Some Thoughts on the BSCNC

I didn't go the the state convention in person this year, but did get to watch a lot of the event via webcast. Sarah and I went last year and really enjoyed the meeting, the people we met, and the time together. This year we went to the SBC in Louisville, so didn't want to spend the money to attend a second convention in the same year.

That said, I'm really glad for the ability to watch what was taking place. It was also fun to use twitter to update and give some thoughts on the event as it occured, which I probably wouldn't have done if I had been there in person. You can see tweets about the convention by going to and searching for #bscnc09 or just click here.

Here are a few of my thoughts about the convention so far...

1. The convention messages I heard were good. I really appreciate the themes and emhases we heard from Milton Hollifield, Rick Speas, Danny Akin, and others. You can tell they have a heart for bringing gospel-centered renewal to our churches. I am happy about the direction of the BSCNC if these messages reflect who we really are.

2. The church planting commissioning service was a breath of fresh air for one main reason. I'm thankful for church planting work, but it wasn't exactly that. It was the fact that there were several black church planters, and hispanic church planters, and some from other ethnicities as well. As the group stood on stage, it reflected the kind of racial diversity I wish our whole convention and our churches had.

3. The financial aspect of the convention stands out as well. There had to be significant budget cuts this year because of declining giving from churches. There are several reasons for this decline in giving. Some is due to the economy, no doubt. I expect some churches stopped giving when the option was taken away last year to direct funds to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (the moderate/liberal baptist convention). I also imagine some churches have been directing their giving around the state convention. All this equals a budget that needed to be about $5 million smaller than what was expected income for 2008.

Even in the midst of many budget cuts (and even some staff layoffs!, a terrible but probably necessary step) the budget included an increase in the percentage of funds being forwarded to the national level. For the last five years the BSCNC has increased by half a percentage point the amount that goes to the SBC. It doesn't take a math genius to see that means the state convention gets less. They stood by that goal, showing it is a priority, and for that they are to be greatly commended.

4. J. D. Greear's absence really stands out in my mind for some reason. I'm not sure where he was. He may have attended and was never invited to the platform. Maybe he was at the Acts 29 meeting going on this week. It seems to me that the BSC leadership would have going out of their way (and they may have) to make sure J. D. was a part of this meeting. Is the convention serious about attracting young pastors? I have to say that, looking at the platform, it doesn't seem to be a priority. It's nothing about J. D. personally, he's representative of the kind of leader that might cause young pastors to participate. Last year, I was planning on not attending until I heard Mark Dever would be preaching the convention sermon. That alone made me make the trip. Now, like I said above, I enjoyed the convention and there were a lot of good things about it, but there was one thing that got me "out of my seat" and it was the chance to hear someone like Mark Dever speak to a group like the BSCNC.

5. I was glad to hear the positive allusions to GCR Task Force. Several speakers mentioned that work either directly or indirectly. Most, if not all, seemed to be affirming and not antagonistic to the work going on.

6. Officer elections are a mere formality. Most are uncontested. We have very little information about any of the nominees. We hear a two or three minute speech that tells us how many kids they have, they are great husbands, and their churches are really growing. Even when there is more than one nominee, I would have no idea which to vote for.

If these elections are meaningless, then there's no problem here. Move on folks, nothing to see! But if there is actually something important for us to know about these nominees or which direction they would like to see the convention move, we really need a way to know about that. And sooner than 30 seconds before the vote. This really does need to be changed, IMHO.

7. This is still one big business meeting. Sure there are a few sermons, music, and breakout sessions to spice it up a little, but the purpose of this meeting is to debate and vote on things. Someone on twitter was ripping the convention meeting because it was boring. He said our churches would be in trouble if our worship services looked like the BSCNC meeting. Well he's right - except for the fact that the BSCNC is not a worship service.

Voting on bylaw changes is boring, yes. But it needs to be done and this is the only place to do it. The leadership has done a good job of providing listening sessions at other times so questions can be answered and the main session is as short as possible.

That's something that could be changed in the future. We could make the main meeting more of a conference type event with the business sessions sidelined. Or maybe we could stop "decorating" the business sessions with music at the beginning and end. Have a cut and dry business time, and then a more intentional worship time. There are some possibilities - but there is a lot of business to get done and not much time to do it. Maybe some of us just need to grow up and realize sometimes boring stuff is necessary. Just don't criticize a business meeting for being a business meeting.

From my computer screen, it looked like a good meeting and convention. I hope the priorities of our churches will reflect the things we heard about and saw on the platform.

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