H.B. Charles Jr., the lead pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church with campuses in Jacksonville and Orange Park, is going to be nominated to be president of the 2018 Southern Baptist Convention Pastors’ Conference.
“I have been incredibly impressed with his skill for the Word of God and love of the church,” said Ken Whitten, pastor of Idlewild Baptist Church in the Tampa area, who will make the nomination at this year’s SBC Pastors’ Conference in Phoenix.
If elected, Charles would lead the Pastors’ Conference in Dallas. These meetings are, among other things, designed to set the tone for the annual convention that follows.
“He’s a man who’s an incredible preacher and prolific author,” Whitten said of Charles. “He preaches all over the country and represents the church well. He’s also a family man. He just represents everything well that I value.”
Charles would be the first African-American pastor to lead the SBC Pastors’ Conference.
Whitten said that several past presidents of the SBC Pastors’ Conference met recently, and they felt the need to give more leadership opportunities to help better represent an increasingly diverse denomination.
“One of the things we felt God impressing on us was the need in our Convention to stop talking about racial unity and start demonstrating it to the world,” Whitten said, adding: “We have incredible African-American, Hispanic and Asian pastors, and they deserve the opportunity to lead.”
When asked what specifically led him and the other pastors present to want to nominate Charles, Whitten said: “Because he exemplifies every Sunday what a great expository preacher looks like.”
For the past three years, Charles’ church has hosted an expository preaching conference called “Cutting It Straight.” This year’s event is planned for Sept. 19-21.
Charles has authored four books: “On Pastoring,” “The Difference Jesus Makes,” “On Preaching” and “It Happens After Prayer.”
He also has an extensive travel schedule; he spends about half his time during the week speaking at schools, conferences and churches. He has pastored Shiloh since the fall of 2008, and was lead pastor of Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles for almost 18 years prior to his calling to Shiloh.
Charles said he already is praying that, if elected to serve as president of the SBC Pastors’ Conference next year, the event will feature expository preaching that would encourage pastors and exalt the Lord Jesus Christ.
He said he is aware of his potential role as the first African-American in this position.
“It is a humbling privilege to be considered in light of that factor,” Charles said. “It is my prayer that this conference will bring great spiritual unity. I believe that there are African-American, Hispanic and other leaders that God is doing a great work through, and they need to be spotlighted.”
Kevin Bumgarner is executive editor of the Florida Baptist Witness. He can be reached via email at kbumgarner@goFBW.com, and followed on Twitter @FBW_editor