Puryear ‘disappointed’ with SBC EC decision
    September 24 2010 by Baptist Press

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) Executive Committee (EC) unanimously declined Sept. 21 to recommend that Baptist Press be made a separate entity, and instead affirmed a 1982 study on the matter that reached the same conclusion.

    In its fall meeting the Executive Committee also declined to advance motions referred to it by action of the SBC meeting in annual session in June.

    It declined to recommend a proposed amendment to Article VI of the Convention’s constitution which would have required that each committee and board’s membership meet a quota based on church size. The motion was brought by Les Puryear, pastor of Lewisville Baptist Church and an advocate for more small church representation on SBC boards and agencies.

    The Executive Committee is “satisfied that the Committee on Committees and Committee on Nominations are sensitive to and seek to attain the balance sought by the maker of the motion.” The difficulty of administrating the quota system, EC members said, would outweigh the benefit and might defeat the goal of seeking the best possible person for each position.

    Puryear “was disappointed in the ruling.”

    “It was obvious to me the decision had been made before the meeting ever took place,” he said after the meeting.

    He said the Executive Committee rationale included two objections: that quotas would limit the number of “good people” available for trustees positions, and that small church leaders would have neither time nor money to attend the required meetings.

    “To say that getting more people from the majority of our churches would reduce the number of ‘good people’ available is an insult to the majority of our churches,” Puryear said.

    As to the time and money issue, Puryear said, “We have more than 30,000 (small) churches. I think we could find a couple hundred people who would have time and money to attend.” He promised to “continue my quest to get more equitable representation for small churches” in the SBC.

    The Executive Committee also:
    • declined to amend the SBC constitution to expand the definition of friendly cooperation to include “racial discrimination” as a disqualifier for churches wishing to cooperate with the convention.
    • declined to adopt the U.S. Christian flag known as Beauty and Band as the banner flag of the Southern Baptist Convention. The Executive Committee said “a Christian flag already exists that is widely recognized and used by Christians in the United States and around the world.”
    • received as information a Cooperative Program Budget report for the 2009-10 fiscal year showing $145,520,420 has been received through the third quarter, representing a decrease of $5,063,463 or 3.36 percent when compared to the same period last year.
    • approved a 2010-11 SBC Operating Budget in the amount of $8,643,951. The budget includes a $70,000 reduction in the amount budgeted for Global Evangelical Relations and a $208,750 reduction in funds for Empowering Kingdom Growth.
    The rationale is that the Executive Committee wanted Frank Page, president-elect of the Executive Committee, to have freedom in deciding whether to continue GER and EKG. Reserve funds are available to supplement the budgets of those two ministries, the Executive Committee said, if Page decides to continue them.
    • recommended that the convention planning process of the Executive Committee “continue the concentrated effort to obtain the option for messengers to purchase multi-day parking passes through the convention center or parking facility” related to SBC annual meetings.
    • declined due to printing logistics to recommend a change to the format of the SBC Book of Reports that would list trustee and committee members’ churches and what percentage the churches give through the Cooperative Program.
    The Book of Reports goes to the printer in mid-May and work of the Committee on Nominations continues through the first week of June, so it is “impossible to include the requested information.” The Executive Committee did, though, encourage the SBC Committee on Nominations “to consider the level of Cooperative Program support for each nominee.”

    Baptist Press
    The Executive Committee again considered the motion that Baptist Press, the SBC’s news service, be formed as a separate entity. Baptist Press currently is part of the Executive Committee.

    Members decided “the conclusions derived from a study of the structure of Baptist Press in 1982” that were affirmed in 1987 “are still considered valid, and therefore the Executive Committee desires that Baptist Press continue to operate as an integral part of the ministry assignment of the Executive Committee.”

    Executive Committee member Martin Davis said his research showed that setting up Baptist Press as a separate entity like the Southern Baptist Foundation would cost an additional $3 million per year.

