The SBC Executive Committee met this week and did a few things. Here’s a secondhand report of the highlights. Quotes are from BP:
Declined a request to study further the feasibility of remote participation in the SBC annual meeting.
Among the reasons cited: “Diverting missions’ offerings to pioneer the use of such technology (there being no known model for web-based constituent participation in any similarly-sized, deliberative body, nor even in any state Baptist convention) would be an inappropriate prioritization” and “The simplicity of conducting business at a single site is preferable to the complexity of doing so via innumerable off-site computer configurations.”
Those who promote the idea think it to be a panacea for their complaints about the SBC. That is, they believe more people think like them who, if they could, would show up at their associational office and strike a blow for whatever the cure du jour happens to be. It’s the best terrible idea around. Learn more about it here so you can at least discuss it intelligently. Good job making short work of this, Executive Committee.
Agreed to allow up to a quarter million dollars to the “SBC president’s initiative to study ways to address sexual abuse and related issues in a church or ministry context.” J. D. Greear’s proposal on this matter was timely, astute, and needed. The ERLC will jointly do this with some group (yet to be named) appointed to do the work. I assume most of the money is for meetings, travel, and expenses. They have until February of 2020 to make a report. I would have thought that the group could have something for next year’s SBC Annual Meeting.
Agreed to put a “Baptism Day” on the SBC calendar. I’m all for that. No reason a church couldn’t delay some baptisms so that this could be a big day and encourage the convention. There are 33 special Sundays (or longer periods) already on our SBC calendar. As a pastor, I’d use three or four of these. Oh, last Sunday was “Anti-Gambling Sunday.” Did your church observe that? Here in Georgia, SBCers love the lottery because it sends their kids to college for free and mom and dad and use their savings to buy them a condo near campus. I don’t know of a single Georgia Baptist church that observes anti-gambling Sunday but I, personally, am not in favor of the lottery tax on the poor and uneducated Georgians.
Learned that some of the seminaries are requiring students to undergo sex abuse training. SWBTS and SBTS use MinistrySafe online training courses. Maybe all six do, I couldn’t find out with a quick search. This is the easiest and fastest measure that SBC entities can take to address this matter. Too bad churches cannot be required to have at least one person so trained as well. My church is implementing it, at my suggestion and because I said I would handle it and not make any of the church staff take the responsibility (and I will give a report here on the experience before too long).
Agreed that from henceforth and forevermore, unless requested otherwise, DOMs and AMs will be called Associational Mission Strategists, proving, once again, that what we do best is to rename and attempt to rebrand moribund offices, positions, and concepts. Maybe this will accomplish something. Maybe not. Can’t hurt.
Heard some good old-fashioned bragging. Seminary heads gave reports to the EC and Danny Akin reported that “Southeastern has experienced 10 consecutive years of record enrollment and is committed to being a “Great Commission seminary,” he said. The seminary’s commitment to the Great Commission was evidenced by an International Mission Board report indicating five of the 10 top missionary-sending churches in the SBC are geographically near SEBTS. I’d brag about this too (but to be fair, I’ll acknowledge that Akin was rejoicing, not bragging which SBCers would never admit to). I’m looking for the list and haven’t found it yet but other reports say that these five churches are all within 15 miles of the seminary. SEBTS is clearly a powerhouse of missionary sending for our convention. Other seminaries take note. Jason Allen of MWBTS touted increasing enrollment. SWBTS interim president asked for prayer and for members to “move forward” with the beleaguered school.
You could have gotten the live blog of the SBC Executive Committee meeting if you didn’t have anything better to do yesterday and Monday. I was extremely busy watching some paint dry but I was pleased to be able to get the reports.
The EC held an open forum and interim CEO Augie Boto fielded questions. A few, with comments from your humble hacker and plodder:
- One member wanted to question the SWBTS Trustee Executive Committee action of firing the president. The EC asked for a formal report on the matter from SWBTS trustees but otherwise will not interfere, nor can they.
- One member tried to skewer Russell Moore but was cut off by the EC chairman. Good job.
- A pastor from Utah/Idaho complained that associations were “falling apart” in his area” due to funds being cut off. Yeah, NAMB no longer shovels money to a lot of places for job creation but has prioritized their funding for planting churches where most of the lost people are located. U/I has one EC rep for their 134 churches. My state has one per 675 churches…so our western colleagues have that going for them.
- One member suggested the SBC annual meeting be held in the north. Looks like Indianapolis is as far north as we have scheduled, and that doesn’t do much for me. How about Toronto, or is it required that the meeting be held in the US? We were in Detroit some years ago but no thanks on going back there. How about Minneapolis?