This year’s president, David Miller, permitted pastors from Shiloh Church to shadow his team to get a glimpse of what we were getting ourselves into. Very gracious!

As I sat in the back of the hall and listened to Ken Whitten nominate me, the magnitude of the moment hit me. My unanimous election left me speechless. It is an honor to lead next year’s conference. Please pray for us as we plan and prepare.

The big news had to do with a proposed resolution to condemn “anti-gospel Alt-Right white supremacy.” I have not been a member of the SBC long enough to know how some procedural things work. But it was immediately clear that the ball was dropped.

It did not take long, however, for the leaders to recover the obvious fumble on an important matter. We did not go to bed Tuesday evening without affirming a plan for a resolution to be set before the convention Wednesday.

The new resolution was virtually unanimously affirmed Wednesday afternoon. Immediately after the vote, President Steve Gaines introduced me to preach the last message of the convention. It was a very emotional moment. Praise God for strengthening grace to preach!

Because of the racial history and reputation of the SBC, it is important that moments like these are not fumbled. As an African-American Pastor of a dually aligned church (National Baptist and Southern Baptist), I know the negative effects of any failure to give clear-throated condemnation of racism.

The cultural climate made this resolution important. More importantly, fewer words and more actions are needed to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

My friend, Mark Dever, once again permitted me to take part in the 9Marks panel. It was a joy to serve with Albert Mohler and Danny Akin.

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SOURCE: – H.B. Charles Jr