SBC State Annual Meetings Etc...

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SBC State Annual Meetings Etc...

Postby David Flick » Sat Oct 25, 2014 4:15 am

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This year (2014) marks the 13th year since I last attended a SBC annual meeting of any sort. I can count on one hand the number of times I have worshiped in a SBC church since 2001. Over the last five years I've lost interest in keeping current on SBC personalities and events. Through the years since leaving the SBC/BGCO in the dust, I have maintained a subscription to the printed version of the Baptist Messenger of Oklahoma. My wife is the primary reader of the OBM.

Tis the season for SBC state annual meetings. I wondered to myself what the schedules are for annual meetings across the entire SBC. I thought it would be interesting to plot a simple chart of the dater of all the annual meetings. Here's what I found:

    SBC Annual Meetings

    • Alabama Baptist Convention = November 10-11
    • Alaska Baptist Convention = October 1
    • Arizona Southern Baptist Convention = November 14
    • Arkansas Baptist State Convention = October 27-29
    • California Southern Baptist Convention October 21-22
    • Colorado Baptist General Convention = October 13-14
    • Dakota Baptist Convention = November 14 – 15
    • District of Columbia Baptist Convention = October 27-28
    • Florida Baptist Convention = November 10-11
    • Baptist Convention = November 10-11
    • Hawaii Pacific Baptist Convention = November 6-7
    • Illinois Baptist State Association = November 4-6
    • State Convention of Baptists in Indiana = October 20-21
    • Baptist Convention of Iowa = November 8
    • Kansas-Nebraska Convention of Southern Baptists = October 13-14
    • Kentucky Baptist Convention = November 10-11
    • Louisiana Baptist Convention = November 10-11
    • Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware = November 9-11
    • Baptist State Convention of Michigan = November 7-8
    • Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptist Convention = October 31
    • Mississippi Baptist Convention Board = October 28-29
    • Missouri Baptist Convention = October 27-29
    • Montana Southern Baptist Convention = October 7-8
    • Nevada Baptist Convention = October 21-22
    • Baptist Convention of New England = November 14-15
    • Baptist Convention of New Mexico = October 21-22
    • Baptist Convention of New York = September 28-30
    • Baptist State Convention of North Carolina = November 10-11
    • Northwest Baptist Convention = November 11-12
    • State Convention of Baptists in Ohio = November 5-6
    • Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma = November 10-11
    • Baptist Convention of Pennsylvania/South Jersey = November 6-7
    • South Carolina Baptist Convention = November 10-11
    • Tennessee Baptist Convention = November 10-11
    • Baptist General Convention of Texas = November 16-18

I noticed in this week's issue of the OBM that the BGCO annual meeting and pastors conference is scheduled for November 10-11. The Pastor's Conference is loaded with old guys (Jim Henry, Tom Elliff, Danny Akin, and Ronnie Floyd). I have a hunch that one of the reasons that Elliff is on the list is due to the fact that his son-in-law, Jim Lankford, is going to become the next US Senator from Oklahoma, replacing outgoing Senator, Tom Coburn. Lankford is leading his Democratic opponent by 41 points in the polls. If Elliff thought he was famous in Oklahoma, his fame is going to rise significently come the second week in November.

I have given some thought about going to the Pastor's Conference incognito. I think it would be fun to listen to those old guys shell down some fundamentalist SBC corn. It would be entertaining. I could easily pull it off. Nobody in the BGCO knows me any more. They haven't seen or heard of me in the last 14 years. I could dishevel my beard, put on some colored glasses and sit on the back row in the balcony and nobody would be the wiser... :lol:

So while I was looking at the schedule as printed in the Messenger, I noticed something interesting. The theme is a one word, one number theme ("Together 2014"). As I was looking at the one word, I notice that the creator of the theme logo divided the word into three words. It looked a lot like To Get Her. Probably nothing to it, but it sure was interesting in light of the fact that Anthony Jordan was the chairman of the committee that gave Southern Baptists the infamous "Submissive Women" article, which was the first revision to the BF&M (which came arrived on the SBC scene in 1998). Oddly enough, Jordan's good friend, Tom Elliff, was the SBC President at the time and was the person who handed the chairmanship of the committee to him. Again. probably nothing to it, but it was interesting...


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Re: SBC State Annual Meetings Etc...

Postby William Thornton » Sat Oct 25, 2014 6:54 am

Your list includes "Baptist Convention, Npvember 10-11" which is the Georgia Baptist Comvention. The meeting is in Macon, home of Neil Heath, Mercer University, and the splendid Ocmulgee Indian Mounds. I may attend this year as a messenger.

