Ten Leaders Who Will Shape the Future of the SBC in 2010
As the President of the Southern Baptist Convention, Hunt has given birth to an expansive vision of renewal for the SBC in that he has been a vocal proponent of a Great Commission Resurgence. He appointed a task force to study the Convention’s structure. Occasionally criticized for his lack of support of the Cooperative Program as a mega-church pastor, he has consistently challenged state conventions regarding the amount of money retained in their states, rather than directing greater percentages to the SBC’s mission boards and other entities.
Akin has been one of the driving forces behind the Great Commission Resurgence. A lightening rod for many, Akin has maintained that unless the SBC changes, there will be no future as young leaders will no longer desire to continue to support the Convention’s agencies, mission boards and institutions. He has been criticized for hosting a collegiate conference with Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Wash. Akin and SEBTS continue to affirm the inerrancy of Holy Scripture, expositional preaching, and evangelism.
One of the few writing theologians of the Southern Baptist Convention, Dockery has often played the role of diplomat and peacemaker within the Convention. Widely known as a leading authority on Southern Baptist history and polity, he maintains wide associations both in and out of SBC life. Under his leadership, Union University has grown to be recognized as a leading international university, where the integration of Christian faith and learning is a reality. He has recruited top faculty to the campus and has maintained that while the church should remain primary as the agent of the Great Commission, key partnerships at every level of SBC life should remain vital to advance domestic and international mission efforts.
4. Tim Keller – Senior Minister, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York City
Though a Presbyterian minister, Keller’s books and sermons are widely quoted by leading SBC pastors and theologians. Soon after planting Redeemer, Keller intentionally sought to establish key outreach efforts to the city of New York as well as equip the church to minister to New Yorkers. His model has become the focus of many church planting efforts within the Southern Baptist Convention. His book, The Prodigal God, remains recommended reading by many SBC pastors.
Hankins is recognized as one of the most academically inclined and widely read leaders of state convention Executive Director-Treasurers. Co-author of One Sacred Effort, a book about the history and organization of the Cooperative Program, he remains a vocal supporter of the Southern Baptist Convention as it stands today. In his presentation before the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force, he stated that the future of the SBC rested on the support of the Cooperative Program as defined by the current convention structure.
Since his father’s death, Falwell has led the church toward a renewed focus on the Gospel, resulting in the baptism of hundreds of young people and the dynamic growth of Liberty University. Falwell often serves as a model for young pastors who see him as an example of the way churches can mobilize its ministry for evangelism—particularly among college students.
When the Together for the Gospel conference attracted more than 5,000 participants in 2008 (many of whom were young Southern Baptists), Dever gained national attention for his vision of pastoral training and ministry. Nine Marks Ministries, which he launched out of his church, identifies key indicators of health for local congregations. He is widely seen as an example for young pastors. Large numbers attended his Nine Marks at Nine events at the recent Southern Baptist Convention in Louisville, where he dialogued with pastors and theologians about the biblical manner to discharge local church ministry.
Stetzer is a ubiquitous presence in the Southern Baptist Convention. Seen by many as a prophetic voice for the SBC, he has drawn criticism from some who see him as out to re-shape the Convention in ways which could dismantle existing structures. A prolific author, he has been the voice of young pastors who were dissatisfied with the way Southern Baptist life was drifting. Notable for his famous one-line quotes such as “When I attend the Southern Baptist Convention, I feel young and thin.”
Recognized by many as one of the leading theologians in the SBC, Mohler’s media outreach is expansive. He writes a daily blog, hosts a daily radio show, and has authored numerous books which serve as a cultural critique from a Christian worldview. His recent Presidential Forum compared the Southern Baptist Convention to the General Motors Corporation.
Though Driscoll did not attend the recent meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in Louisville, he was mentioned more times from the floor of the Convention than perhaps some who were there. While he has been criticized for his public view on the use of alcohol and his former use of profanity in the pulpit, he remains a strong influence on hundreds of pastors through his vast media outlets. The Acts 29 Church Planting Network also operates under his leadership. Many Southern Baptist church planters are now affiliated with the Acts 29 Network.