Ever wonder what made Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church, with campuses in Jacksonville and Orange Park, decide to align with the Southern Baptist Convention about five years ago?
It’s as simple as the arrival of H.B. Charles Jr., who became senior pastor of the historically black church in 2008.
“The church I served in Los Angeles was a part of the SBC toward the end of my work, and the priority shifted here when I moved to Jacksonville,” said Pastor Charles, during a wide-ranging interview with me only days before he was voted to become president of the 2018 SBC Pastors’ Conference. (Here’s a link to that story: http://gofbw.com/blog?id=1726) The motivations were the same, he said: “to have a strategic partner in relation to Christian education, world missions and church planting.”
But it took a few years to, as Pastor Charles puts it, “get the reins of leadership.”
“But it was already a priority when I came here that we would have that strategic partnership,” Charles said. “Before [that happened], as we updated some of the constitutional stuff in our church, we made Baptist Faith & Message our official statement of faith.
“So we were really Southern Baptists before we were Southern Baptists,” he said, and we both paused to laugh before he quickly got serious again.
“I had always been attracted to the Southern Baptist [Convention]—and especially their courage and conviction to stand for truth on the authority of the Word of God while so many are compromising on that matter.”
This is the second blog post from my conversation with Pastor Charles. Here’s the link to the first one, where I asked Pastor Charles why more historically black churches were yet to align with the SBC: http://gofbw.com/blog?id=1732
Our website will feature additional breakouts from my conversation with Pastor Charles during the next several days. This digital content will not be repeated in our July print edition, but that issue will include an edited version of Pastor Charles’ thoughts on a range of other topics as part of our regular “Behind the Pulpit” feature.
A video of our conversation also will appear on goFBW.com later this month. You can go now to the Witness’ YouTube channel at http://bit.ly/2pnmUFX to see videos of Stephen Rummage, pastor of Bell Shoals Baptist Church in the Tampa area; Sam Rainer, pastor of West Bradenton Baptist Church; Ted Traylor, pastor of Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola; Willy Rice, pastor of Calvary Church in Clearwater; Ken Whitten, pastor of Idlewild Baptist Church outside of Tampa; and, Mac Brunson, pastor of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville.
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