The aftermath of the #SBC2023 is why Harrisburg added an appendix to the BF&M before the June meeting.

In the days after the SBC there are many speculating about what happens next and how far some of these decisions will reach. Some are saying it means that women can’t be ministers, others are wondering if they can be missionaries, and even others are worried they can’t serve as chaplains. It’s my experience that Southern Baptist handle their business at the convention with maturity and self-control, but it also my experience that many SBC’ers seem to lose the ability to exercise wisdom or think rationally on social media. So, what that means is most of what you see on SBC social media isn’t indicative of who we truly are… but the keyboard crew can really stir things up when they want.

The aftermath and speculation on social media is exactly why we addressed this issue as a church before the convention. 

Harrisburg voted before the SBC annual meeting to add an appendix to the BF&M that clarifies the role of pastor and the value of women to the life, mission, and ministry of the church. 

My hope in this process was that each member of our church would know what the Word says, but also what it doesn’t say. And, it was my desire to make sure that all of our members understood the necessity of each person using their gifts in the church for the sake of our mission and ministry. (See 1 Corinthians 12.) 

The pastors are not the most important, or the only important, members of the church. The most important person in the church has always been and will always be Jesus! 

You can watch the sermon on the role of pastor here:

The following appendix to our statement of faith was presented on May 21, 2023, and overwhelmingly affirmed by our members on the morning of June 4, 2023. 

Appendix I

Article VI of the Baptist Faith and Message states, “While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.”

The office and title of all positions on staff using the title of pastor are reserved for qualified men as outlined in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. We believe and affirm that the pastor’s function as overseer and shepherd of the flock is connected to the role and includes preaching.

Because preaching is associated with the pastor’s office, preaching to the gathered congregation is reserved for men currently on staff as a pastor at HBC and those who meet the qualifications of a pastor (elder) as outlined in 1 Timothy 1:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9.

The reservation of the role and title of pastor for qualified men is not a denigration or devaluing of women. Instead, it’s a matter of faithfulness to Scripture and for the good of the whole body. Harrisburg is in full support of women’s roles in our church’s life, and we are thankful for the many ways our sisters lead and serve the body of Christ.

According to Scripture, men and women serve alongside one another in the church (1 Corinthians 12). Harrisburg strives to empower and equip men and women to use their gifts for God’s glory and one another’s good. We believe the church thrives when we exercise our gifts in a complementarian partnership for the praise of His name and the joy of our members.

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