SBC This Week has a list, something for which I have an inveterate predisposition, on the SBC for this year:
10 Questions for 2017:
1. What will be the response to the revamped Pastors Conference in Phoenix?
2. Will we start to see leadership transitions in southern states?
3. How will a Trump presidency affect religious liberty?
4. How will the new CSB translation from LifeWay be received?
5. Will the LifeWay building be occupied in 2017?
6. How will the changing online education landscape affect SBC seminaries and baptist colleges?
7. Will limitless missionaries start to become a reality in 2017?
8. Will we continue to see increasingly diverse representation on trustee boards?
9. How might Guidestone and their constituents be impacted by changes in health care and the possible elimination of the ACA?
10. How will the rural/urban divide in America influence SBC churches and revitalization efforts?
I like their list enough to steal four of them and add a few of my own. My first four come from the list compiled by the SBC This Week brain trust, Amy Whitfield and Jonathan Howe. They are content to let the list hang out there on its own. I, however, feel called to add some commentary. Here’s my list:
- What will be the response to the revamped Pastors Conference in Phoenix? Indeed. One of the unexpected events of 2016 was the truly grassroots movement that elected Dave Miller as Pastor’s Conference president. I’m inclined to think that based on early reaction to the new format that it will do well. I’d be there if I could and I have had no interest in attending an SBC Pastor’s Conference since before Adrian Rogers died over a decade ago.
- Will we start to see leadership transitions in southern states? I think we already have with Tommy Green in Florida. If any major area of the SBC needs some new thinking and leadership it is the state conventions. It’s a different day for the larger, wealthier, southern state conventions. Seems to me that managing them as if they are legacy brands to be kept alive because of the income stream is inadequate. Oreo cookies have been around for over a century but has a few new things going that have created excitement among consumers.
- Will limitless missionaries start to become a reality in 2017? OK, Rev. Radical. You’ve got a stable financial situation. What’s next?
- Will we continue to see increasingly diverse representation on trustee boards? I’d like to know. I’d like Amy and Jonathan to quantify what we have now in minority representation (include both lay and female metrics, please) and measure coming years by it.
- What’s to come of the Russell Moore controversy? He has some strident opponents among us. Will they offer any motions or resolutions at the annual meeting? Will opposition reach critical mass where funding will be affected or trustees moved to any action?
- Will NAMB’s annual report on church plants reveal anything interesting about their SEND planting program? Back in 2011 Kevin Ezell said, “The old NAMB had no system for consistently tracking new church plants across the 42 state conventions. The new NAMB is working on that with state partners, to write a definition we all can adhere to…If Walmart can track how much toilet paper it sells every hour, we should be able to track how many churches are planted each year.” How many plants make it? How many fail? What kind of churches are these once funding ends?
- Will some Baptist Faith and Message loving Southern Baptist finally challenge a church doctrinal grounds? Doctrinal other than sexuality, that is. Some of the high flyers are said to accept membership transfers by sprinkling. Others are accused of being elder ruled churches. Seems to me that a collision is inevitable on some doctrinal issue.
- What state convention will sell their expensive, underutilized, dinosaur of a headquarters building? Several potential candidates are extant.
- What will happen in Phoenix when a non-male is the parliamentarian for one of the SBC annual meeting sessions? Nothing, I hope, other than “Good job.”
- Will any major SBC entity have changes at the top?
Perhaps you would add to SBC This Week or my list.
Have a great 2017.