The GBC, like other state conventions, is all about reduced budgets, pared-down staff, reduced Cooperative Program giving, and increasing irrelevance in the minds of a growing number of pastors and churches. While I appreciate many of the staff of the GBC and value some of the work they do, our beloved state convention is on a downward trajectory. Still, almost all GBC churches contribute to the CP and there is a considerable sum of money to be divided up, making the GBC relevant for those who wish to influence the spending of money.
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Re: SBC State Annual Meetings Etc...

Postby Dave Roberts » Sat Oct 25, 2014 7:12 am

Didn't see the Baptist General Association of Virginia which is meeting November 11-12 in Hampton.
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Re: SBC State Annual Meetings Etc...

Postby Haruo » Sat Oct 25, 2014 10:12 am

Where do the SBCers of Utah and Wyoming meet, and when?
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Re: SBC State Annual Meetings Etc...

Postby Neil Heath » Sat Oct 25, 2014 3:41 pm

William Thornton wrote:Your list includes "Baptist Convention, Npvember 10-11" which is the Georgia Baptist Comvention. The meeting is in Macon, home of Neil Heath, Mercer University, and the splendid Ocmulgee Indian Mounds. I may attend this year as a messenger.

The GBC, like other state conventions, is all about reduced budgets, pared-down staff, reduced Cooperative Program giving, and increasing irrelevance in the minds of a growing number of pastors and churches. While I appreciate many of the staff of the GBC and value some of the work they do, our beloved state convention is on a downward trajectory. Still, almost all GBC churches contribute to the CP and there is a considerable sum of money to be divided up, making the GBC relevant for those who wish to influence the spending of money.


Come on down, William! I won't be attending, but would be glad to share a meal or cup of coffee if schedules permit. Of course that goes for any other BL members here in Ga. as well.

I understand the GBC is cutting its budget for next year by $1.4M due to declining receipts.
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Re: SBC State Annual Meetings Etc...

Postby Sandy » Sat Oct 25, 2014 7:18 pm

Haruo wrote:Where do the SBCers of Utah and Wyoming meet, and when?


Wyoming, November 6-7 in Thermopolis

Utah-Idaho was October 20-21 in Layton.
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Re: SBC State Annual Meetings Etc...

Postby Tim Bonney » Sat Oct 25, 2014 10:04 pm

It seems like most of the meetings are in the fall. I wonder how that got chosen as the tradition?
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Re: SBC State Annual Meetings Etc...

Postby Dave Roberts » Sun Oct 26, 2014 5:41 am

Timothy Bonney wrote:It seems like most of the meetings are in the fall. I wonder how that got chosen as the tradition?


They met when the crops were in and before winter made meetings more difficult.
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Re: SBC State Annual Meetings Etc...

Postby Jerry_B » Sun Oct 26, 2014 10:22 pm

I'm going to Waco meeting in November. Not expecting much out of the ordinary, maybe a resolution about the Houston supenas.
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Re: SBC State Annual Meetings Etc...

Postby Sandy » Mon Oct 27, 2014 5:13 pm

I have always had difficulty with the state convention level of the SBC bureaucracy. Ever since a college buddy of mine became a "consultant" in one of the larger state conventions, due to his Dad's prominent presence on the trustee board in charge of his area of service, and spoke openly about how "easy" the job was, how little time he spent in the office, telling his administrative assistant he was "going to a meeting" or a consulting event, and then meeting friends and playing golf, and the use of a rather generous expense account for a lot of personal perks. He was aiming in that direction while in college, got a two-year seminary degree and spent 25 years living off the Cooperative Program at a salary that most pastors in his state wouldn't have dreamed of getting, along with perks like his kids getting free tuition at the convention's colleges, use of a rental car traveling to his "consulting" sessions, usually in churches, and a "required" week of mission service, usually international, at convention expense. He once offered to "help" me get my name in the hat for a similar position in the state office, heading up Men's mission ministries (an almost non-existent field these days) and Disaster Relief.

Other than the colleges and universities, of which most are tuition-driven and receive very little financial support from the convention, and the usual assortment of children's homes, old folks homes, and church planting, what do state conventions really do? I think most could decrease staff by half or more, still have the relationships and governance of the institutions, and let the money go to international missions with little change.
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Re: SBC State Annual Meetings Etc...

Postby Dave Roberts » Tue Oct 28, 2014 6:59 am

Actually, the name for this thread is a misnomer. No matter how much the states are or are not part of the SBC, each is autonomous in its own right. The SBC is not the legal owner or controlling interest in any state corporate registration.
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Re: SBC State Annual Meetings Etc...

Postby Jerry_B » Tue Oct 28, 2014 11:59 am

That's not at true as it used to be. Small states are beholden to the returning CP dollars allocated by NAMB, so they step in line pretty quick on all things SBC. It would probably be more accurate to call them subsidiaries of the SBC at this point.
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Re: SBC State Annual Meetings Etc...

