The following are news summaries from the 2019 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Birmingham:
McCullar joins Floyd on stage
Ten-year-old Zak McCullar from First Baptist Church, Carbon Hill, has become popular among Baptists after his appearance at Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) annual meetings two years in a row. During the June 2019 meeting in Birmingham, Executive Committee President Ronnie Floyd invited Zak to join him on the stage prior to messengers voting to add a Children’s Ministry Day to the SBC calendar the third Sunday in July through 2023. ‘Zak, think about it … it was your heart and your vision that did that,’ Floyd said, referring to Zak’s 2018 introduction of the motion to create the day.
SBC messengers adopt $196.5 million budget
During the Executive Committee (EC) report messengers approved a 2019–2020 Cooperative Program Allocation Budget of $196,500,000 and a 2019–2020 EC and SBC Operating Budget of $7,700,000.
Messengers also approved appointing an ad hoc committee to develop and provide more comprehensive trustee training and adding language to the organization manual that states:
“Entity administrators should reinforce with their trustees the principle that entity trustees are to represent the interests of the entire convention as well as those of the entity.”
Resolutions in appreciation of Chuck Kelley and Thom Rainer also were adopted and presented during the EC report. (TAB)
LifeWay Stores can’t pay for themselves
LifeWay Christian Resources’ acting CEO Brad Waggoner shared with messengers the organization’s financial realities and difficult decision to close the LifeWay Christian Stores retail chain.
“At the close of 2018, LifeWay Stores had more than $19 million in losses for the year,” Waggoner reported, noting the trend started downward in 2014.
“Over the past five years the total retail losses we’ve covered from revenue-generating ministry channels reached nearly $50 million.”
The prediction was for nearly $60 million in losses by 2021 and that led to what Waggoner called one of the most difficult decisions in LifeWay’s 128-year history.
Trying to cover the losses became “unreasonable, irresponsible and unsustainable,” Waggoner said. (TAB)
IMB report offers encouraging statistics on international missions
Every church, no matter its size, has a role to play in sending the gospel to the nations.
That was the message International Mission Board (IMB) President Paul Chitwood shared with messengers in his IMB report June 11 during the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Birmingham.
“We have 174 years working together to get the gospel to the nations,” he said. “We are working so that people from around the world will be joining us at the throne.”
Chitwood gave examples of ways IMB missionaries and ministries — supported by Southern Baptists — are impacting the world.
- IMB’s Bible translation project for southeast Asia is halfway to being fully funded.
- Missionaries in Europe have seen the most fruitful three years in the last three decades.
- Because of the devastating cyclones that have hit unreached people groups missionaries who were once shut out of certain countries have been allowed in to help with relief work.
- In South Asia a church was burned to the ground by a woman against Christianity. Soon after the woman asked for prayer because someone in her family was diagnosed with cancer. God healed the family member and she became a believer, even donating land to build a new church building.
“Southern Baptists alone can’t lead everyone to Christ,” Chitwood said. “The only way God will accomplish a great multitude from every nation standing before His throne is if people go ahead sharing what they have heard from us.” (Jessica Ingram)
North American Mission Board report highlights ‘Who’s Your One?’ initiative
If 10 percent of church attenders in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) decided to pray for and see one person come to Christ over the next year, Southern Baptists would record the highest number of baptisms in the history of the SBC.
Johnny Hunt shared that statistic during the North American Mission Board’s (NAMB) presentation at the SBC’s annual meeting to underscore the importance of the “Who’s Your One?” evangelism initiative. Hunt serves as senior vice president of evangelism and leadership at NAMB.
Who’s Your One headlined NAMB’s time on stage June 11 during the annual meeting of the SBC in Birmingham. (Baptist Press)
Rummage delivers convention sermon, declares Calvary ‘hill worth proclaiming’
Oklahoma pastor Stephen Rummage proclaimed the power and promises Christians have in Jesus Christ “because of the cross” in the convention sermon at the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting June 12.
Every person “is on one side of the cross or the other — the lost side or the saved side,” Rummage emphasized.
“If you are on the lost side God loves you and wants to save you,” said Rummage, pastor of Quail Springs Baptist Church, Oklahoma City. “If you are on the saved side God has given you a sacred trust and message to proclaim.”
Underscoring the apostle Paul’s teaching in Colossians 2, Rummage highlighted what God accomplished through the death of Jesus Christ on the cross.
Rummage also emphasized standing for the matters of highest importance.
“For Jesus, Calvary was a hill worth dying on. For us, it is a hill worth living on. It is a hill worth proclaiming,” he said. (BP)
Three motions proposed by Alabama Baptists; five motions ruled out of order
Referred to all SBC entities:
Requesting each entity report on their efforts to address abuse.