    The Executive Committee also adopted resolutions of appreciation for David Baldwin and Michael Collins, who are retiring as executive directors of the Alaska Baptist Convention and the Baptist State Convention of Michigan, respectively.      
    9/24/2010 5:44:00 AM by Baptist Press | with 16 comments




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10/4/2010 12:17:40 PM

aaron
I agree that we need more small church involvement in many of our committees. But I'm not convinced that deciding against an enforced quota is the same as deciding against small church involvement.
9/27/2010 10:41:11 PM

Gene Scarborough
WOW!!!! This string of comments tells me we are getting it!!!

If our democratic processes shut out small churches / use "saving money" over "telling truth" / allow the EC to override requests from the SBC annual meeting, itself / defer to the new CEO and his outlook----we are clearly showing we no longer care what messengers really think nor are we primarily focused by giving on sending missionaries.

[i]Control seems to be the real issue / who controls (big churches or a vast number of little ones)are the basis of this article.[/i]

[b]Just what is the SBC really????[/b]

A large and rich organization trying to control the local church and its giving / a place where money can be sent to fund missions mostely?????

It may be too simple for the average reader to grasp, but I think we are grasping it!!!!
9/27/2010 11:47:58 AM

Brent Hobbs
It wouldn't take discussion in any meeting for people to know that quotas for nominees is a bad idea. I'm glad to see that one thrown under the bus.

I am disappointed about them declining to recommend the racism clause. When they added the clause that says, "Among churches not in cooperation with the Convention are churches which act to affirm, approve, or endorse homosexual behavior."... (Which I am happy to see in the constitution) they opened the door to making prominent moral issues a standard of cooperation. I think racism certainly rises to the level of seriousness that it could be included, and the SBC should be able to vote on the question.

One could argue that it would be difficult to enforce, and that would be true. But even if it is never able to be enforced, it is still a worthy statement to include because it would emphasize the seriousness with which we take the issue.
9/26/2010 9:18:56 PM

Cyrus B. Fletcher
Once again the EC has demonstrated just how far the economic/political structure and philosophical patterns of modern American culture have invaded and determined the thinking and actions of far too many of our church leaders. Mega churches and more and more the SBC are built on a business necessity pattern rather than a Biblical pattern. A New Testament church and a Biblically based convention and/association is not and should not be a copy of Exxon-Mobil, especially in its philosophy, government, and actions. And I think that is more than just my opinion; it is sound Biblical interpretation! Cyrus B. Fletcher, Baytown, TX
9/26/2010 6:41:50 PM

Greg Barefoot
Cooperation - an act or instance of working or acting together for a common purpose or benefit; joint action. If this convention continues to alienate and ignore the voice and work of the small churches, they will need more "cooperation" from the "mega" churches to survive. Brother Les should not be suprised by the response of the EC. I would encourage our new Executive Director, Dr. Page, to help in restoring the rift between our SBC and the small churches of the SBC.
9/24/2010 9:17:56 PM

Bill Tomlinson
Les Puryear is exactly right in his comments. I too, think the decision was made before the committee ever discussed it.
9/24/2010 5:12:47 PM

Gene Scarborough
[b]Mostly---blah / blah /blah!![/b]

What concernes me most is the refusal to incorporate small churches into the picture of SBC decision-making. [b]This is terribly dangerous!!![/b] I am confident that, just like paying taxes, the [b]small to middle entity pays the freight in reality[/b]. Yet, mega church representatives are raising their hands to say how money is spent.

Make no bones about itd: [b]The heart of any decisions and actions by the SBC reside in the Executive Committee----MORE AND MORE![/b] The same is true in our NCBSC decisions. By and large, the annual meeting--which used to have a strong say--is being given the opportunity to "rubber stamp" decisions discussed behind closed doors and really decided by the Executive Committee.

[i]Keep all things Baptist public / well covered by a free press / plenty of time at the Business Session part of the NCBSC meeting anual meeting---and you will have a group of churches saying, "I had my say / the majority ruled / I now will decide if I want to cooperate and support this with our church's finances.[/i]

Should we continue this march toward a few controlling the many, we will have seen our better days. If that "few" is pretty much from the mega churches, we have really missed the boat.

Sadly, it will be the end of many churces cooperating together to keep missionaries in the field. Outside of that purpose, there is little reason for all this trouble about "who runs the SBC show.

In my opinion, of course.
9/24/2010 1:42:05 PM

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