Amid crises, rural roots anchor Southern Baptists’ president


              A Santa Gertrudis heifer watches Bart Barber approach from across his field in Farmersville, Texas, on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Audrey Jackson)
            
              Pastor Bart Barber walks to his church office at the First Baptist Church of Farmersville, Texas, before worship on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022. Barber said he ran for Southern Baptist Convention president because he prayed and concluded God was calling him to do it, not because of the sex abuse crisis. (AP Photo/Audrey Jackson)
            
              A Bible rests open on a table in front of the pulpit as Bart Barber preaches to members of the First Baptist Church of Farmersville, Texas, on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022. After recently appointing an sexual abuse task force that will make recommendations at next year’s annual meeting in New Orleans, he said Southern Baptists are determined that there must be reforms and identifying solutions to the problem is his top priority. (AP Photo/Audrey Jackson)
            
              Pastor Bart Barber talks about the qualifications of church leadership at the First Baptist Church of Farmersville, Texas, on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022. Barber attended Baptist-affiliated Baylor University in Waco, Texas, where he met his future wife, Tracy, in a campus ministry. They have two children: Jim, 19, and Sarah, 16. (AP Photo/Audrey Jackson)
            
              Bart Barber, pastor for the First Baptist Church of Farmersville, Texas, and new president of the Southern Baptist Convention, prays over his congregation on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022. The SBC faces multiple challenges. Rank-and-file Baptists have demonstrated a strong commitment to implementing sex abuse reforms, but the final outcome remains unclear. The denomination also has a problem with falling membership (AP Photo/Audrey Jackson)
            
              Pastor Bart Barber prays before service at the First Baptist Church of Farmersville, Texas, on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022. In running for Southern Baptist Convention president, he expressed a desire to be a peacemaker and a unifier. (AP Photo/Audrey Jackson)
            
              Members of the First Baptist Church of Farmersville choir watch Pastor Bart Barber baptize Aubree Rodriguez in Farmersville, Texas, on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022. Delegates of the Southern Baptist Convention elected Barber as president on June 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Audrey Jackson)
            
              Pastor Bart Barber preaches at First Baptist Church of Farmersville, Texas, on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022. Barber, the new president of the Southern Baptist Convention, has pastored the Texan congregation of about 320 people since 1999. A staunch theological conservative, Barber touts biblical inerrancy, opposes women serving as pastors and supports abortion bans. (AP Photo/Audrey Jackson)
            
              The auditorium of the First Baptist Church of Farmersville, Texas is seen on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022. Bart Barber, new president of the Southern Baptist Convention, preaches at the church on Sundays. (AP Photo/Audrey Jackson)
            
              Bart Barber loads equipment into his stock trailer after attending a livestock event in McKinney, Texas, with his daughter Sarah on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Audrey Jackson)
            
              Bart Barber watches his daughter's show heifer Iris while she rests in a mobile stall at a livestock event in McKinney, Texas, on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Audrey Jackson)
            
              Vegas Patterson, 11, leans against Iris, an 18-month-old Santa Gertrudis show heifer owned by Sarah Barber, at the Celebrate the Possibilities Livestock Event in McKinney, Texas, on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Audrey Jackson)
            
              Bart Barber gives Caleb Coblentz, 5, tips on brushing heifers at a 4-H sponsored event in McKinney, Texas, on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Audrey Jackson)
            
              Bart Barber, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, laughs while his sixteen-year-old daughter Sarah shaves Iris, a Santa Gertrudis show heifer, at a livestock event in McKinney, Texas, on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022. Bart Barber grew up in a Southern Baptist family in Lake City, Ark. Baptized just before his sixth birthday, he felt God calling him to ministry at age 11 and preached his first sermon at 15. (AP Photo/Audrey Jackson)
            
              Pastor Bart Barber, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, wears a Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary belt buckle at a livestock event hosted by local chapters of the 4-H Club and National FFA Organization in McKinney, Texas, on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Audrey Jackson)
            
              Joni Brewer talks to Bart Barber while preparing her miniature Hereford cow and calf for the Celebrate the Possibilities Livestock Show 2022 hosted by local chapters of the 4-H Club and National FFA Organization in McKinney, Texas, on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022. Barber’s background as a trusted, small-town preacher — not to mention his folksy sense of humor and self-deprecating style — helps explain why fellow Baptists picked him as their new leader. (AP Photo/Audrey Jackson)
            
              Pastor Bart Barber, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, preaches from the pulpit of the First Baptist Church of Farmersville, Texas, on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022. For nearly a quarter-century, Barber enjoyed relative obscurity as a pastor in this town of 3,600, about 50 miles northeast of Dallas. That changed in June as delegates to the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting in California, chose Barber to lead the nation’s largest Protestant denomination at a time of major crisis. (AP Photo/Audrey Jackson)
Amid crises, rural roots anchor Southern Baptists’ president