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SBC 2024: What Happened at the Annual Meeting in Indianapolis

sbc 2024
Photo credit: ChurchLeaders

Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) messengers concluded their 2024 annual meeting in Indianapolis on Wednesday, June 12. Women’s ordination and addressing the sexual abuse crisis continued to loom large over messengers, who elected Clint Pressley as their new president.

Here are highlights from the annual meeting of the largest Protestant denomination in the U.S.

SBC 2024 Annual Meeting

‘Dread, No Hope’—Sexual Abuse Survivor Tiffany Thigpen Describes Heading Into SBC 2024 Annual Meeting

Sexual abuse survivor and advocate Tiffany Thigpen spoke to ChurchLeaders prior to the annual meeting and said that she no longer has faith in the leadership of the SBC. Thigpen was 1 of 10 survivors named in the SBC’s apology given in a resolution titled “On Lament and Repentance for Sexual Abuse” at the annual meeting in June 2022.

“I seriously walk into this convention feeling dread, no hope,” Thigpen said. “I have no expectation of anything good happening even IF the messengers vote yes for it.” Thigpen said she was optimistic in 2022 but that hope has since waned in the wake of “brutal, empty promises and excuses.” 

Church Led by SBC Candidate Clint Pressley Reports Volunteer to Police for Alleged Abuse

Before the start of the annual meeting, news broke that Hickory Grove Baptist Church, pastored by then-SBC presidential candidate Clint Pressley, had reported a volunteer to the police for sexual abuse. The report led to the arrest of Jeffrey Riesenberg, who had coached at the church’s Christian school and volunteered in Hickory Grove’s student ministry.

Riesenberg’s daughter is a student at the Christian school and said that Riesenberg had assaulted her.

“We do not tolerate abusive behavior of any kind,” Pressley said. “Sexual abuse is especially heinous. It is a despicable injustice that we condemn in the strongest terms. Any victim should feel they can talk about it, freely report, and be listened to and cared for.”

‘Southern Baptists Are a Force for Good’—Jeff Iorg Addresses SBC Executive Committee for First Time as New President

On Monday, June 10, the day before the meeting officially began, the SBC’s Executive Committee (EC) met, and newly appointed EC President Dr. Jeff Iorg addressed the committee for the first time. Iorg follows interim President Willie McLaurin, who resigned in 2023 after it came to light he had lied on his resume.

Prior to McLaurin, Dr. Ronnie Floyd had resigned in 2021 amid debate among EC members over waiving attorney-client privilege during Guidepost Solutions’ third-party investigation into whether the EC had mishandled sexual abuse allegations.