This is one summer that I’ll be sitting out national gatherings for Baptists. The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship General Assembly meets in Houston this upcoming weekend, American Baptist Churches (USA) are having their biennial right now in Pasadena, CA and Southern Baptists met in Louisville, KY a few days ago. National Baptists met as well in Detroit, MI. Aside from the business portion of their gatherings, there is another interesting point to be recognized.
This article provides a helpful comparison on just exactly who and what kind of individuals participate in these meetings. In particular, there is a contrast between ABC, CBF, and SBC when it comes to racial and gender divides among these Baptist organizations.
It’s worth noting that the racial and gender representation among the platform personnel and leadership is reflective of the local church’s attitude and vision toward this issue. CBF does not have the racial diversity, as it relates to its former SBC days, but it does attempt to be inclusive of both men and women. ABC has more diversity as it relates to both racial and gender participation, while the SBC is the least inclusive. You might gain the impression that there aren’t women capable of serving on any SBC board or committee, unless she happens to be married to a pastor.
My only point in mentioning this is to point out the significance of having FOUR nation wide Baptist gatherings over the course of 2 weeks. This makes me look forward to a time when we can experience the kind of unity that Jesus prayed for in John 17. In the meantime, we’ll do the best we can in reaching people for Christ through the local church.