clear
Saturday May 30th, 2015 6:44PM

Baptist leader wants more diversity in convention

By The Associated Press
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) -- Southern Baptist Convention President Fred Luter said Wednesday that he wants more diversity in the 16-million-member organization.

Luter, the first black president of the convention, was in Jackson for the 177th gathering of the Mississippi Baptist Convention. After delivering a sermon at First Baptist Church of Jackson, Luter told reporters his selection as president shows a commitment to increasing diversity, but he said there's more to be done.

"For years this convention has been talking about how they want other ethnic groups in the convention. This year, June 19 in New Orleans, La., we stopped talking about it and we put our money where our mouth's at and they voted me as president, the first African-American president of the Southern Baptist Convention," Luter said. "However, it cannot stop with me. We've got to recruit other African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, we've got to have more diversity in the convention."

The message of Luter's sermon during the last day of the gathering on Wednesday was that only God can solve the problems facing the United States. He received standing ovations when he was introduced and at the closing of the sermon.

Luter preached that God can change anyone's life for the better, "no matter their race, no matter their culture, no matter their heritage, the gospel is personal and practical for everyone."

"The only color God is concerned about is red, because that's the color of the blood of Jesus of Christ," he said, drawing applause from the mostly-white audience.

Scott Thomas, 26, and his 22-year-old wife, Carley, drove to the gathering from their house in Henleyfield in south Mississippi. They were pleased with Luter's sermon.

"He's a strong man of the church, committed to the gospel and that's reflected in his testimony from the pulpit," Scott Thomas said. "If you've got a heart for the lost, your preaching will reflect that."

Luter is the senior pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans.
© Copyright 2015 AccessNorthGa.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Couch names administrative team
Ahead of his scheduled swearing in Friday, Hall County Sheriff-elect Gerald Couch named his top administrative team Monday.
6:28PM ( 2 years ago )
Tech beats Southern California in Sun Bowl
Tevin Washington threw a touchdown pass and ran for another score to help Georgia Tech beat Southern California 21-7 on Monday in the Sun Bowl.
5:54PM ( 2 years ago )
Hall Co. officials launch health-based initiative for employees
Hall County officials believe healthy county employees will be of greater service to the county. With that in mind, they have created a health-based fitness initiative to provide free fitness training for county workers.
5:46PM ( 2 years ago )
Local/State News
Officer in fatal Smyrna shooting returns to work
Police in suburban Atlanta say an officer who fatally shot a man while serving a warrant has returned to work.
By The Associated Press
4:00PM ( 2 hours ago )
Forsyth Co. deputies ID two separate fatal crash victims
Forsyth County authorities have released the identities in two fatal crashes that happened on Friday.
1:20PM ( 5 hours ago )
Suwanee looking for new Planning Division Director
The city of Suwanee is looking for a new Planning Division Director after the departure of Matt Dickison.
By Brian Stewart
12:30PM ( 6 hours ago )
Gainesville first-time UI claims down 45+ pct; state numbers at lowest level since 2000
The number of initial claims for unemployment insurance in April in Georgia hit the lowest level since June 2000, with Gainesville among the places leading the way.
By AccessWDUN Staff
11:30AM ( 7 hours ago )
Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley enters Democratic race for president
BALTIMORE (AP) — Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley enters Democratic race for president.
10:58AM ( 7 hours ago )