NASHVILLE (BP) – “One Mind, One Voice” will be the theme of the 2024 Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, SBC President Bart Barber announced today (Sept. 28). Romans 15:5-6 will serve as the background passage.
The theme was central to Barber’s message at the International Mission Board’s Sending Service held Sept. 27. Addressing missionaries on the verge of entering the field, he spoke of the need for collective Southern Baptist support to take the Gospel to the nations.
It came up as he talked to a group of students at First Baptist Farmersville, Texas, where he serves as pastor. The teacher for an elective Sunday School class on missions couldn’t be there and Barber filled in. His contribution, in particular, would be how the SBC works and supports missions.
“I looked at [those] students in my church and I said, ‘Because of the way our church partners with other churches in the [SBC], when God calls you, we’re ready for you. We’ve prepared ahead of time – in faith, believing – that God would call you.”
A potential obstacle to missions support, he told those at the Sending Celebration, “is if our differences cause us to reach a point where we struggle to cooperate.”
In written comments to Baptist Press, Barber said Romans 15 “provides us with several commands from God as to how we should navigate differences with one another over small differences in doctrine.”
“Passion for doctrine is important,” he said. “It will never lead us wrong so long as it is held alongside an equal passion for unity and cooperation. The Book of Romans not only teaches this outlook, but it also models it for us. After 13 chapters of clear, dogmatic teaching about important doctrines, Romans 14 emphasized the importance of our carefully and lovingly navigating some sorts of doctrinal differences. In our theme text, Romans 15 seals the deal on what we are taught in Romans 14 by reminding us of our obligation to one another and then commanding us to please one another for our mutual edification.”
The passage points us toward the goal God would have for us all, Barber told missionaries Wednesday night.
There are areas of agreement and areas that requiring bearing with one another over differences. All of it, he said, is “for the purpose so that we can come together and be of the same mind with one another, with the same voice with one another … to give glory to God, the Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
“In other words, our harmony, our cooperation to send you is a way that we bring glory to the name of Jesus Christ.”
The 2024 Annual Meeting and Pastors’ Conference will be held June 9-12 at the Indiana Convention Center. Hotel reservations will become available on Monday, Oct. 2.
Interim EC President and CEO Jonathan Howe said the meeting’s location will bring a different experience than New Orleans, which made shuttling of numerous messengers necessary.
“For SBC24, there are available rooms in a dozen hotels connected to the convention center by skywalks,” he said.