Published Sep 19, 2023
CLOVIS, California – El Cajon pastor Rolland Slade will be nominated for President of the California Southern Baptist Convention at the 2023 annual meeting in Clovis.
Slade, who is a native of San Diego and pastor of Meridian Southern Baptist Church in El Cajon, will be nominated by Rob Zinn, former pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Highland and current Ambassador of North American Missions Ministries.
“I feel confident bringing this nomination to the messengers,” Zinn shared in a conversation with CSBC. “Rolland is conservative, he loves the Lord, and has served at his church his whole life. Our convention needs someone right now who is forward-thinking but still on the right page with their theology.”
Rolland recently rotated off the SBC’s Executive Committee, where he served as chairman. “Now that I’ve been away from [the EC] for a year, I can say it was my 2nd-most-lifetime opportunity; 1st being called to pastor. It was a growing experience for me both personally and spiritually,” said Slade.
According to the CSBC’s recent report on church giving, Meridian Southern Baptist Church ranks in the top 100 of giving churches through the Cooperative Program, with $5,953.00 given through CP as of June 31st and $4,596.34 given to “other designated.”
When asked about his nomination coming from Rob Zinn, Slade responded, “I’m really honored. Rob has been a hero of mine for years. He gave his life to the ministry at Immanuel, to the state convention, and even nationally. Rob was my trainer through Faith Evangelism, but even as pastors, we have a lot of parallels.” Slade continued, “Rob grew up in his community; I grew up in San Diego. He was involved in little league baseball; I am involved in little league baseball. I appreciate the way Rob has been the example of being sold out for the Lord in his community; to love people and reach people. His enthusiasm for Faith Evangelism helped me to bring that enthusiasm back to my church which helped to reestablish the church in our community.”
Slade believes California is in a strong position to spread the gospel through the diversity of the local church. “One of the reasons our convention is so beautiful is because of the languages we have spoken on any given Sunday morning. We ought to be cheering each other on. We aren’t fighting battles with one another to be the end-all-be-all of the California Southern Baptist Convention. God and Jesus are The-End-All-and-Be-All of the convention. That is really important, and I think it speaks both locally and regionally; also, to the nation, and I pray to the world.”
This kingdom-minded conviction is personal for Slade, who said, “For me personally, the value of stepping up helps me have a kingdom focus and not just be pigeonholed within my area. It comes from my personal mission statement: To find Imago Dei in every person I encounter, every day of my life, to the glory of God.” He continued, “I’d love to see that throughout our convention. No one would have picked me to be on the EC, let alone be the chair because I pastor a normal-sized Baptist Church in El Cajon. I know people were wondering, ‘How did this guy get there?’ But by being there, I was, and still am, really able to listen to people.”
Slade expressed another specific concern that he would like to bring to the forefront should he be elected. “I think the CSBC is in a refreshing period. We are going to come together and work together and I’d like to see us be mindful of the bi-vocational leaders and the small church because we probably have several hundred who are not able to fully participate for one reason or another. It’s not easy for the bi-vocational leader. How can we as a convention, or network of churches, come together to support them as they work to get the gospel out in their community; so that they can be salt and light?”
Zinn is in hearty agreement with Slade’s sentiment and also desires to see more churches engaging with the convention in California. In a statement encouraging churches to participate fully, Zinn shared, “Only 1200 churches are giving. If you’re going to be on the team, why would you sit on the bench when you can get in the game?”
To date, Slade is the only known nominee for President.