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Friday, June 22, 2007

San Antonio Convention in Review Part 5

Here are some of my thoughts on my second Convention:

1. I thought the turnout was small. I believe Greensboro, North Carolina had a little less than 12,000 messengers. The 2007 San Antonio had fewer than 9,000. I figured since "everything is bigger in Texas," there would be a significant turnout. I believe those who organized the Convention thought so as well. I heard early on from one person who said they were expecting around 14,000 messengers. I am not sure what to think about next year's Convention in Indianapolis. One side of me thinks if significant debate continues then the turnout might be high because of the Presidential vote. However, Indiana is not the South. The state of Indiana tallied 73 messengers in San Antonio.

2. There was early debate over a definition recommended titled Definition of the Cooperative Program of the Southern Baptist Convention. The recommended definition reads: The Cooperative Program is a Southern Baptists' unified plan of giving through which cooperating Southern Baptist churches give a percentage of their undesignated receipts in support of their respective state convention and the Southern Baptist Convention missions and ministries. After some debate, the motion passed.

Many have asked the question that if we give directly to the National Convention entities such as the Seminaries, IMB, and NAMB through designated receipts instead of giving it through our state convention, then why can it not be counted as CP contributions? Many churches are unsatisfied with state conventions taking a majority share of the CP, and sending a lesser share to the National Convention.

Currently, our church gives 10% of its undesignated yearly receipts to the Cooperative Program through the South Carolina Baptist Convention. We also give an additional 1.5% to both the IMB and NAMB. However, since this money is designated, it does not count towards Cooperative Program contributions. Jon Akin has written a good article addressing this issue, titled Defining, Defending, or De-funding the CP.

3. While 8,618 messengers registered in San Antonio, only a small percentage voted in the elections. During the 1st Vice Presidential vote, only 3143 voted. Likewise during the 2nd Vice Presidential vote, only 2841 voted. Perhaps the most telling vote was over the Baptist Faith & Message 2000 vote (which I'll address later). For as much controversy and debate it received, only 3702 messengers voted. It certainly does not appear that many people even cared enough to show up for votes.

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