The NAMB controversy concerns mainly smaller, non-south state conventions but the great consumer of Cooperative Program dollars are the large state conventions. If we are to engage in finger pointing over declining statistics, a popular game in the SBC if not a productive one, the fingers should point to the places where we’re spending the most money.
But, for now the conflict is between NAMB and non-south states. Again, take the time to read Joe Westbury’s long, long article here.
One of the statements made in Westbury’s article caught my attention,
Adams, in the Northwest, reports that in February 2020, NAMB’ Ezell said 12 of the non-South conventions shouldn’t even exist.
On another occasion he suggested they should be collapsed into one large Western convention based out of Denver.
This is a secondhand quote of NAMB leader Kevin Ezell through Randy Adams, leader of one of the non-south state conventions, Northwest Baptist Convention, and the most aggressive candidate for SBC president in history.
There are 41 state conventions in the SBC. The largest in numbers of churches is the Baptist General Convention of Texas with 4323 and the smallest is Puerto Rico with 44. These are numbers from the 2019 statistical report of the SBC.
Here is a list of the smaller state conventions and their church count:
Puerto Rico 44
I have no issue with any of these places. I presume they are all difficult in regard to church planting.
The SBC is nothing if not organizationally minded and each of these locations is a state convention.
Why is it a given that eighty or one hundred churches in a geographic area, mostly by US states, should be a state convention.
State conventions have administrative leaders, assistants, staff, offices, and expenses. Why is this considered a necessity for an area that has one hundred churches as it is in an area like my state, Georgia, that has 3,361 churches? It’s not a biblical concept.
If a Southern Baptist leader suggests that fewer smaller state conventions is an idea worth exploring, why is that wrong? Why shouldn’t it be explored? Why should the solution be to go back to the status quo ante where NAMB flung millions into denominational jobs in the places but little church growth occurred.
But, if it is convention policy that we fund jobs in far away places with little population, the convention is certainly entitled to spend it’s CP money in that fashion. If it is received wisdom that we have state conventions everywhere we have a few dozen churches because this was the pattern in the halcyon days of growth in the mid-20th century, then we can certainly return to that.
I can understand HI/Pacific, PR, and AK based on their separation from the continental US, although the distance is only in miles, not communication and participation. Why shouldn’t some of these small conventions be combined into one state structure with 300 churches? Or, just have associations? Just, asking, but folks get whammied for asking unacceptable questions.
Oh, now you’re messing with jobs and titles. Dadgum bloggers.
To go macro on all this. I’m not inclined to buy the argument that state structures are essential and that NAMB will utterly fail in their centralized church planting strategy.
We can have this discussion if we desire. Perhaps there is a solution no one is offering at the moment. Or, we can burn the house down if we don’t get what we want.
This is about money, probably chief among other things, and the big CP money still stays in the states of the old Confederacy. All this controversy with NAMB may be the wrong target altogether.
I’m slow but Iearned a long time ago that every administrative leader could justify his budget. In the SBC with our vast administrative structures, we do it six ways from Sunday, and twice on the Lord’s Day.