Last night after watching the debacle that was the Executive Committee (EC) meeting and then seeing so many pastors suggest they might lead their church to leave the convention or escrow their giving, I posted the following to Twitter.
“Friends, please don’t leave the SBC. Too many good things happening. If anything, consider temporarily redistributing CP & GCG funds away from the EXComm until we get to Anaheim & we radically redefine the work of the EC & reformat the allocation budget commensurate w/the change.”
In short order I was asked how such a redistribution might be accomplished. It’s actually a fairly simple process but as with any such thing it should be carefully considered and not a knee jerk reaction. And let me follow up by saying I personally would want it to be a temporary thing until we can make significant changes to the ministry assignment of the EC. They clearly need help knowing who/what they are tasked with doing and what they should NOT be doing. It has been my opinion for some time that the EC has grown into something it was never intended to be.
Before we get to the process let me add a few things I believe also need to be done when we get to California next June. Now some of these things are constitutional and/or by-law issues and so we must follow all appropriate parameters to accomplish them but some are fairly simple to initiate.
- Support a possible Committee on Nominations action of selecting different nominees to fill the spots of those EC members who are eligible for re-election who also voted against the expressed will of the sole member through voting down the Wellman motion. (I would also suggest a bylaw change dropping the number of EC trustees to a maximum of 2 members per state convention with smaller state conventions receiving 1 member in hopes that we might have a total number under 50. 80+ is ridiculous to me)
- Term limit the office of Convention Recording Secretary and move that the role becomes ex-officio NON-VOTING. (POST-PUBLISHING EDIT: I’m told that such a motion had been made but that it was rightly gaveled out of order because in the state of TN all members of a board must have voting privilages. Thus, my motion will be to amend the by-laws to remove the Recording Secretary from the EC board. Thus, he/she would be an elected officer of the SBC but not on the EC… in the same way the Registration Secretary is not on the EC.) There is no reason to have a member on the EC who has been actively voting for 24 years when everyone else is term limited at 2 terms of 4 years each. (2021 SBC Annual, p. 543)
- Change the Ministry Assignment of the EC to include only such things as are necessary for the dispersion of the allocation budget and the execution of the 2 day annual meeting each year. Of course a number of other things they do would have to be included but we should significantly trim back their role. This would be done by way of moving for a presidential appointment of an ad hoc committee to bring back recommendations for action at the following year’s meeting. This redefinition of the ministry and work of the EC would ensure that we would never again face the issues we’ve seen of late with rampant EC overreach. (You might want to serve Voices for other articles related to this ongoing problem. We have a bunch of them)
There are quite a few other suggestions I have but those will be for a discussion for another day. I will flesh these things out in a later article. I’d also love to hear from our readers as to other ideas you might have involving that we might want to consider doing… but lets do that later.
Now, on to the bigger and more immediate issue. Here is a way to reallocate your church’s giving to temporarily (I hope) give “around” the EC.
This is a significant act within our cooperative work. There are, no doubt, philosophical issues and unknown future implications on how these actions might impact our SBC journey. I’m simply offereing this as an option for those who desire to make a statment and/or affect change while also not harming the good work of our healthy entities. We must protect the Christ-honoring and healthy entites who are doing exactly what we call on them to do. There are far too many good things happening in the rest of our entities to escrow funds or leave the convention.
Honestly, where else is there to go? Who has better, more profoundly successful mission boards than we do? Who even comes close to the theological education we offer through our 6 schools and the blessing of the gift of supplemented tuition we offer the students of our cooperating churches. I’ve come to the conclusion that there is nothing, no other group or work, that does what we do so well (when we are functioning in humility and health). So, I’m committed to staying put until we turn off the lights. Let’s not hinder the work of the bunches and bunches of our good apples because a few have shown themselves to be rotten. Let’s simply toss out the bad apples.
Also, don’t be swayed by those who warn that “redistributed giving” will cause a problem with seating a full slate of messengers at our annual meeting. That is simply not true. In fact, ironically, it is not true because of the change in our Constitution which was brought forth by the Great Commission Task Force… lead by… Ronnie Floyd. ANY giving to ANY SBC cause (from the CP to Great Commission Giving to even giving to just one entity) offers your church the same seating capacity as it has only giving through the CP. Check out our SBC Constitution, Article 3 Section 3 (located in the 2021 SBC Annual, p.7).
This action will simply mean writing 2 checks in place of 1 when your church sends in their gifts. What follows is a simple example of how a church might bring about this desired outcome using a classic CP giving model of a 50/50 split between the state convention and the SBC. It seems a numbered list would be easiest to follow.
- Take a look at what your state convention’s allocation percentage is. (again, we will use the 50/50 split as the formula for this example in which case normally 50% of what is taken in is kept in the state and the other 50% is sent on to the SBC).
- Then, write a check for 50% of the total amount you will give and send that check on to your state convention.
- Inform them to keep 100% of that gift in state. Your state convention is now covered.
- Contact, ironically enough, the Executive Committee office in Nashville and request to set up an account to give directly to the Allocation Budget of the Convention (this will be a one-time action). They will assign your church an account id. (You can see how that all plays out by going to the 2021 SBC Annual, pg. 192-9 and perusing the churches that already do something along these lines).
- You will regularly receive a “Church/Individual Remittance Report” form to fill out. It looks like this…
- When you are ready to send on the other 50% to Nashville you simply show that you want the gift to be “dispersed using the allocation budget percentages BUT you also want to zero out the SBC Operating Budget” (the Executive Committee).
This is a relatively simple task but it should be well thought through and executed with a cool-headed approach, not an emotional one.
Now, I need to go finish my coming Voices article on my own #SBC21 motion regarding the apparent inherent conflict of interest we seem to have with the same legal counsel representing both the SBC and the EC. I knew we had a problem with this issue which, of course, initiated the motion but I certainly had no idea at the time the motion was made that we’d be here witnessing all this. What a mess.