Posted on : Thursday January 19, 2017

NASHVILLE, Tenn., Jan. 19, 2017—The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention announced members of its 2017 Leadership Council today.

This year’s Leadership Council, comprised of 73 Southern Baptist pastors, ministry leaders and church members across the U.S. This annual group of leaders receives targeted investment from the ERLC to equip them to help their churches apply the gospel to everyday life.

The ERLC Leadership Council launched in 2014 and has included a wide-ranging group of SBC leaders from diverse backgrounds and ministry settings.

ERLC President Russell Moore, commented on the announcement of the 2017 Leadership Council.

“Churches around the country are on the front lines of engaging some of the most difficult cultural and societal questions imaginable, ones that our parents and grandparents often never had to consider,” Moore said. “With our Leadership Council, I’m thrilled to be able to partner with a new group of leaders from around the country who are eager to address these issues with a gospel focus both in the life of their churches and in the public square.”

Members of the 2017 Leadership Council include: Bart Barber, pastor of First Baptist Church of Farmersville, Texas; Matt Chandler, lead pastor of The Village Church in Flower Mound, Texas; H.B. Charles, pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church of Jacksonville and Orange Park, Fla.; Byron Day, senior pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Laurel, Md.; James Merritt, pastor of Cross Pointe Church in Duluth, Ga.; Clint Pressley, pastor of Hickory Grove Baptist Church in Charlotte, N.C..; Willy Rice, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Clearwater, Fla.; Jimmy Scroggins, pastor of Family Church in West Palm Beach, Fla.; Kevin Smith, executive director of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware; and Jen Wilkin, author and Bible teacher from Dallas, Texas.

Merritt said he is a part of the ERLC Leadership Council because he’s “deeply interested in the political and social issues which have spiritual ramifications for the church and culture today.”

Wilkin, one of the first female Council members said, “I’m looking forward to learning from the other members and gaining exposure to new ideas.”

“There is not another organization, like the ERLC, that helps evangelical Christians think through the pressing issues with a genuinely Christian framework,” said Pressley. “To be a small part of such a great organization is a rare privilege.”

Members of the Council will serve an annual term and will be equipped by the ERLC throughout the year through conference calls and events, while providing input to the ERLC and occasional content for

To learn more about the ERLC Leadership Council visit

The Southern Baptist Convention is America’s largest Protestant denomination with more than 15.2 million members in over 46,000 churches nationwide. The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission is the SBC’s ethics, religious liberty and public policy agency with offices in Nashville, Tenn., and Washington, D.C.