In a previous article concerning the convention I covered the motion that I raised concerning social drinking. Since that time the Biblical Recorder has released an article concerning my motion and a motion on the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 becoming our doctrinal parameters. What is interesting is the Baptist Faith and Message motion only gets minimal press coverage and the resolution affirming the Great Commission Task Force Report made by fellow pastor and blogger Brent Hobbs, took a 2/3 majority to get to the floor then passed overwhelmingly has seemingly received little to no press coverage. Be that as it may I would like to conclude my report on the convention by assessing the directions discussed and the results of the votes at this year’s convention.
First, we will have a shorter meeting next year.
It is apparent that we need a shorter meeting. What does that mean for certain things? Will that mean that the Pastor’s Conference will end at noon on Monday and the convention begin at 2:00pm? Does that mean that the “break out” sessions will take the same route of the CBF-NC–no longer a part of the annual convention? I understand the need for a shorter meeting as Wednesday morning’s session is populated by the same people that populate a crime scene–only necessary personnel. On Wednesday morning this year, according to the schedule, we saw the WMU–10 minutes; Board of Directors–20 minutes; Baptist Foundation–5 minutes; Baptist Hospital-5 minutes; and then three committees reported–30 minutes. Of course if one adds up the time it took for those reports, one will find a total time of 1 hours and 10 minutes. If one observes the schedule for the Break Out sessions one will find 1 hour and 15 minutes for that time. Thus, we do have the room in the current format to schedule the Wednesday AM business for Tuesday afternoon.
Of course, then one runs across the problem of the Tuesday evening session. How many messengers will return from supper to hear 55 minutes of music; a 10 minute Theme Interpretation; a 20 minute Convention Leadership Emphasis; and then a 40 minute sermon? When most people can leave Greensboro at 5 pm and be sitting in their homes at 7 pm and watching it on live stream. Some may think that we can schedule business for that session. Well, not exactly. According to the Bylaws Article I. C. 5. b. (v) there is to be nothing new that “directs the convention or committing funds” to come before the convention in the last session. Of course I could be wrong on this account because this section does deal with allowing messengers a chance to place business before the convention. So, if a Board of Directors report, say like the Budget, is scheduled for Tuesday evening that may not be viewed as “new” business.
One other item the convention, has I am sure, taken into consideration is the fact of scheduling with the Koury Center. I know that the convention uses some of its operating funds to buy down the room rates when they are blocking off the rooms. I was able to stay in the Sheraton which is connected to the Koury Center for $90 per night. That is the amount I will pay at a Hampton Inn which is a couple of blocks away. The convenience of leaving the meeting and going back to my room for some down time was great. However, in order to do this the convention has to guarantee so many rooms for so many nights. Going to the two day schedule may hinder that bargaining tool.
Second, how long is “a protracted period” of time?
Brother Milton Hollifield, our Executive Director/Treasurer, gave a rousing address on Monday evening. I must say his passion about his subject is refreshing. One cannot be around Brother Milton long without sensing his heart for reaching the lost. Brother Milton passionately expressed his desire to reach the lost around the world and also expressed his desire to maintain a closer partnership with the Southern Baptist Convention. He delineated a clear difference between the functions of the state convention and the national one. He also expressed his desire to make certain that various ministries remained. Brother Milton went so far as to say that he would not be persuaded to stop ministries he felt were what God was leading NC Baptist. His charge is clear, he seems to think he decides what ministries NC Baptist perform and the ones they do not. While I understand Brother Milton is our Executive Director/Treasurer, I also understand he is not our Pastor. Brother Milton, as Executive Director/Treasurer does not set the mandate for the BSCNC he carries it out. Huge difference in what he was addressing in his report.
One other thing that Brother Milton addressed was his desire to start moving toward a 50/50 split in CP funds. It was only 2 years ago that the BSCNC agreed to move to a 40/60 split. My question concerning Brother Milton’s address on this issue has to do with procedure as much as anything else. Will there be a vote of the convention concerning this move or is it a mandate handed down from the ivory tower in Cary? When did the Executive Director/Treasurer begin instructing the convention on the split of the funds? I thought that was a convention-wide decision not the decision of an Executive Director/Treasurer. Even in Kentucky their convention placed together a task force in order to make a decision such as this. Kentucky began with a 7 year protracted period and before the morning session began, the committee changed that time period to 10 years. So, my suggestion to Brother Milton would be one of being very slow about making decisions for the convention that the convention should make for him to carry out.
Third, what will be the outcome of the motions on alcohol and BF&M2000?
To me, these motions are no brainers. The Board of Directors will debate these two motions and make a decision based on the will of the messengers. Please note that the lack of someone speaking against either of these motions and then the nearly majority vote on both set a clear precedence. The motions should come back from the Board of Directors as policies and parameters that NC Baptist hold. The only argument I have heard against the alcohol motion has more to do with necessity than it does with right or wrong. As I explained on the floor, it isn’t that we have problems with social drinking in the employment, or church planting, or those serving on boards and committees. This problem is beginning to inundate the conversations and the attitudes of many Southern Baptist Pastors and we need to be proactive on this instead of reactive. As one deacon would always say in my first church; “it is too late to close the barn door when the cow is out.”
Next years annual meeting will be an interesting one as well as a well attended one. It will be interesting to see how the argument is framed concerning the reason we should not have a policy on social drinking. It is also going to be an interesting argument concerning the reasons we do not need the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 as our doctrinal parameters. I plan to be at the first Board of Directors meeting to hear how they receive this motion also. But, until then I look forward to being back at the 2011 North Carolina Baptist State Convention.