Southern Baptists attending convention in downtown Houston

With prayer and protest, the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention officially got underway

HOUSTON - Thousands of Southern Baptists are in downtown Houston attending the organization's annual conference. One of the biggest issues on the table is the Boy Scout's approval of gay members.

With prayer and protest, the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention officially got underway in Houston.

The conservative religious body is drawing thousands of people -- families, high-profile speakers and messengers. People who will vote on the organization's future.

"We just come together and seek the Lord's will and see where God is leading and what he is doing," said Trent Bilbo, an SBC messenger from Mississippi.

The SBC meets at a time when controversial topics like same sex marriage, abortion, and sexual abuse in the church are huge concerns.

"We're here to protect kids and take a stand for survivors of abuse by Baptist clergy," said Amy Smith with SNAP.

But the most pressing issue for some is whether Southern Baptists should split from the Boy Scouts after the organization voted last month to allow openly gay members.

"As a mother, it's a little disturbing we have to tread very carefully when it comes to children," said Jane Blackwell from North Carolina.

A resolution has been introduced that calls for severing ties with the Boy Scouts, but the Southern Baptist leadership says the decision will be made congregation by congregation.

"This will have implications for how churches can cooperate with Boy Scout troops in moral formation with there's disagreement about what morality is and I do think the resolution will lay that out very carefully," said Russell D. Moore with the SBC Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.

While torn, some here say they will vote based on their conscience, once the resolution on the Boy Scouts is brought to the floor.

"I know it's effecting a lot of our local churches, but I take a firm stand on what scripture says; that it is wrong," said Bilbo.

The Southern Baptists Convention is the second largest Christian body after the Catholic Church.

Copyright 2013 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.