I’ll be glad when we are back to having mass meetings, as in the SBC Annual Meeting. I like the idea of having a real meeting rather than an online one. The moderator or chair ought to have to face real faces.
Holding the SBC Annual Meeting either online as a virtual meeting or at various satellite locations is not an option under the SBC’s governing documents.
May it ever be so.
Although annual meetings have been live-streamed for years, the SBC’s governing documents require all business conducted at the Annual Meeting be done by “messengers present and voting in person.” The COVID-19 situation demanded an exigency one hopes is not to be repeated. But as for replacing or supplementing the Annual Meeting with some system of remote voting would require approval of messengers at an annual meeting. Good.
In its meeting in Sept. 2019, the Executive Committee declined a referral made during the 2019 SBC Annual Meeting to study the feasibility of distance voting and remote participation in SBC annual meetings. The motion was one of many similar ones made over the years. In declining to study the idea, the EC cited reasoning that had been cited in declining earlier motions, including:
The complexity of implementation. The vulnerability of sessions to potential technology failures, the accuracy of voting, and the mechanics of conducting business sessions demands an in-person meeting. There’s also no precedent for official business to be conducted using virtual methods even at annual meetings of SBC state conventions.
But if one would like another small reason not to change our longstanding protocol of having a mass meeting where people have to show up and vote in the meeting hall, perhaps the recent Executive Committee virtual meeting would serve as an example. Would we have had the same situation with our venerable SBC Executive Committee if the meeting were physical rather than virtual? Who knows? I suspect the flow would have been different.
Imagine scaling that up from dozens of participants to tens of thousands in remote locations…but then, we SBCers have shown an affection for watching train wrecks. Let’s be sensible, though.
Have a meeting. Show up in person. Vote.
The image is the famous Broadus gavel which I have seen at annual meetings only as a tiny speck in the distance. It’s been figuratively hammered recently. I don’t know who chooses to use or not use it at the SBC annual meeting. The President? Years ago I recall A. Harold Bennett, then leader of the Executive Committee making an elaborate and wordy presentation of the gavel to whatever SBC president at the time. He didn’t include any statement about Broadus being a slave owner. Time for the museum for this. We have other gavels. I could suggest a few not in the possession of the Executive Committee and will probably do so later. We already have a bunch of historic gavels. I’m looking for a link to the piece I read recently on it.
Have a meeting. Gavel it in and out of session. Besides, if one particular side keeps losing votes, they could still blame it on the silent SBC majority who couldn’t afford to attend the meeting.