Sorry I missed sweltering St. Louis but I have enjoyed reading some reports from the brethren, especially the one from the first time attendee.
Here are a few items of lesser note that I thought interesting:
Ah, those spontaneous and deliberate motions from the floor:
- A motion by Andy Perryman of First Baptist Church, Washington, Ga., to amend the SBC constitution to make intentional cooperation with a state convention and a local association criteria by which a church is deemed to be in friendly cooperation with the SBC.
This was referred to the Executive Committee which, I predict, will report that no action should be taken on this. There have always been churches that were “at large” state convention members because they left or were kicked out of an association. An association has to take formal action to accept new members. My state convention gives a list of new churches every year but I don’t know if each is vetted or not. The SBC national doesn’t formally accept churches but formally excludes one every now and then. If we were to make some formal connection among the three, then leaving one would mean automatically being excluded from the others. Better to be a part of all three but without connecting any to the other, I think.
2. A motion by David Roberts of Sunrise Baptist Church, Midland, Mich., for the North American Mission Board, International Mission Board and LifeWay Christian Resources to study the possibility of working together or separately to fund campus ministries and/or campus ministers, particularly in areas underserved by Southern Baptists.
A motion by Michael Elsey of Ontwa Baptist Church, Edwardsburg, Mich., for the Executive Committee to appoint a study group to consider giving existing camps and conference centers affiliated with Baptist state conventions a one-time payout from Cooperative Program funds for the purpose of establishing endowments or developing physical properties.
These two were ruled out of order. The idea is, I suppose, that the Executive Committee is the recipient of a boatload of cash (they handle a couple hundred million dollars annually) and that maybe they could just allocate a few tens of million to state conventions to bail out state conference centers that can’t make it on their own. Aside from the fact that the Executive Committee’s total of Cooperative Program receipts are spoken for, every penny of the $180 million or so that they receive, the state conventions have far more revenue (about $300 million) from which to support their own conference centers. These conference centers and camps need to make it on their own through marketing and sales or stop operating. My state just shed itself of one of their two such facilities, one that was underutilized, out-of-date, and not in a place where it was easy to market.
Same approach to campus ministers. NAMB is busy starting churches, probably a better use of their funding than putting paid staff on campuses. LifeWay should sell books. IMB should put their funding among the billions who have little chance of ever hearing the name of Jesus.
The real money in the SBC is with the churches which had over $10 billion in receipts, $400 million more to spend than the last statistical year. Go to the churches and persuade them to free up some cash for conference centers or campus ministers.
About the fewer baptisms
So, SBC churches report 10k or so fewer baptisms. “God help us all…” said Frank Page. Thom Ranier said something like, “Thank God for the 295,000 who were baptized.” Ronnie Floyd made an interesting point about non-reporting churches. I think they are all right. Plodder’s baptism solution: Get SBC church members to have more babies. That will get the numbers up in 5-10 years. Demographics and birth rates matter.
The Vice Presidents.
Name one of ’em.
See you next year in hot, dry Phoenix…maybe.