I had not planned to attend this year even though the site is fairly close to me but I had forgotten that my wife was scheduled to sing in the big, statewide chorus. I rearranged my plans.
As a seasoned observer of such meetings, I offer a few vignettes of the meeting:
Our convention is in pretty good shape. The mood was happy. No rancor afoot that I know of. Folks look like they enjoy being there. It helps that attendees can get their daily calories in personal size candy bars by hitting the exhibits. Ah, Baby Ruths. Good choice. Old school.
I didn’t bother to get a messenger card and didn’t register. Now I recall being present a few years ago at the last meeting held at this church. That year a blogger, not me, was escorted from the premises. I’m under the radar, brethren, no name tag.
Georgia is a big carry-your-guns-anywhere state, even churches. A sign on the door said that guns were prohibited. Good policy.
This is a sprawling megachurch with addition having been added on to addition. I ask one of the friendly info people how to get to the choir room. She tells me to go down this hallway, turn right then left and ask the next help person. It’s very confusing and complicated.
Hmmm, here comes a gentleman of considerable girth in a striking, forest camouflage pattern sport coat. I love the concept but I don’t think that’s working for you, bro.
I’m accustomed to the shirttail crowd at these meetings but it still looks odd to see a gray-headed, middle-aged or older dude untucked. Don’t people grow up?
The mini-bookstore: Spurgeon half-off. Gonna have to do better than that to move these. You can buy every kind of boutique Bible known in the imagination of booksellers. Look, there’s a “Brave Girl Bible.” Wonder if a girl could get Roy Moore to autograph it?
The big choir, 200 or so. What a magnificent thing. Love the music and miss such things terribly by attending a church with no choir. They have a nice song that is a knockoff of Puccini’s Turandot, one of my favorite operas that features murder, torture, beheading, suicide and other nice things. The signature song is “Nessun Dorma” (“none shall sleep”). I can’t make out the Christian lyrics that are substituted for the original but I didn’t sleep through it. Very nice.
Speaking of sleeping, see that brother over there – head flopped back and mouth open? Sure enough sleeping. At least he picked a good time to snooze, business meetings and reports. My wife has instructions that if I doze off like this then she’s free to stomp my toe or give me a sharp elbow.
Disaster relief always gets a prominent place in just about any and all SBC and state convention presentation. More promotional bang for the buck in this than anything, since very little is actually budgeted for disaster relief compared to other items. It’s a good ministry.
Aha, an IMB trustee manning the IMB exhibit. I’ll have a word with him. “Do you think David Platt will go full time at the Board?” (Now that I’m retired, I can do TIC full time). He looked askance at me, said, “He already is” and then we had a conversation about the situation. I’ll give trustees credit for this: they put out the information, made their points, and said they would be paying close attention. I’m satisfied with that.
One prominent pastor, while nominating someone, said: “Watch out for the people who are experts on what used to work.” Not sure if this was a shot at old school methodology. One theme for this year promoted VBS, Bible Drill, and other youth and children ministries. I think those work and you don’t have to keep the old school names to do them.
Is it me or are attendees really dressing better than the last few years? Only a couple of fauxhemians this year and more suits than I recall. The old sartorial pendulum may be swinging.
Not a single toupee. Hallelujah for tonsorial freedom! Shave that head, bro.
I didn’t get the budget but things are tight. The convention had a theme that dealt in part with generosity. Yeah, I know folks used to be better and if challenged can do better than their doing, but nostalgia isnt much of a business plan.
I chat with a couple of state staffers that have really been helpful to me personally. One of them, a financial guy, always returns my phone calls promptly. The other, the CMDR guy, has always shown a personal interest in my wife and me, remembers names and all that, asks about the church, etc. I fully believe that the state convention can play an important role in the life of the churches mainly in areas where concrete assistance is helpful. I’m not sure if the grand programs of church growth and programs have or will prove successful.
But…I appreciate my state convention and the people involved. Maybe next year I’ll register and vote.