The last few years have been rough for the Southern Baptist Convention: sex-abuse investigations, critical race theory, women in the pulpit – a lot of attention has been paid to reforming or retrenching, depending on the issue. Clint Pressley, senior pastor (since 2011) of Hickory Grove Baptist Church in Charlotte, NC, tells AFN he's willing to take on the challenge of leading the denomination for the next year or two.
"I felt like our Convention, right now, could use just some steady leadership" he shares.
The Charlotte native wants to put the focus back on the inerrancy of scripture and growing and supporting local churches.
"I want to elevate missions. I think that in all that's going on, some of what we actually do well is put on the back burner," says Pressley. "So, I'd like to strengthen churches and really call out the next generation. We've got a pastoral crisis, I think, coming."
While Pressley says he's not unaware of the issues the denomination is going through, he admits being a little surprised by some of the battles. "It's odd to me to have the conversation about women pastors," he shares. "I just felt like that had been settled; so, to have this conversation, I just didn't see it coming, honestly."
And about the broader issue of "theological drift," as is the contention of some Southern Baptist leaders who formed the Conservative Baptist Network in response? "I think Al Mohler probably said it best: 'I have a conservative Baptist network called the SBC,'" Pressley offers.