My Rashionale — SBC 2019 second largest Birmingham-area convention ever

So many angles, so many topics — we could have easily produced a 32-page issue with coverage from the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) annual meeting like we did for the exclusive publication available at the meeting.

However, we decided to touch on the main highlights in this issue, which by the way went to press less than 48 hours after the final gavel, and then share expanded coverage on select topics in the coming weeks.

If you are interested in a topic coming out of the meeting that isn’t covered be sure to let us know.

One interesting tidbit during the June 11–12 meeting in Birmingham is that one-third of SBC entities had new presidents who delivered their first reports to messengers in those roles. 

The new leaders are Ronnie Floyd, Executive Committee; Paul Chitwood, International Mission Board; Adam Greenway, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; and Jamie Dew, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

Those pointing out the new leaders forgot to mention the freshmen class of state Baptist editors covering the annual meeting. I’m sure our names were on the list and time ran short (ha) or it could have been that we don’t deliver reports (most likely the reason).

While the three of us new to the editor’s chair have covered SBC annual meetings for years, it was fun to experience it for the first time in our new roles — Scott Barkley, Georgia’s Christian Index; Seth Brown, North Carolina’s Biblical Recorder; and yours truly.

Managing the overall coverage can be a bit overwhelming because of all the moving parts. Along with the two-day business meeting, more than 125 related activities are taking place around the city. 

And of course there are hundreds of friends we must catch up with in the exhibit hall. 

I’m sure you wouldn’t guess I love that part — building relationships, networking and enjoying time to chat and fill up on lots of hugs.

But our job is to listen to all the reports, attempt to understand what is being said and look for what is not being said. 

From there we work to condense the content into accurate and clear summaries that are manageable to consume.

The sheer amount of information tossed out during the annual meeting sessions plus all the surrounding meetings and activities can easily overload the mind. It takes a team of writers, photographers and editors to work through it all.

I’m grateful for our TAB team as well as our colleagues in the press room who assist in pulling all of the information together. We love the opportunity to serve you in this way and work hard to keep you appropriately and consistently informed.

Our TAB team also appreciated the opportunity to join the overall Alabama Baptist team that assisted in bringing #sbc19 to the state, the first time it has been here since 1941.

Roughly 1,365 of the nearly 8,200 registered messengers in attendance were from Alabama. Reports also indicated nearly 2,000 guests and more than 1,800 exhibitors registered for the event, bringing the total attendance close to 12,000.

That means the 2019 SBC annual meeting was the second largest convention of any kind in Birmingham’s history. 

Stay tuned for reflections coming out of this year’s annual meeting including the move toward open dialogue on issues we are facing and an expanded role for women in SBC life.