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FIRST-PERSON: 10 years of racial progress in the SBC

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (BP)–From an African American perspective in the past 10 years:

1. Associations have begun to call African Americans to serve as director of missions.

2. The SBC has elected three African Americans as second vice president. (In 1974, an African American also was elected to the position.)

3. SBC agencies have begun to employ African American vice presidents.

4. Southern Baptist seminaries have increased the number of African American faculty.

5. Southern Baptist seminaries have increased their focus on African American church studies, even to the point of doctoral programs in Black Church Leadership.

6. The SBC has accelerated church starting in African American communities.

7. The number of African American international missionaries has proliferated.

8. African American denominational workers have organized a national fellowship called the Black Southern Baptist Denominational Servants Network.

9. Attendance has increased dramatically at Black Church Leadership Week at the Baptist conference centers.

10. Twenty African Americans (total) have been elected president of their state conventions.

11. The African American Fellowship of the Southern Baptist Convention has regionalized and expanded into various states.

12. The SBC in annual session has voted to apologize to Blacks for slavery.

13. The SBC in annual session established an arson fund to assist burned churches.

14. SBC boards and committees have included a dramatic increase in Blacks.

15. An African American has delivered the annual sermon at the SBC.

16. Two state conventions have called a man of color to serve as executive director.

17. Southern Baptist Theological Seminary has employed an African American to serve as vice president of communications.

18. The SBC established a task force on racial reconciliation.

19. SBC entities have opened mainstream management positions to African Americans.

20. Some predominantly Anglo churches have called an African American to serve as pastor.

21. Nearly 25 percent of SBC churches have Blacks among their membership today.

22. Many associations have elected an African American to serve as moderator (including at least one woman).

23. Numerous state conventions have elected an African American to serve as vice president.

24. Most SBC entities have an African American cultural specialty program led by Blacks.

25. The exponential proliferation of Black churches in the SBC is a contemporary phenomenon in church history.

    About the Author

  • Sid Smith