My wife and I enjoyed attending the annual meeting in Anaheim. I’ve attended the SBC annual meetings since 1975, off and on. The off years were the years when we served overseas with the FMB/IMB. The following are my observations and reflections.
The highlight of the convention for me was the Missionary Appointment Service. The IMB appointed 52 new missionaries. Praise the Lord! That’s our main things, folks.
The best quote of the convention was spoken by Dr. Paul Chitwood, President of the IMB (and my former student). He declared, “Missions brought Southern Baptists together, and missions should keep us together.” The messengers responded to this with a standing ovation, as they should have.
The recommendations of the Sexual Abuse Task Force were approved overwhelmingly. The messengers seemed determined to do the right thing for the victims and to do better in the future. Personally, I’m grateful to Todd Benkert for his advocacy and activity in this effort. He is also my former student, and he makes me feel proud.
I noticed much more diversity on the platform, on the committees, and in the elections. Giving women and ethnic leaders an opportunity to serve is a good and godly thing.
We enjoyed touring the exhibit hall. The folks at Guidestone cordially helped us with a problem. We got to chat with a Cebuana at the booth of the Filipino Fellowship. (It’s always a blessing to speak Cebuano, the language of heaven.) At the IMB booth, we spoke with Dr. Rebecca Naylor, a long-time medical missionary to India. In my opinion, she ranks right up there with Lottie Moon.
We were pleased that Bart Barber was elected president. He is a “big tent” Southern Baptist, and he will be a force for positivism.
At the Southwestern Seminary luncheon, the seminary honored Rear Admiral Endel Lee as a Distinguished Alumnus. I applaud that. Chaplains deserve recognition.
The Cowden Hall Band, from Southwestern Seminary, was great during the Pastor’s Conference. Let’s hear more from them next year.
The staff at the convention center and environs were friendly and courteous.
After driving across the desert to reach Anaheim, the temperature in Anaheim was delightful.
I especially enjoyed seeing old friends (most of my friends seem old now) and former students. Most of my students seem to remember me fondly. Who would have thought that?
The chairs in the hall were really hard and uncomfortable. Next year, could we provide a section of padded chairs for old codgers like me and William Thornton?
There were too few coffee kiosks (only two), which resulted in long lines.
There was too much conversation at the rear of the meeting hall. President Litton appealed several times for quiet, but to no avail. Folks, take your conversations outside.
Too few messengers understand parliamentary procedure and how the SBC operates.
Some of the motions offered seemed weird to me.
Last, my wife complained about her roommate.