Pastor Charles: Great Commission is not an either/or proposition

Many pastors are narrowly focused on their role as a church planter or their role as the leader of an established congregation, and that impedes the progress of the Great Commission.

So says H.B. Charles Jr., senior pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church with campuses in Jacksonville and Orange Park, when I asked him why more Florida Baptist churches were not yet involved in church planting.

“I catch it on both sides, that we are burdened about the thing we are burdened about,” Pastor Charles said. “We just know what we know, and see what we see. We just need to broaden our perspective, I believe, so that it is a both/and.”

When it comes to historically black churches, the either/or mentality is just as entrenched, Pastor Charles said.

“And this is one of the reasons why I commend African-Americans to consider the Southern Baptist Convention in that regard to expand your thinking about church planting and the raising up of new congregations,” he said, “and what that means in our Christ-given task to fulfill the Great Commission. I think that’s one of the reasons—along with world missions and Christian education—I would give for a brother to take a look at the SBC.”

Charles shared these thoughts with me during a wide-ranging conversation as we sat together on the platform of his downtown Jacksonville worship center just days before he would be named president of the 2018 SBC Pastors’ Conference. Go here for details:

This is the fourth 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: In the second blog post, Pastor Charles told the story of Shiloh’s decision to align with the SBC: Here’s the link to the third blog post, where Pastor Charles urged other pastors not to feel the pressure to duplicate the ministry efforts of other churches:

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 later this month. You can go now to the Witness’ YouTube channel at 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, and followed on Twitter @FBW_editor

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