17 Observations of the 2017 Southern Baptist Convention

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I’m in San Diego, cooling down from cooking in the Arizona sun the last few days at the 2017 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting. As I relax here in beautiful downtown San Diego, I’m also reflecting on the 2017 SBC annual meeting. Here are 17 observations . . .


  1. I am more pumped up about missions than I have been in a long time.


The IMB and NAMB presentations were inspiring. I loved seeing many missionaries share stories of Great Commission fulfillment.


  1. Calvinists and heavily-Calvinist-leaning people have taken over the majority of attendees of the annual meeting despite the majority of Southern Baptists not leaning in this soteriological direction.


I’m a non-Calvinist and openly acknowledge the battle has been lost. No need to drag it out or dwell on it. The one key thing this means is that I cannot depend on the SBC to be a major resource for evangelism efforts due to the lack of emphasis it currently receives, nor will it receive as it moves into the future. The good news is that those resources are available elsewhere.

[update at 10:55 a.m.  EDT, June 16, 2017] One thing that just popped in my mind that I’m surprised I forgot is that an evangelism task force was officially passed by the SBC this year. That is an encouraging sign and strong leadership by President Gaines.


  1. Despite some frustrations I have with my family, I still love my family. Despite some frustrations I have with my SBC family, they’re still my family.


  1. My favorite thing about going to the SBC is hanging out with friends.


  1. I’m concerned that most young pastors and seminarians I met wanted to be church planters or staff members, but few wanted to pastor established churches.


  1. The childcare at the SBC is quite awesome.


  1. While Phoenix is a great city, and the convention center is fantastic, the annual meeting should never be there again due to the heat.


  1. I saw more racial diversity than ever before, and that is really encouraging.


  1. I’m a complementarian, and feel women are under-utilized in leadership roles in the SBC.


  1. Steve Gaines is a statesman.


  1. H. B. Charles, Jr. being elected as the first African-American president of the SBC Pastor’s Conference is really encouraging.


I’m surprised I didn’t hear anyone complain about how low his church’s CP giving is. My church’s is really low, too. I’m just surprised it wasn’t an issue.


  1. I don’t know why this still bothers me, but people still do the “How many are you guys running?” kind of conversations.


  1. I walked away from multiple conversations involving gossip and fell into that sin a couple of times this week. For some reason, Satan loves to lay this trap at the SBC annual meeting.


  1. I think less pastors are trying to overtly “climb the ladder” than ever before. That’s encouraging.


  1. Eavesdropping in the hallways and hotel lobby is my guilty pleasure. It became more evident the last few days.


  1. The musical worship led by Mark Blair was intergenerational and really encouraging.


  1. Johnny Hunt’s sermon was, just as I expected, really good.


I know these are random observations from all over the map. If you went, what were your thoughts? Let me know in the comment section below.

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3 Comments on “17 Observations of the 2017 Southern Baptist Convention”

  1. Do you really think number 2 is correct? What evidence do you see? I attended the convention and I did not get this vine

    1. I obviously think number two is correct because I wrote it. It is merely anecdotal. If you didn’t get the same vibe, it’s fine. The evidence seen would require a long post, which I don’t think would be profitable.

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