Postby William Thornton » Tue Oct 28, 2014 12:25 pm

Jerry_B wrote:That's not at true as it used to be. Small states are beholden to the returning CP dollars allocated by NAMB, so they step in line pretty quick on all things SBC. It would probably be more accurate to call them subsidiaries of the SBC at this point.


I'd agree with this in the context that the non-southern state conventions, in order to keep NAMB dollars coming, must adhere to certain parameters and requirements set by NAMB. I don't know that this is bad, so long as NAMB focuses on proper goals. We saw through earlier NAMB/state conv, negotiated agreements that a permanent, entrenched bureaucracy is easy to start in these places but messy to dismantle.
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Re: SBC State Annual Meetings Etc...

Postby Haruo » Tue Oct 28, 2014 1:02 pm

Small states on the other hand have more clout in running the country. Wyoming and Texas have the same number of senators... oh, you mean small Southern Baptist states...
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Re: SBC State Annual Meetings Etc...

Postby Ed Pettibone » Tue Oct 28, 2014 2:39 pm

Timothy Bonney wrote:It seems like most of the meetings are in the fall. I wonder how that got chosen as the tradition?


Ed: The harvest season is over.
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Re: SBC State Annual Meetings Etc...

Postby Jerry_B » Tue Oct 28, 2014 2:40 pm

Makes one, at least this one, wonder why the insistence from SBC that they are not a denomination and all parties are independent?
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Re: SBC State Annual Meetings Etc...

Postby Sandy » Wed Oct 29, 2014 2:24 pm

Jerry_B wrote:That's not at true as it used to be. Small states are beholden to the returning CP dollars allocated by NAMB, so they step in line pretty quick on all things SBC. It would probably be more accurate to call them subsidiaries of the SBC at this point.


Well, when you're talking about the layers of SBC organizational structure, you are talking about "conventions" that basically exist for the two or three days of their annual meeting, some less than that. And it's the people at those meetings, and ultimately in the churches, who decide in those business sessions what the state convention's relationship and posture will be when it comes to the SBC. I don't know about Virginia, but in Texas, every time the BGCT took a step to exercise its autonomy and do its own thing, there was an immediate reaction from the churches, first in designating money around the state convention, and then in more than two thousand churches forming a new convention. When the state convention staff and executive board, which always seemed to be drawn from a small group of churches further to the left than the bulk of the convention, even after the departure of many conservatives, finally decided to hand control of the CP allocation over to the churches and let each one determine what level of support would be forwarded on to the SBC, 80% increased the SBC portion of the giving, and decreased the state convention portion.

I grew up in a church that belonged to one of those smaller state conventions, and never sensed that there was some kind of obligation related to the NAMB support that came into the state. We got $7 from NAMB for every $1 we gave to NAMB, but the partnerships were in missions on the Indian reservations, and to ethnic groups, along with the standard support for DOM's.

Most of those state conventions have a mission and purpose that links them to the SBC, whether there's a legal or ecclesiastical link or not.
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Re: SBC State Annual Meetings Etc...

Postby Jerry_B » Thu Oct 30, 2014 1:48 am

I am going this year looking for relevance. I don't need the state convention, but support it for extension of missions. Are they still doing missions that matter? Is there a willingness to jettison where needed or is just much of the same, same.

I pastored in New Mexico, it was SBC controlled and if possible, even more so now. When is the last time one of the small conventions didn't do what the SBC wanted? They are a bought lot.
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Re: SBC State Annual Meetings Etc...

Postby Sandy » Thu Oct 30, 2014 9:24 am

Jerry_B wrote:I am going this year looking for relevance. I don't need the state convention, but support it for extension of missions. Are they still doing missions that matter? Is there a willingness to jettison where needed or is just much of the same, same.

I pastored in New Mexico, it was SBC controlled and if possible, even more so now. When is the last time one of the small conventions didn't do what the SBC wanted? They are a bought lot.


I've heard that before. Don't buy it.

