BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BNM) - The 2019 Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting, recently held in Birmingham, Alabama, drew messengers from all across New Mexico, including some who were Baptist Convention of New Mexico staff. The Baptist New Mexican sought out attendees for their reactions to and perspectives about their experiences at the meeting and related events.
Matt Henslee, pastor of Mayhill Baptist Church, said that this convention, “surprisingly,” stood out to him more than other conventions. He said, “I thought it was far more united than some of the past annual meetings. While you expect disagreements - and there were some - it was overwhelmingly positive, united and truly lived out its theme: ‘Gospel Above All.’”
Henslee said one of his favorite parts of the Annual Meeting was meeting new people and catching up with old friends. “I even got to see my childhood youth pastor, who is now on [a church] staff in Mississippi,” he recalled. “What I enjoy the most at the SBC are the conversations with fellow pastors in the trenches from all over the country. It is a joy to encourage them and hear what God is up to in their ‘neck of the woods.’”
Kyle Bueermann, pastor of First Baptist Church, Alamogordo, said of the SBC meeting that the schedule was quite different this year. He said that he loved the fact that the commissioning of the new International Mission Board missionaries had a primary place on the Tuesday schedule. Bueermann said he feels that the commissioning of the missionaries is one of the most important things done there.
Bueermann emphasized that the fellowship among messengers is one of the primary reasons he attends each year. He said, “These few days provide a great time to network with other pastors to mutually encourage one another in ministry.” This was his fourth time to attend an SBC Annual Meeting. He also served on the SBC’s Committee on Committees as one of New Mexico’s two members.
Bruce Morrison, senior adults and missions pastor for Church at the Butte, Elephant Butte, told the Baptist New Mexican that this SBC Annual Meeting definitely stood out to him because of the willingness of messengers and leadership to address the sexual abuse issue. He appreciated the leadership of J.D. Greear, SBC president. This was Bruce, and his wife, Jane’s, 13th trip to an SBC Annual Meeting. Morrison continued, “The most impressive part of the convention, to us, was the commissioning service of the new IMB missionaries. And, it was especially special to us because we personally knew two of the missionaries being commissioned.”
The Baptist New Mexican also contacted Ronny Cooksey, pastor of Sandia Baptist Church, Albuquerque, who stated that he has attended six SBC meetings and that he felt that the action to help fight sexual abuse was significant and great at this year’s meeting. Cooksey said that his favorite times at the SBC this year were the fellowship with BCNM pastors and old friends, the IMB Sending Celebration and the preaching.
Other activities also took place during the five days of SBC related meetings, including the SBC Pastors' Conference, breakfast and lunch meetings hosted by various groups (the North American Mission Board, the International Mission Board, LifeWay Christian Resources, Baptist 21 and Southern Baptist seminaries). The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission leaders gathered at Top Golf.