CMBA Pastors Discuss, React to SBC Annual Meeting

More than a dozen CMBA pastors and church staff members attended the 2024 Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) Annual Meeting held in Indianapolis this summer. It is important to note that the CMBA Family of Churches are primarily Southern Baptist, aligning with the national and state conventions both in membership, doctrine, and the embrace of The Baptist Faith & Message, the denomination’s statement of faith. Much like the CMBA Annual Meeting, the SBC Annual Meeting serves as an opportunity to celebrate missions and ministry and to conduct important business.

Messengers to the meeting this year voted on several widely-publicized issues, including striking down a proposed “Law Amendment” to the SBC constitution that would include language banning women from holding the office of pastor in local churches. The SBC’s biblical stance on this issue already appears in The Baptist Faith & Message. Other issues emerged from this year’s meeting that messengers will address in future meetings, including a resolution on invitro fertilization. More extensive meeting coverage may be found here.

According to CMBA Associational Missions Strategist Jamie Rogers, it’s important for local Southern Baptist churches to remember that ultimately, they are autonomous, and that autonomy extends to how they relate to each other, the association, and to the state and national conventions. “The exciting thing is that we get to partner together. I love all layers of Southern Baptist life, and am always encouraged to see how we’re cooperating together to impact lostness around the globe,” he says.

Ryan Perz is the pastor of Three Rivers Baptist, located in the I-26 corridor area of the association. He makes a point to attend SBC meetings when substantial issues are brought before the convention, such as the sex abuse revelations several years ago, and when his church is commissioning International Mission Board workers. He acknowledges his congregation is largely unphased by major SBC issues but planned to give a meeting update while highlighting the SBC’s strong focus on reaching the lost and obedience to the Great Commission.

Perz traveled to Indianapolis this year because of the proposed Law Amendment and his conviction for messengers to “take a firm stand” for biblical faithfulness. He was “disappointed that the amendment didn’t pass,” but appreciated the opportunity during the meeting to “see the 80-plus people commissioned with the IMB.”

North Columbia Pastor Andy Weems has attended SBC Annual Meetings when they’ve been convenient locations and suited his schedule, but admitted this year’s meeting was the first he’d been to in 10 years. He appreciates that the meetings keep messengers updated on the collective work of the SBC while providing opportunities to network and hear first-hand missions stories. Because he attended this year’s meeting, Weems intends to share the missions-related needs, opportunities to engage, and prayer requests he heard about with his congregation.

“I also appreciate that Jamie and other CMBA pastors shared information on the issues, candidates, and concerns prior to this year’s convention,” adds Weems. “This kind of help and information is critical to being prepared when you are out of the loop on what is going on nationally.” 

For his part, Beulah Baptist Pastor Cameron DeBrew says he’s attended eight of the last 10 SBC Annual Meetings, and that his pastoral staff is likely much more aware of national news and issues than his congregation. He weighs participation in the meetings with allowing the voice of a pastor and a church to be heard, and said after the meeting he had “some extended conversations with some individual members who approached me with specific questions.”  

Overall, DeBrew says this year’s meeting was “positive and unifying,” and “seeing 83 missionaries confirmed and hearing the reports from seminaries and other SBC entities was encouraging.”

Rogers invites the CMBA Family of Churches to grow their connections to the association, whether or not they decide to become more engaged with SBC meetings and issues. “The best way to stay connected is through the association. This is where the ‘rubber meets the road’ in ministry life,” he says.

CMBA Family of Churches should note several important Fall meetings – the Executive and Advisory Team meetings will be held jointly on Tuesday evening, September 17, from 6-8 p.m. at North Trenholm Baptist. Church leaders and representatives are encouraged to attend the meeting, which will include a meal and fellowship time. The 2024 CMBA Annual Meeting will be held on Thursday, October 8, also from 6-8 p.m. at a location yet to be determined.

The 2024 South Carolina Baptist Convention Annual Meeting will be held November 11-12, at First Baptist Columbia, with Pastor and current SCBC President Wes Church presiding. Details and messenger registration information may be found here.

About the author 

Julia Bell