Upcoming Southern Baptist Convention

Soon, thousands of Baptists from all across the nation will gather in Phoenix, Arizona, for the next Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting. It will be a jam-packed two days of meetings, presentations, sermons, and more. Dr. Steve Gaines will be nominated, and, most likely, re-elected as president of the Convention for his second year. Many items will be considered. Each of the entities will give reports and present vision for the days ahead.

I love the meetings and dread them at the same time. One of the things I love is getting to see many friends whom I have not seen since last year. I, too, worship as powerful music is being presented and am encouraged and challenged by the great messages. I encourage everyone to make attending Southern Baptist Convention meetings a priority.

I am often asked the question about electronic voting and/or virtual conventions. We do look at all of these things for possible alternatives in the future. I am well aware that we might be able to save money in the days ahead if we were to have some kind of electronic convention. We are always looking at ways to do better that which we do and to streamline efficiencies. We want to be effective and efficient in the twenty-first century!

However, there is something about being with fellow believers in a time of annual convention gathering. Just as most people would prefer not to have a church meeting over the internet, most people realize the great benefits of gathering together for convention meetings as well. What are some of the things that happen?

There is a great deal of information which is presented. Yes, that can be done electronically, but it is also powerful to be present when someone shares their heart, vision, and strategy for the days ahead. Many of our entities and agencies find this to be the very best time to share their work with God’s people.

It is also a time of great encouragement. Yes, that can happen as we listen to a sermon or watch a video presentation, but there is also something very special about hearing a pastor preach and seeing some of God’s great servants in pastors’ conferences and convention meetings share the Word of God! It is a time of great encouragement.

It is also a time of accountability. Many years ago, Baptists set up a system of accountability that includes reports at the annual convention. It is still the largest annual deliberative assembly on the North American continent. People still can make motions or ask questions from microphones and expect honest and transparent answers.

Interestingly, the Executive Committee began one hundred years ago in New Orleans, Louisiana, in a May annual meeting. It was established to help provide coordination among the Boards and coordinate fund raising for the Convention’s growing work. Even today, the Executive Committee exists to help do the very same thing. Part of what we do is help provide accountability to the messengers and churches of our Convention.

I am excited about soon going to Phoenix for the upcoming meeting. I hope that you will be there. If you cannot come, please pray for us and watch online to see what God is doing.

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