- Consider modernizing the nomination process and technology for the SBC’s boards and committees.
- Comprehensive report be given at the 2020 annual meeting on the progress of 12 recommendations adopted by the SBC in 2011 for expanding ethnic participation.
- Amend the SBC’s business and financial plan to strengthen the fiscal accountability of the entities.
- Update Baptist Faith & Message (BF&M) 2000 to include a 19th statement: “God will restore National Israel like Romans 11 says and bring about a reunion with her neighbors in the Middle East.”
- Allow senior pastors to vote for SBC officers electronically.
- Amend BF&M 2000 Article 6 to state, “While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office and function of the pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.”
- Create an official statement regarding the social gospel.
- A day of special emphasis and prayer for the persecuted church.
- George Liele Evangelism, Church Planting, and Missions Day.
- Help churches with funding for the investigation of sexual abuse.
Committee on Order of Business:
- Honor BF&M 2000, conservative resurgence, its leaders at 2020 SBC.
- A motion by David Haynes of First Baptist Church, Center Point, requesting the study of birth control’s effect on a conceived child.
- Provide trauma counseling for survivors of abuse.
- Equip churches to minister to groups promoting sexual immorality of various types and prepare for “attacks on the pulpit.”
- A motion by David Hobson of Mud Creek Association to fund second staff member for bivocational and/or small churches.
- Include a gospel presentation in each children’s student guide.
- Lawful recovery of school property that may have been removed from president’s home.
Ruled out of order:
- Full text of IMB’s May 29, 2019, Sexual Abuse Examination.
- Recording secretary to be nonvoting member of SBC EC.
- ERLC to study how to promote abolition of human abortion.
- Council of Seminary Presidents make the most recent BF&M the only doctrinal statement faculty is required to sign.
- A motion by Morgan Bush of Morningside Baptist Church, Huntsville, was ruled out of order because it was in the nature of a resolution. His motion requested churches consider the impact of pornography and take ‘vigorous action to meet and defeat the effect of pornography.’ (TAB, BP)
Messengers take wording of resolutions seriously, adopt all 13 proposed to them
Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) messengers did not allow the late afternoon fatigue from a long day of meeting deter them. They wanted to discuss at least 10 of the 13 proposed resolutions and patiently waited their turns at a microphone.
In the end four proposed amendments failed while three passed but the passion for which everyone at the microphones shared was applauded by SBC President J.D. Greear.
The amendments that passed added a phrase or Scripture to what was already prepared. They did not change the nature of the resolution.
Resolutions Committee chairman Curtis Woods said the committee spent about 35 hours thinking about the dialogue and editing.
“Every resolution was prayed over as well as each person who submitted a resolution,” he said, noting 16 resolutions were submitted properly, 10 were declined and seven were generated by the committee.
“I firmly believe these resolutions will glorify the only true and living God,” he said. “We as a committee stand by these resolutions.”
Resolutions approved were:
- On abortion — the messengers applauded the recent enactment of state laws to restrict or prohibit abortion and called for the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse Roe v. Wade.
- On the “evil of sexual abuse” — which condemned and lamented all such abuse and called on churches and institutions to establish a safe culture for survivors and to guard against and confront abuse.
- On religious persecution — pray for the end of persecution in China and North Korea and urge religious freedom as a “top priority.”
- On critical race theory and intersectionality — affirmed the Bible as “the first, last and sufficient authority” regarding how the church tries to amend social evils and said critical race theory and intersectionality should only be used in submission to Scripture.
- The resolution describes critical race theory as a set of tools to explain how race functions in society and intersectionality as the study of how various characteristics overlap.
- On local church autonomy and accountability — reaffirmed the doctrine of autonomy under Christ’s lordship and rejected its use as a way to conceal sins of those in the church who are guilty of abuse.
- On sexuality and personal identity — which urged Christians who battle same-sex attraction “to forsake any self-conception or personal identity that is contrary to God’s good and holy purposes in creation and redemption” and commended the “faithful witness” of such disciples who walk in obedience to Jesus.
- On “mission advance” — in which messengers promised to oppose “a divisive spirit” and to develop a “cooperative culture.”
- On biblical justice — where messengers committed to respond to injustices by gospel proclamation, advocacy for oppressed people, acting with justice personally and demanding that “spheres of society” function righteously, truthfully and lovingly.
- On cultural awareness — which encouraged the convention’s seminaries, entities and churches to enable pastors to understand “how culture and contexts shape ministry methods and strategies.”
- On selective service — which advocated against drafting women to military service.
- On opposing human germline editing — which called on Congress and international policy makers to make it unfundable and illegal.
- On political engagement — urged a commitment to Christ over a political party.
- On appreciation to God and all who helped with this year’s meeting.
(TAB, Baptist Press contributed)
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