The SBC Executive Committee has named a permanent advisory group to continue to equip, inform, and empower all Southern Baptists for the spread of the Gospel.
The Convention Advancement Advisory Council (CAAC) continues the work of five three-year advisory councils appointed by EC President and CEO Frank S. Page since 2011. Each advisory council, representing a different ethnic group or subset of Southern Baptist churches, submitted a report to help the EC and SBC entity heads better understand each group’s unique perspectives and needs. The reports provide information and guidance to better incorporate their respective groups into the total fabric of SBC life, including leadership roles, and identify specific areas for improvement accompanied by suggested solutions. The CAAC will help implement those reports.
The Hispanic Advisory Council, appointed in 2011, and the African American Advisory Council, appointed in 2012, both completed their work and presented their final reports to Page in 2014. The Asian American Advisory Council, appointed in 2013, presented its report in 2015. The Multi-Ethnic Advisory Council and Bivocational and Smaller Church Advisory Council were both appointed in 2014 and presented their reports to Page at the 2016 SBC annual meeting in St. Louis.
“The advisory councils represented more than ten thousand ethnic and language churches and congregations and over thirty thousand bivocational and smaller membership congregations,” said Ken Weathersby, vice president for Convention advancement with the EC. “Therefore, it is important for the CAAC to assist in the implementation of the reports presented to Dr. Page and to our entity leaders.”
The CAAC works closely with Weathersby, assisted by Paul Kim, Asian American relations consultant to the EC, and Bobby Sena, Hispanic relations consultant to the EC.
At its first meeting August 12–13 in Atlanta, fourteen of the eighteen members of the CAAC and thirteen of eighteen other invited ethnic leaders had a chance to hear reports from the CAAC’s work so far and offer updates and suggestions related to their own ministry areas for the work of the CAAC moving forward. Fourteen leaders gave updates about their respective ministries, including representatives of Chinese, Laotian, Korean, Hmong, Vietnamese, Japanese, Filipino, Ukrainian, Haitian, African American, Messianic, bivocational/smaller church, and several Hispanic networks and fellowships.
The first year of the council will focus heavily on strengthening relationships, Weathersby said. Members will divide into smaller groups and meet with representatives from each of the SBC ministry entities to discuss how the findings of the councils’ reports relate to the ministry assignments of each entity. Three teams met with IMB, NAMB, and ERLC in the spring of 2016, and reported on the meetings to the CAAC and guests at their August meeting. The teams reported being encouraged by the entities’ willingness to meet and dialogue. More teams will meet with LifeWay and three of the SBC seminaries this fall, and with GuideStone and the other three seminaries next spring.
Weathersby challenged all the council members and ethnic fellowship representatives to have a presence at the Many Faces booth in the exhibit hall of the 2017 SBC annual meeting in Phoenix. The Many Faces booth allows fellowships to meet and connect with Southern Baptist pastors and leaders, Weathersby told the group, and provides an opportunity for ethnic fellowships and Anglo churches to form partnerships for church planting.
Council members and guests discussed ways to build an enhanced infrastructure of database-driven information to assist in telling the broader story of ethnic church participation and involvement in Southern Baptist life, as well as ways in which to measure progress in participation.
Also at the meeting, the CAAC recognized Roger S. (Sing) Oldham, vice president for Convention communications and relations for the EC, expressing appreciation that Baptist Press and SBC LIFE help tell the stories of all Southern Baptists, including ethnic churches, leaders, and fellowships across the Convention. They also made presentations to Weathersby and Page.
Emphasizing that cooperation for the spread of the Gospel is at the center of the work of the CAAC, Weathersby said, “I’m optimistic that we have a large and diverse group of pastors and church leaders who want to be a resource for our churches, fellowships, associations, state conventions, and SBC entities in fulfilling the Great Commission.”
Members of the Convention Advancement Advisory Council Include:
African American Advisory Council: Mark Croston, James Dixon, Leroy Fountain, Dennis Mitchell, A. B. Vines, and K. Marshall Williams
Asian American Advisory Council: Alan Chan, Paul Kim, Minh Ha Nguyen, and Peter Yanes Jr
Bivocational and Smaller Church Advisory Council: Ray Gilder and Mark Tolbert
Hispanic Advisory Council: Elias Bracamonte, Luís Lopez, Daniel Sanchez, and Bobby Sena
Multi-Ethnic Advisory Council: Tim Chavis and Ric Worshill
Other invited leaders of ethnic fellowships and networks who were present were:
James Bahn, president, Korean Baptist Council
Felix Cabrera, president, Hispanic Baptist Pastors’ Alliance
Byron Day, president, African American Fellowship, SBC
Joseph Gaston, president, Haitian Baptist Fellowship, SBC
Walter Montalvo, president, National Hispanic Baptist Fellowship, SBC
Anatoly Moshkovsky, president, Ukrainian Baptist Fellowship
Jimmy Sasaki, pastor, Japanese International Baptist Church, Tempe, Arizona
Guillermo Soriano, president, SBC Hispanic Pastors and Leaders Network
Bruce Stokes, vice president, Southern Baptist Messianic Fellowship
Oudone Thirakoune, president, Lao Fellowship
Benny Wong, pastor, LA Chinese Baptist Church, Los Angeles, California
W Tra Xiong, director, Hmong Baptist Fellowship
Seang Yiv, president, Cambodian Fellowship
Rebecca Wolford is communications specialist for the SBC Executive Committee and is a member of Brentwood Baptist Church in Brentwood, Tennessee.