NASHVILLE (BP) — Churches, Southern Baptist Convention entities and Baptist state conventions have heeded SBC President J.D. Greear’s call to pray and fast today (Oct. 8) for the five SBC entities seeking new presidents.
“Thanks to all of you going before God in fasting and prayer with Psalm 67 for what God has for us!” Greear tweeted, referencing Psalm 67’s call for God to “be gracious” to His people so His way of salvation would be known “among all nations.”
The five entities currently seeking presidents are the SBC Executive Committee, the International Mission Board, LifeWay Christian Resources, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Steve Swofford, chairman of the Executive Committee’s presidential search committee told Baptist Press via email, “Those of us on the search committee for the Executive Committee are humbled and grateful that Dr. Greear has challenged Southern Baptists to pray for us. Our strong desire from the beginning has been very simple. We want to find God’s man for this job at this particular time. Thank you, Southern Baptists, for praying for that to happen.”
Among Baptists to register their participation in the day of prayer and fasting:
— The SBC Executive Committee tweeted, “This morning our staff focused our weekly prayer time on SBC entities that are seeking new leaders and their search committees. Join us today in @jdgreear’s call to pray and fast.”
— The Kansas-Nebraska Convention of Southern Baptists held a time of focused prayer Oct. 8 during its annual meeting in Pratt, Kan., for the five SBC entities seeking presidents.
— Rick Lance, executive director of the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, tweeted, “Blessed by time this morning with [State Board of Missions] colleagues as we responded to a call by SBC president J.D. Greear to pray for denominational search committees.”
— Crossroads Community Church in Kenner, La., tweeted, “In response to @jdgreear’s request, our congregation prayed for @NOBTS, @swbts, @IMB_SBC, @LifeWay, and @EC_SBC as they search for their next leaders. May God grant wisdom for and guide their search processes.”
Several state conventions called churches and individuals to prayer for the SBC on social media.
Frank Cox, chairman of the board of trustees at New Orleans Seminary, told BP, “We covet the prayers of Southern Baptists. We believe when they pray, God is going to move.”
Cox, pastor of North Metro Baptist Church in Lawrenceville, Ga., said he anticipates announcing the members of New Orleans Seminary’s presidential search committee Oct. 9 or 10.
“We appreciate J.D. Greear calling for Southern Baptists to pray, as I’m sure all the entities that are looking for presidents right now do,” Cox said. “With this many vacancies, the lists are going to be short at each of the institutions. But yet God is going to make His will known.”
Greear, pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, N.C., had requested Oct. 2 via Twitter and in letters to Baptist leaders that Southern Baptist pray specifically for:
— “Wisdom for the search committee” at each entity “in assessing what is needed most for effective ministry in the 21st century”;
— “Boldness … in asking the difficult questions”;
— “Loving-kindness” as search committee members “interact with one another”; and
— “That God’s face would shine upon us as a people — not for our sake, but that Jesus’ name would be known to the ends of the earth.”