I grew up in a church in the neighboring small state convention in Arizona, in a church that was just large enough to support a full time pastor. Had it not been for what was then the Home Mission Board, now NAMB, and the SBC, investing financially and in personnel, the work in that state, which is the fastest growing in terms of population growth, and one of the most secular, unchurched populations in the nation, would have been almost non-existent. Every denomination that had churches there struggled with just keeping them active and alive. NAMB sent in church planters, subsidized salaries for DOM's and actually funded the positions and used missionary personnel to staff them in all but the two largest associations in the state. For every dollar Arizona Southern Baptists gave to the CP, NAMB provided $7 in return. The work in Arizona, which was the first state convention outside the traditional area of operation for Southern Baptists, eventually led to the planting of churches and formation of convention bodies in Colorado, Utah-Idaho, Wyoming, Northern Plains, Northwest, and Nevada, which, along with Arizona, have a combined membership of over a million. More recently, when the Baptist Foundation scandal occurred in Arizona, and the state convention was bankrupted, and had to sell off its university and most of its entities, including its headquarters building, NAMB assumed responsibility for underwriting most of the missions enterprises, which would have collapsed and closed otherwise. There may have been bureaucratic headaches with the organization among the high, prominent leadership, but the field personnel are very well trained, very committed to their mission, and are enjoying a boom here in this state, especially in the metropolitan areas. I've never met a NAMB missionary who put "control" over the mission and purpose of their work.
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Re: SBC State Annual Meetings Etc...

Postby Ed Pettibone » Thu Oct 30, 2014 8:17 pm

Ed: Sandy I think you just Supported Jerry's Observation.
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Re: SBC State Annual Meetings Etc...

Postby Jerry_B » Fri Oct 31, 2014 12:03 am

Thinking the same thing Ed.

I had a sense, a tinge of, "if the SBC isn't doing work, there isn't any work going on". I doubt you believe that, probably just me.

I don't care if the SBC wants to fund work in Timbuktu, but let's not be naive and say this work is independent when all the evidence is to the contrary.
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Re: SBC State Annual Meetings Etc...

Postby Sandy » Fri Oct 31, 2014 6:58 am

Jerry's observation is negative, contending that the SBC has "bought" smaller conventions. Fact of the matter is that "buying" their support is not the motivation, nor do the NAMB personnel that I've observed ever try to manipulate what goes on in the state convention. I know it is hard for the SBC's critics to admit that they missed their guess on theology, and that the churches and people were much more conservative than they thought, and weren't happy with the direction the oligarchy was going prior to 1979, but they were, including those in the smaller state conventions. You can look at it from a perspective that SBC help in those areas is "buying" the support they get, but that's an insult to the missionary personnel who are committed to ministry. I have the opportunity each summer to work with some of those folks, and "buying support" is the last thing they're interested in doing.
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Re: SBC State Annual Meetings Etc...

Postby Ed Pettibone » Fri Oct 31, 2014 11:38 am

Ed: Sandy where has Jerry suggested that SBC Missionaries with boots on the ground do the buying. Many of them are fine people who have in my experience working with the Home Mission board (old name but 97 % transitioned agency in 1990 ) have been duped into swallowing the Top leadership's blather. Some simply hold their nose and attempt honest ministry. Since the take over of the seminaries was finalized with the retirement of Roy Honeycutt in 92 A generation or more of newly minted seminarians raised on the half truths and huge chunks of downright misinformation regarding SBC history are finding "mission" work in so called unreached or under churched areas subsidized by the convention to pay better than many of the available charges open to newbies in the traditional SBC territory.
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Re: SBC State Annual Meetings Etc...

Postby Sandy » Fri Oct 31, 2014 11:52 am

Are you suggesting that the SBC uses NAMB and its mission money to buy the support of messengers and leaders of smaller state conventions? If so, then they are sure wasting a lot of money and time on missions and ministry.

I know there is a compelling perspective among those who find themselves on the opposite side of the conservative resurgence and its history in the SBC to find some reason for what they incorrectly term as "the takeover", other than just the simple fact that the people in the pew were tired of patronizing, self-appointed prominents who were leading the SBC down the same path to liberalism that other denominations were already going, but accusing the convention as a whole, and the state conventions, of being "bought" is ridiculous and unproveable.
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Re: SBC State Annual Meetings Etc...

Postby William Thornton » Fri Oct 31, 2014 2:39 pm

Ed Pettibone wrote:Since the take over of the seminaries was finalized with the retirement of Roy Honeycutt in 92 A generation or more of newly minted seminarians raised on the half truths and huge chunks of downright misinformation regarding SBC history are finding "mission" work in so called unreached or under churched areas subsidized by the convention to pay better than many of the available charges open to newbies in the traditional SBC territory.


Work in less churched areas of the country is a route for younger grads and NAMB supports planters better than on the past; however, support I'd still temporary and has certain performance parameters. In the past NAMB would pay a portion of many DOMs and centralized state staffers indefinitely, regardless of the effectiveness of these people in establishing and growing churches. If anything, there is less of a chance today for those permanent, paid position unless there is demonstrable success.

Things are different than in 1992 or even than 2012 in this regard. State conventions in areas heavily churched (like Georgia) receive no kickback NAMB dollars. Those in areas with a very low church/population ratio receive proportionately more funding but have church planting goals that must be met.

I think Sandy and Jerry to both be right. NAMB provides most of the funding for some states.
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