fred luter*All eyes are on Fred Luter as he officially begins his term as the first black president of the Southern Baptist Convention, says The Christian Post.

While many recognize Luter’s election in and of itself as a giant step forward in racial reconciliation, they say only time will tell what kind of impact his leadership will have on a mostly white denomination.

For the most part, African Americans in the SBC are confident that the future is brighter.

“We’re at the table now,” said A.B. Vines, the newly elected president of SBC’s National African American Fellowship, to The Christian Post. “If we’re there, we can change things.”

Luter’s one-year term began Wednesday night at the end of the SBC Annual Meeting in New Orleans. The former street preacher was elected Tuesday with some 7,700 Southern Baptists unanimously supporting his historic election.

His election comes at a time when the SBC is already seeing growth among ethnic minorities. The percentage of Anglo churches has decreased from 95 percent in 1990 to 80 percent in 2010. Despite the decline in overall baptisms and membership, Hispanics, Asians and African Americans are the fastest-growing ethnic groups in the SBC, according to Vines.

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