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North Carolina Pastor Clint Pressley Elected SBC President

Por Bob Smietana
clint pressley hickory grove baptist
Rev. Clint Pressley serves as senior pastor of Hickory Grove Baptist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Courtesy Photo)

Clint Pressley, a North Carolina megachurch pastor known for a conservative but even-keeled approach to leadership and who does not wear jeans in the pulpit, has been elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention.

After a pair of run-off elections, Pressley received 56% of the 7,562 votes cast during a Tuesday morning session of the SBC annual meeting at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis.  Tennessee pastor Dan Spencer, who had qualified for the final run-off with Pressley, received 43.7% of the votes.

Pressley, who has led Hickory Grove Baptist Church in Charlotte for the past 14 years, prefers a suit and tie and a more traditional approach in worship, and he has indicated that his more formal style will translate into his leadership. “It seems like the kind of rhetoric and the temperature is really high and I’d like to see it come down a good bit,” Pressley dicho media earlier this year.

He repeated that message at a forum hosted by the National African American Fellowship of the SBC earlier this week, saying he hoped Southern Baptists would focus on evangelism and missions.

“We got to quit arguing and start going back to work,” he said.

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clint pressley
Pastor Clint Pressley speaks alongside other Southern Baptist Convention presidential candidates, June 10, 2024, in Indianapolis. Pastor Dan Spencer sits at left. (RNS Photo/Adelle M. Banks)

Pressley was one of six candidates seeking the SBC presidency, an influential volunteer role in the nation’s largest Protestant denomination. Three of the candidates — North Carolina pastor Bruce Franks, Oklahoma pastor Mike Keahbone, and Tennessee pastor Jared Moore — were eliminated after the first round of votes.  David Allen, a longtime seminary pastor, missed the cut-off during a first run-off.

The field of six candidates was the largest since 2008. This year’s race was the first to be undecided after one run-off since 2016. That year, a run-off between North Carolina megachurch pastor J.D. Greear and Tennessee megachurch pastor Steve Gaines ended in a tie. Greear dropped out of the race but was elected president two year later.

Pressley supported the so-called Law Amendment, a measure that would bar churches with women pastors and will be voted on later in this annual meeting.

He also was generally supportive of abuse reforms but did have questions about a proposed database of abusers, which was approved for third year in a row by messengers on Monday.

pressley church abuse
Rev. Clint Pressley serves as senior pastor of Hickory Grove Baptist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Courtesy Photo)

He was a proponent of more training and awareness for churches in dealing with abuse. At a SBC presidential forum, Pressley said that, in the past, his church would not have been prepared to deal with abuse. But the recent reforms, he said, caused his church to take the issue seriously and enact policies and training to deal with abuse.

That training meant the Hickory Grove leaders knew what to do when a church volunteer was recently accused of abusing a family member. Had the SBC not started dealing with abuse in recent years, he said, “We would not have known what to do.”

Bob SmietanaBob Smietana es reportero nacional de Religion News Service.

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3 Respuestas

  1. this is merely changing seats on the titanic unless the SBC acknowledges, repents of, and deals with the wickedness in it’s midst, instead of continuing to paper over it by saying “it’s time we stop fighting and get back on mission”. God wants none of that “mission”, when it churns out abuse of women, children, and Black people.

    1. I was a pastor in the sbc. In fact I pastored a church in Missouri previously pastored by the newly elected first VP. He had left the church in a financial and spiritual mess ( financial fraud, greed, spiritual abuse). I wrote to the pastor nominating him to no avail. He is a Floydite and will help maintain the status quo. They do not want reform.

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