What’s going on at the SBC? A recap, pt. 1 — Monday

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J.R.M. Owens

In a rare second ballot vote, pastors at the Pastors’ Conference elected Daniel Dickard, a North Carolina pastor, as president to host next year’s Pastors’ Conference in New Orleans. He beat out Voddie Baucham, a seminary dean in Zambia, 690 – 608.

Meanwhile, the Pastors’ Conference that promised a “who’s that, not who’s who” speaker slate drew “hundreds” of attendees for its kickoff Sunday night while “about 1,000” attended a parallel Conservative Baptist Network event, per Baptist Press.

(Skip to the end for the TL;DR version.)

What is the Pastors’ Conference?

While the SBC Annual Meeting is Tuesday and Wednesday, the Pastors’ Conference is held on Sunday and Monday. Think of it like a pre-Annual Meeting rally, but it’s technically separate with its own president and budget.

Why the president matters:

The Pastors’ Conference president decides who preaches at the Pastors’ Conference the following year. The speaker lineup sets the tone for the Annual Meeting.

More context:

The Pastors’ Conference has no bylaws, so there is no basis for any rules. For the first time in recent memory, the presidents of last year’s and this year’s Pastors’ Conferences chose to limit voters to pastoral staff.

  • There’s debate on whether or not this is allowed. But no bylaws means there’s no way to answer: Can the president do that? Can attendees choose to ignore it? Nobody knows.

What does it all mean?

  • Baucham was the candidate serving on the steering council of the Conservative Baptist Network, though Daniel Dickard has been praised by Network leadership on social media.
  • A close vote suggests motions, resolutions, and elections on Tuesday and Wednesday will come down to razor-thin margins.