by Vika Mayatska, SCBI Communications Director

Clint Pressley stepped in the role of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) President on June 12, 2024. As guests listened intently during a press conference in the Indiana Convention Center, Pressley pulled back the curtain on the journey that led him to the SBC presidency – a role he admits he never planned on attaining. “I didn’t ever plan to be the president,” he shared candidly. However, Pressley noted that the idea crossed his mind “several times during the last few years.” Ultimately, he felt the current circumstances presented “a good time to do it” and pursued the convention’s top elected position.   

Clint Pressley is from Hickory Grove Baptist Church in Charlotte, NC, where he has served for 15 years as the Senior pastor. According to Pressley, his journey to the SBC presidency began at a young age. He became a Southern Baptist at 16, having grown up in a Presbyterian (PC USA) church where he admits he “never really understood the Gospel” he heard preached. It was at an 11-year-old church camp that Pressley says he was truly “led to Christ” and soon after felt a calling to ministry.  

Not long after that spiritual awakening, Pressley’s entire family joined the Baptist church he now pastors in Charlotte. In 11th grade, Pressley was discipled at the church before attending Wofford College.  

After studying at Southwestern and New Orleans seminaries, Pressley launched his preaching career, serving in “all kinds of churches” – rural, small, and old. His involvement in Southern Baptist work expanded when he began serving on boards, including a trustee role at Southern Seminary. Now, Pressley expresses gratitude at being elected the new SBC president.  

During the press conference, Pressley shared thoughts on several questions and left the audience satisfied with the descriptive answers he provided. Here are some of the direct quotes of questions and answers covered:   

 

BJ, Illinois Baptist:
One of the Cooperation groups presented reports this year – Great Commission Resurgence, as well as the Cooperation group. The Cooperation group was tasked with studying how we deem churches in friendly Cooperation, but with the goal of moving the convention forward with biblical fidelity, missional clarity, and cooperative unity. Next year, 2025, is the hundredth anniversary of both the Baptist Faith and Message and Cooperative Program. How do you see your term helping to accomplish that goal of moving the convention forward with biblical fidelity, missional clarity and cooperative unity?   

CP: Next year is a great time to celebrate all those things. There’s a lot to celebrate within the Southern Baptist Convention. The president’s job is to do all you can by way of influence to make sure, as a convention of churches, we are focused on our mission.  

 

AS, Chattanooga Times Free Press:
What are some misconceptions you feel like secular America has about the Southern Baptist Convention that bother you, and what do you intend to do to address those?  

CP: I’m not sure what they might be. We’re joyful people, joyful that the Lord has given us joy over His word, joy over the Gospel. We need to make sure we project what it is that we’re joyful about.  

 

JR, Tab Media Group:
Monday night when the question was asked about who you would call first once that difficult moment happens, you chose Al Mohler, the president of Southern Seminary. Why did you choose him? And what do you think he would tell you?  

CP: Not sure what he’d answer. But I chose him because of his encyclopedic mind. He knows so much of our history as a convention of churches and his grasp on theology, and so I would go to him.  

 

FL, Arkansas Democrat Gazette:
Last year we were shown a website, and we were told that there were going to be names of people credibly accused of abuse. And a year later we still have no names. Let me ask you, why do you think we don’t see the names, and how confident can people be that the Southern Baptist Convention is going to address this problem?  

CP: I think you can be confident, as you’ve seen in the last couple of years, that the SBC takes sexual abuse terribly seriously, and that people worked hard. We’ve had a whole lot of discussion about it, and there is an Abuse Task Force that has worked so long and hard, volunteer giving so many hours to bring it to our attention and providing the resources. Having a leader like Jeff Iorg at the Executive Committee, it’s great to have a leader who seems to be very sympathetic to the plight that we’ve seen in the last few years. So, I have lots of confidence.  

 

BP, editor of Baptist Press:
Most votes were cast for the Constitutional Amendment, but it didn’t pass. There were several people who probably left in the afternoon who felt this didn’t come out the way they wanted it to. What are some ways you want to move forward and unify Southern Baptists considering a vote like that?  

 

CP: I think you want to unify as a convention. We need to be unified around not only our understanding of the Bible and love for the Bible, love for the Gospel, love for the mission. We’re unified around the message that we affirm, and within the Baptist Faith and Message, it is undeniably complementarian. So, there’s a lot of that sort of thing we can really be glad of. You walk away with the amendment not passing. That is not saying we are now abandoning Biblical truth at all. You can be confident as a member of the SBC, as a member of a church within the convention that holds the BF&M, that we are doctrinally robust.  

As Indiana Baptists continue advancing the Great Commission in their communities, we can be thankful for leaders in the SBC who care about unity and truth. SCBI Executive Director, Ryan Strother, commented, “I’m looking forward to getting to know Clint and working with him in the capacity that state conventions do with an SBC president. He strikes me as a proven leader with a joyful spirit and a great wardrobe—let’s keep taking the gospel to a lost world!”