Two candidates have announced plans to be nominated for president of the 2023 Southern Baptist Convention Pastors Conference.
Voddie Baucham, dean of theology at African Christian University in Lusaka, Zambia, and Daniel Dickard, pastor of Friendly Avenue Baptist Church in Greensboro, North Carolina, have announced they will be nominated for the leadership role during the 2022 SBC Pastors Conference in Anaheim, California, June 12–13.
In addition to his role with African Christian University, Baucham is described on his ministry website as a former pastor, author, professor, conference speaker and church planter.
He is the former pastor of Grace Family Baptist Church, a Southern Baptist church he planted in Spring, Texas, where he served until 2015. Though Baucham is no longer a member of the church, he was sent out by Grace Family Baptist to serve as a missionary in Zambia, where he is the member of a church, Religion News Service reported.
In an interview with The Baptist Paper, Matt Henslee, president of the 2022 SBC Pastors Conference, explained that even though Baucham is not a member of a Southern Baptist church, this does not disqualify him from serving as president of the conference. He noted the conference currently does not have a constitution, bylaws or official qualifications regarding the person elected to serve as president.
Typically, through the years, Henslee noted, the “gentleman’s agreement” has been that the pastors conference president is a Southern Baptist pastor, historically one who is serving a church near the SBC annual meeting site.
“Voddie’s area of emphasis is cultural apologetics,” his website noted.
Baucham is married to Bridget and they have nine children.
Jordan Easley, pastor of First Baptist Church Cleveland, Tennessee, announced he planned to nominate Dickard in a video released online March 16.
Easley noted that Dickard has a passion for the gospel, a desire to make disciples and a calling to encourage and equip pastors. Dickard leads a church that “emphasizes the Great Commission, cross-cultural ministry, church planting, theological training and refugee ministry,” said Easley, who pointed out his main reason for nominating Dickard is his love for the SBC.
“He was born in an SBC church. He was raised and discipled by faithful men and women in SBC churches,” Easley said. “His father is an SBC pastor. He was called to ministry in an SBC church.”
Easley later added, “He believes like so many of us believe that the SBC Pastors Conference should highlight the best of what it means to be a Southern Baptist. … But it should also be centered on our common mission and our shared cooperative effort.”
Dickard said in written comments to Baptist Press, “There is no greater calling, in my opinion, than pastoring God’s people, and there is no weightier duty within that great calling than stewarding God’s word faithfully.
“It is not the size of a church that matters; it is the health and faithfulness of a church that matters,” he said. “The SBC Pastors Conference is one venue where pastors are edified, equipped and encouraged to be faithful to the Word and challenged in our mission to the world.
“My vision for the Southern Baptist Convention Pastors Conference would be to highlight a wide swath of faithful SBC pastors, regardless of church size, age, shape and geographical scope, as we focus on the idea that character matters in ministry.”
Among his Southern Baptist ties, Dickard graduated from a Southern Baptist affiliated college, North Greenville University, and he received his master of divinity and doctorate from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Dickard is married to Cassie and they have three children.
The 2023 Pastors Conference will be held in conjunction with the SBC Annual Meeting in New Orleans, June 11–12, 2023.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Read more about the SBC Annual Meeting, including a Q&A with the three announced candidates for SBC president, in the May 26 issue of The Alabama Baptist.