Why I Am Voting Ken Hemphill For SBC President
by Brad Graves
Brad Graves is the Senior Pastor at Ada First Baptist Church. Brad received his education at the University of Arkansas and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. To hear more from him, follow him on Twitter at @BradleyGraves
Next week, we will gather as an extended family for our SBC annual meeting. My favorite part, by far, is seeing old friends and making new ones. The relationships I’ve built within the SBC are valuable to me. The years that we vote for a president draw a larger crowd. The more people we can engage in our annual meetings the better off we are.
This year we have two candidates for President of the SBC. I’m grateful for that.
To only have one candidate would be to silence someone’s voice, and that’s not the goal of our SBC polity.
When you set the two candidates beside one another, I see the strength of our convention. Both JD and Ken are great men in every aspect. Everyone should agree on that. The drama and tension in this race have not stemmed from these two godly leaders. They have stayed above the fray.
For me, a long-time friend of JD and a young(er) pastor, I thought I would vote for him. But as the culture has shifted the last few months, I’ve seen things from a different perspective. That new perspective leads me to vote for Ken.
Briefly, the next SBC President will have to lead us through the assimilation of three new entity head positions. Ken is a former entity head being the president of SWBTS. Plus, he worked for the Executive Committee, NAMB, and Lifeway. His wife Paula worked for the IMB for ten years. These new leaders will have an amazing resource in Ken as president of the SBC.
The next SBC President will have to lead our convention through the various applications of the resolutions we will have from this year’s SBC Annual Meeting. Whether it is racial reconciliation, the highlight of women in our SBC leadership, the strong stance against abuse, etc… I believe Ken has the experience to best lead us as we apply these resolutions while making certain the majority of the SBC is engaged.
And, the next SBC President will have to strengthen the core systems within our convention. Church planting, church growth, and increase in baptisms is fundamental to our mission. Increasing CP giving is critical, that is what keeps missionaries on the field, allows us to start new churches, and equip more pastors.
Many things have changed the last few months. This new culture requires strategic, steady leadership. I believe Ken is the best to bring that at this moment.
This election should not be a generational vote between the young and old.
This election should not be a positional vote between reformed and traditionalist.
This election should not be a personality vote between who is more popular.
It should be about practical and spiritual leadership. Both men bring it, just differently.
In our rush to be sensitive to include newer leaders, are we being insensitive to exclude older leaders? In our call to sensitivity, are we becoming insensitive to those who disagree with us?
Regardless, I hope and pray that after the election results are announced, we celebrate with 100% standing ovation, not for a man, but for the revealed will of God. And in that revelation let’s move forward together.