Dr. Barber got a head start over most pastors his age. He found Christ when he was five, felt called to preach at 11, preached his first sermon at 15, and pastored a church as a senior in high school. He has served as senior pastor at First Baptist Church of Farmersville, Texas, for 23 years.
Barber has also served in several SBC capacities. He recently held a position in the Committee on Resolutions, and he was also the vice president for one year (2013-2014) alongside his position on the Texas Executive Committee from 2008-2014.
Should he be elected as SBC president, he will face a denomination working through how to deal with sexual abuse and trying to recover from what many see as a misstep: the endorsement of critical race theory (CRT) as an aid when dealing with race relations.
Barber shares that in his opinion, "ours is a denomination where we just don't have many people who would embrace critical race theory. I don't know anybody who does in the Southern Baptist Convention."
He continues: "I think that the biblical idea, the Judeo-Christian idea of justice that's found in the text of Scripture informs our ideas about the law and about what's right and wrong."
Disagreements over CRT are part of a larger discussion about what some perceive as a leftward drift of the denomination. Fellow SBC presidential candidate Tom Ascol has warned about that.
"I think our Convention has been too influenced by worldly ideologies and secularism that will be profoundly destructive if they are not stopped," Ascol argued.
But Barber has a more optimistic view of things.
"I think Tom and I do see the Convention differently," he admits, referring to Ascol. "If I thought we were like what he thinks we're like, I'd probably be doing the same things that he is. But I think that's not the Southern Baptist Convention that I know."
In addition to Bart Barber and Tom Ascol, former missionary Robin Hardaway is also running for SBC president. Southern Baptist "messengers" will meet in Anaheim, California on June 12-15 to determine who takes that leadership position.