Floridians at the Convention
Jun 25, 2010
By CAROLYN NICHOLS
Florida Baptist Witness

Related Coverage:

2010 SBC Annual Meeting

ORLANDO (FBW)—Florida Baptist Witness asked several Floridians around the Orlando Convention Center June 16 their impressions of the annual Southern Baptist Convention meeting.  Most appreciated the music and preaching of the meeting, and marveled at Baptist democracy in action. These are their comments:

Shawn Bergen, pastor of church planting at Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral:  “I am very hopeful. It is so exciting to see younger pastors getting involved. There is real enthusiasm to make the best efforts to fulfill the Great Commission.”

Wescoat Holloway, retired pastor and messenger from Crossroads Baptist Church in Middleburg:  “In the discussion of the Great Commission Resurgence and in looking over the crowd during the votes, it looked pretty close on both sides. My thinking is that we should have voted on each recommendation separately.  In the Pastors’ Conference I especially enjoyed hearing David Uth, and the stories of the man and little girl who sang.”

John Keith, former pastor of Oak View Baptist Church in Okechobee and current pastor of Red Hills Church in Cedar City, Utah: “I was really impressed with the gracious spirit of [Tuesday’s]discussion and Johnny Hunt’s leadership during the debates. The preaching at the Pastors’ Conference was phenomenal.”

FAMILY Many families travel to the convention. Photo by Alex Towers
Charles Roesel, pastor emeritus of First Baptist Church in Leesburg: “I am exceptionally pleased with the emphasis placed [Tuesday] on the Cooperative Program, and the obvious allegiance of the entire Convention to the program. The Great Commission Resurgence report clearly expressed loyalty to the Cooperative Program, and it was exciting to know that people wanted even more loyalty.”

Chet Thomas, pastor of First Baptist Church in Flagler Beach, and his wife Dusty:  “So far it has been interesting. I’m not sure that people understood—for or against—what they were voting on, but we’ll see what happens from here. God’s hand is being felt, and we are looking forward to the future.”

Tim Hall, pastor of Gully Springs Baptist Church in Bonifay:  “It has been very different from what I expected. There is less unity that I thought there would be—but we are Baptists. I’m not sure that the task force answered enough questions before the Convention. The people sitting next to me [Tuesday] are home missionaries and they are afraid they will lose their jobs.”

Shelly Chandler, pastor of First Baptist Church in Bonifay: “I think we are pretty unified. This was nothing more than a fired up Baptist business meeting—no bloodshed. I am glad that [the GCR task force] backed up and slowed down. I tell you Johnny Hunt’s neck should be sore this morning from looking side to side at parliamentarians. In past years I felt that things were decided before we got here—but not this year.”

Jeremy Todd, minister of missions and evangelism, Fruit Cove Baptist Church in Jacksonville: “I am encouraged to see the direction that the Convention is heading with the greater emphasis on the Great Commission. Knowing sound theology is leading to sound missiology. The good thing about being Baptists is that everybody can voice an opinion and know that it is heard.  The unity in the room was evident to me.”

Bobbie Sawner, deacon’s wife, East Hill Baptist Church in Tallahassee:  “It’s been very educational, and the Convention has done a good job.  I was pleasantly surprised  to see and hear the Governor of Georgia. Everything here has been easy-going. There hasn’t been controversy—just a difference of opinion, and we love each other in spite of our differences. [When asked her favorite speaker of the week, she said] “John Sullivan is our favorite preacher, and he isn’t speaking here.”

Walter Bowman, pastor, Athens Baptist Church in Lake City: “This Convention has been very inspiring, balanced and confrontational, and I enjoy it all, especially the music and preaching.”

Jeffrey Pinder, pastor of First Baptist Church in Port St. Joe, said he is grateful Southern Bapstist have moved beyond “disuinty” and can get along. Photo by Alex Towers
Jeffrey Pindar, pastor, First Baptist Church in Port St. Joe, and his wife Cheryl: “We are having a good time. [Tuesday] at first was tense with disunity and misunderstandings, but I was pleased with the end result.” Cheryl Pinder: “I think that everyone wants to witness, to be unified in pushing back the darkness. We are unified on that point.”

Preston Gainey, pastor, Hopewell Baptist Church in Madison: “This is my second Southern Baptist Convention, and I liked the first enough to bring my whole family this time. [The Convention]will be OK through all the controversy. God is on the throne and I believe, that when it all boils down, we’ll join together and do what it right to accomplish the Great Commission.”

Caron Harn, pastor, Grand Ridge Bap­tist Church:  “I was overall impressed with the Convention’s decisions. The main thing is reaching peo­ple for Christ, and we are well on the way to making that a priority again.”

Abe Ng and Alvin Cheung, laymen and messengers from First Chinese Baptist Church in Miami. Cheung is student at the NOBTS extension in Miami: “This is our first Convention, and it has been fabulous. We are impressed with the scale and power of the SBC organization. It is all theoretical until you sit in the auditorium. The 1,000-voice choir was amazing—we got there early to hear them practice. I think that they should put the choir rehearsal as an optional activity on the program.” Admitting no familiarity with the Cooperative Program, Ng and Cheug said they believe the business was well-handled, even-handed and even unpredictible. They had to leave before the final vote.

Steve Moore, pastor, Walton Road Baptist Church in Port St. Lucie: “It is good to see a lot of young families. I think Disney helps. I appreciate the concern about the Great Commission Resurgence, and we are praying—whatever side—that the Convention will move forward. We have too much at stake not to move forward. The motions, points of order, and such were confusing to everybody, and I think it was a good thing to have the parliamentarian talk. I think I need to study Roberts Rules of Order.”

Related Coverage:

2010 SBC Annual Meeting

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