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‘I Have Lots of Confidence’—New SBC President Clint Pressley Offers Perspective on Abuse Reform, Women’s Ordination

Clint Pressley
Photo Credit: ChurchLeaders

Newly elected Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) President Clint Pressley offered his first public remarks as president during a press conference on Wednesday (June 12), expressing confidence that the denomination is united by its “love for the Bible,” “love for the gospel,” and “love for the mission.”

Pressley, who pastors Hickory Grove Baptist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, was elected by SBC delegates, called messengers, at the SBC’s annual meeting on Wednesday. 

“It is an honor—and a strange honor—but an honor to be the president of the Southern Baptist Convention,” Pressley said. “I didn’t plan ever to be the president, [but] thought about it several times in the last few years and now seemed like a really good time to do it with all that’s going on in our convention.”

“I love the Southern Baptist Convention,” he added. 

Pressley went on to say that he has been a Southern Baptist since he was a teenager and that he now serves as pastor of the same church he first began attending in 1985. After attending New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and filling several pastoral roles in Mississippi and Alabama, he returned to Charlotte and became pastor of Hickory Grove Baptist Church in 2010. 

As Pressley steps into his role as the SBC’s president, he indicated that he has no visions of grandeur.

“As the Southern Baptist Convention president, it sounds like you have a lot of power. But you don’t,” he said. “You basically preside over the meeting in the summertime. And then you appoint committees, and then you will provide maybe influence to the bully pulpit.”

As to the key issues raised at the convention, namely the long deferred creation of the “Ministry Check” website to track abusive pastors, church employees, and volunteers and clarity regarding the SBC’s stance on women’s ordination, Pressley said that he trusts the denomination’s existing processes. 

“I think our mechanisms are strong,” he said. “They have worked well for quite some time and continue to work well and will do so in the future.”

“There’s a lot to celebrate within the Southern Baptist Convention, especially as it points to biblical fidelity and real clear mission focus,” Pressley went on to say. “I think part of what the president’s job is to do all you can by way of influence and make sure, as a convention of churches, we are focused on what our mission is. So I look forward to next year. It’s a great time to celebrate.”

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“We’re joyful people—joyful in what the Lord has given us, joyful over his word, joyful over the gospel,” Pressley said. “And I think it’s incumbent on us to make sure we project what we have to be joyful about.”