Alabama joins the nearly 20 state conventions adapting or not holding an annual meeting in 2020. A special online State Missions Celebration will take place on Nov. 17, however.
The executive committee of the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions made the decision today (Sept. 10) during a special-called meeting. The committee was authorized to make the decision during an Aug. 14 regularly scheduled meeting of the State Board.
In a statement released by Rick Lance, executive director of the State Board of Missions, and Tim Cox, president of the Alabama Baptist State Convention, the leaders explained the unanimous decision was made “after months of careful and prayerful consideration of the effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in our state. … The decision was made after receiving input from the medical community and from our legal counsel.”
IMB Sending Celebration
The 2020 annual meeting had been scheduled for Nov. 17–18 at First Baptist Church, Montgomery, and was to include an International Mission Board Sending Celebration.
IMB president Paul Chitwood, who was scheduled to speak during the Tuesday evening session of the annual meeting, said the Sending Celebration would still take place but would be switched to a virtual celebration, much like what they did earlier this year, also because of COVID-19 concerns.
“The primary reason we wanted to host the Sending Celebration in Montgomery is that Rick Lance, the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions and its member churches are among the most generous supporters of the cooperative mission work of Southern Baptists and, of course, the IMB,” Chitwood noted. “The pandemic may have stopped an in-person gathering this year but, due to the ongoing support of Alabama Baptists and Southern Baptists across the country, the mission to make disciples of all nations has not and will not pause.”
Also being adapted is the Alabama Baptist Pastors Conference, which traditionally takes place the day prior to the annual meeting.
Nathan Daniels, president of this year’s pastors conference, announced the conference will continue as scheduled on Nov. 16, but it will take place virtually with no in-person gathering.
“In agreement with the executive committee of the State Board of Missions, there will not be an in-person gathering for the Alabama Baptist Pastors Conference this year,” said Daniels, lead pastor of Bethany Baptist Church, Andalusia. “In an effort to lower the risk of spreading COVID-19, we will move all the sermons to an online format. … We invite any and all Alabama Baptist pastors to view all the speakers and sermons as they premiere on Monday, Nov. 16, 2020. Tune in online as our line-up of speakers will preach on the same theme of ‘One Another.’ I am confident God will still move powerfully through these sermons and preachers.”
Find more information and access to the online pastors conference here.
The virtual State Missions Celebration will follow the next day, Nov. 17, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., but no business will be included.
Links to State Missions Celebration and IMB Sending Celebration will be available soon.
What about officers and board members?
“In accordance with our state convention bylaws, no acts of business will be transacted at this time, such as voting on a budget or election of officers,” according to the statement released by Lance and Cox, senior pastor of Liberty Baptist Church, Chelsea.
“Legal counsel Jim Guenther has assured us that our current state convention officers and State Board of Missions officers can remain serving until the 2021 annual meeting. Additionally, the trustees and commissioners of boards and commissions, as well as state convention committees, will remain in their current positions until the 2021 state convention meeting.”
Officers and commissioners of individual boards of trustees that are not voted on by convention messengers will be able to rotate on the routine schedule, but any position or action that requires the vote of convention messengers will remain as is until the next time convention messengers meet, which is now set for November 2021.
If you have questions about how this affects your group or work, contact the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions at 800-264-1225.