Your Congregation Needs to See Fred Luter

Amen to Bart Barber! Barber argues that Southern Baptists should not hold their breaths waiting for the cultural elites to congratulate us about the election of Fred Luter. He says that CNN is not the most important audience for this week’s historic election. He writes:

If the folks at CNN aren’t the most important audience, then who needs to know that Southern Baptists have elected Fred Luter? The kids in your youth group, pastor—they need to know… You need to report back to your congregation with a Powerpoint slideshow and you need to make certain that the people in your congregation see a photograph of the new SBC President. The black children and children of other ethnicities in my congregation need to see that they’re not attending somebody else’s church but are instead a part of a family that includes them.

Along those lines, I want to encourage Fred Luter to continue Bryant Wright’s tradition of recording video messages addressed to Southern Baptists. In contrast to what happened with Wright’s messages, we SBC pastors need to look for opportunities to put Fred Luter’s videos in front of our church members with some regularity (email newsletters, show them on the big screen, perhaps?) Especially if we serve in churches where everyone on the platform is white, we need to seize this opportunity to put someone of another color “on the platform” where we can.

This is a great word. Perhaps some of you are from churches like mine that do not make use of videos in worship services. If that’s the case, then find another venue to put Fred Luter’s face before your people. Maybe an article and picture in your church’s newsletter or website would do the trick. How ever you decide to do it, do it. Our people need to see Fred Luter.


  • Adam Winters

    That’s a good word, indeed.

    Getting moderately good publicity in the news might make us feel all warm and fuzzy inside, but lasting change will happen in the Sunday Schools of our local churches.

  • Dwight McKissic


    When I read Bart’s words, they resonated with my heart as they did yours. Bart’s response to the Luter election in terms of showing Luter to your church–especially the youth–is an excellent idea; a brilliant suggestion, that I hope every SBC church will take advantage of.


  • Steve

    Denny, I wholeheartedly agree that Fred Luter’s election is to be celebrated. I also suggest that we be thoughtful in how we do it. What makes his video more worthy to be heard than the last or next President? Let’s show his video because he has something to say (which I believe he does. I have respected him for a long time – leading past Katrina, and remember when he came to preach a revival in DeRidder when we were in high school?). And if we want to put his picture in the newsletter because the SBC has an African American President, then let’s write in the article why it’s worth celebrating that fact as well.
    It was historic in many of the same ways when Obama was elected President, but race alone isn’t reason to celebrate. Please do not misunderstand- I believe there is much to celebrate with Fred Luter. Let’s celebrate all the reasons in the most appropriate and respectful ways we can. And let’s pray for the day when race is no longer news!

    • Denny Burk

      Hey, Steve. That’s a good word. I guess it’s easy to presume that most people already know about Fred Luter, his ministry, and why he’s particularly suited to assume this leadership role at this time.

      For those involved in Southern Baptist life, Luter is no stranger. He’s been serving not only his church but also the denomination for years. As far as the denomination is concerned, he was one of the guys on the committee with Mohler who revised the BF&M back in 2000. That was a signal event in SBC life, and Luter was among the key group of leaders in that critical time.

      Probably what most folks know him for is the work he’s done in his own church. A lot of pastors would have given up on New Orleans after the devastation of Katrina. But he didn’t. He hung in there and has kept the work going. He’s a hero to many people in New Orleans.

      Quite apart from any racial considerations, Luter would have compared really favorably to any other potential contender for SBC president. I don’t know anybody else who’s done what he’s done. He’s the right man at the right time, and he happens to be African American. I hope we don’t lose track of the former as we celebrate the latter.

      Thanks for the reminder! Blessings, brother!

  • Adam

    Does Dr. Luter have any sermons from SBTS chapel? I like hearing him preach and was looking for some different venues he may have preached at.

  • dr. james willingham

    Dr. Luter is one of the reasons, God willing, that I shall be preaching next Sunday (July 1) on the subject, The Ethiopian Proof (scripts. Ps.68:31b;Zeph.2:10-12; Acts 8:26-40, text: Zeph.2:12) from an ex post facto point of research which indicates that God offers evidence of His being and work in the conversions of African American Christians (the hypothesis) as well as through the null hypothesis (no converts, due to mistreatment in slavery and segregation).

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