Several years ago while serving in another denomination, I noticed in my twitter feed that many friends and acquaintances were attending that year’s Southern Baptist Convention. Following their updates and comments served as another reminder that though I was outside of the Southern Baptist fold, I was of it. Those updates, stories, and business sessions (I watched live via the internet) pained my heart because I recognized even Southern Baptists were “my people.” Now, having returned to the Southern Baptist Convention and attending Southwestern, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to attend this year’s convention in New Orleans.
I had debated whether the trip to New Orleans would be worth the expense, but upon discovering the historic occasion of this year’s convention, my attendance was certain. This was to be the year that a denomination founded in 1845 by slave-owners would elect their first African-American president, Fred Luter. This was to be the year that an alternative moniker, “Great Commission Baptists,” was to be adopted for those who would desire it’s use. I did not attend with any agenda for or against these items. In fact, I did not even have a vote. However, I wanted to be there. I wanted to experience the Southern Baptist Convention up-close and in-person.
Over the next few days, I plan to publish a few thoughts on the convention through the eyes of one attending the convention for the very first time.