ERLC unveils leadership council for 2015

NASHVILLE (BP) -- The Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission has introduced its new Leadership Network Council.

The 40 Southern Baptist pastors and leaders announced Thursday (Jan. 15) will serve as the advisory council for the entity's Leadership Network in 2015. The ERLC unveiled the network and its first advisory council last January. Most members of the council serve for one year.

The Leadership Network is open to men and women who seek to identify with the ERLC's Gospel-focused approach to cultural issues in their roles as pastors, leaders or lay people.

Council members -- all of whom are serving or have served in pastoral ministry -- will receive equipping from the ERLC staff and give guidance to the network. They also may provide content for the entity's website.

ERLC President Russell Moore described the council as "one of the most beneficial initiatives of 2014."

"It provided us a chance to invest in a strategic group of key leaders," he said in a written release. "But it also allowed us to get reporting from the front lines of ministry about ethical issues cropping up in communities around the country."

He is elated to welcome the new council members, Moore said, "in order to equip them to apply the Gospel to the cultural and ethical issues they face in ministry every day."

Fred Luter, the SBC's first African-American president and pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, La., is one of the new council members.

In addition to Luter, other new members of the council are:

-- Mike Cosper, pastor of worship and arts at Sojourn Community Church in Louisville.

-- D.A. Horton, executive director of ReachLife Ministries in Atlanta and the North American Mission Board's national coordinator for urban student missions;

-- Kevin Peck, lead pastor of The Austin Stone Community Church in Austin, Texas.

-- Vance Pitman, senior pastor of Hope Church in Las Vegas.

-- Juan Sanchez, preaching pastor of High Pointe Baptist Church in Austin.

-- Robbie Seay, worship pastor of Bayou City Fellowship-Cypress, Texas, and leader of the Robbie Seay Band.

-- Hershael York, preaching professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville.

In the ERLC release announcing the new council, Matt Chandler said it was a blessing to be a member last year. "When I need help navigating the challenging ethical issues that exist in today's culture, the ERLC is a great resource for me," said Chandler, lead pastor of The Village Church in Flower Mound, Texas.

The benefits of belonging to the ERLC's Leadership Network include receiving unique content, gaining preferred access to commission events and securing discounts for events and materials. There is no charge to register for the network. Members of the network receive regular messages from the ERLC regarding materials and other benefits.

While the network is open to all, the ERLC fills the network council annually on an invitation only basis.

Registration for the network, the entire list of council members and other information are available online at

Tom Strode is the Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention's news service.
Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook ( and in your email (
Download Story