Any nominations from the floor?
January 10 2003 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

Any nominations from the floor? | Friday, Jan. 10, 2003

Friday, Jan. 10, 2003

Any nominations from the floor?

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor

What does the future hold for the Baptist State Convention (BSC) of North Carolina? The answer, in large part, will be determined by those persons who are elected as members of the General Board and as trustees or directors of the state convention's institutions and agencies.

The time for impacting that future, for those who care, is now.

The BSC General Board's 100 or so members, along with trustees and directors of the institutions and agencies (from 16 to 48 each) serve rotating four-year terms, with one-fourth being elected annually by the convention in session.

Nominees brought to the convention are chosen by the Committee on Nominations, which begins the bulk of its work each March.

Each year, the committee solicits "nominations from the floor," by asking N.C. Baptists to recommend persons whom they believe would serve well on one of the various boards, preferably by Feb. 3.

And each year, the committee bemoans the small number of recommendations received, because they really would like to have maximum input from across the board of N.C. Baptist life.

The BSC bylaws, in fact, insist that the committee should work toward broad-spectrum representation in several categories, "assuring representation of churches of various sizes and types, a variety of professional and educational backgrounds, geographical areas, different age groups, and both lay persons and ministers" (section II.E.4.d.[3]).

Persons to be nominated should also be active church members and capable of providing stable, effective leadership, the bylaws say.

An earlier section notes that the committee should "give careful consideration to those who have been recommended" by the convention at large, and by the institutions and agencies.

Perhaps most significantly, the bylaws also instruct the committee to give careful consideration "to the fact that the trustees of each institution or agency are close to that institution or agency, have expert knowledge of its needs and possibilities, possess a deep interest and concern for the institution or agency, and know the men and women who can best serve the institution or agency" (section II.E.4.c.).

In other words, people nominated as board members for Baptist Children's Homes should be people who have a passion for children and who support that ministry. Nominees for the Baptist Retirement Homes board should be concerned about issues facing senior adults and committed to that institution's mission. Persons designated to serve the N.C. Baptist Foundation board should have a strong interest in good estate planning for the benefit of Baptist causes.

It would be ludicrous to elect college trustees who are not zealous advocates for Christian higher education and familiar with its many challenges. Likewise, it would be misguided to select directors for the Biblical Recorder who do not support its constitutional mandate "to maintain and safeguard the inalienable rights and privileges of a free press, these rights and privileges being consistent with the traditional Baptist emphasis upon the freedom, under Christ, of both the human spirit and Baptist churches" (Article IX.C.1.).

Some voices have argued for additional qualifications, insisting that all nominees should wear a single political/theological label. Others expect the committee to balance the proportion of "moderates" and "conservatives," based on their particular belief about what the relative proportions are.

It is worth noting that the BSC's constitution and bylaws have a lot to say about potential board member qualifications in a number of areas, but one's political/theological identity is not among them.

A more difficult problem with relying on one's political/theological stance as a primary qualification is that many good N.C. Baptists - probably, a majority of them - refuse to give themselves such labels, and don't want others applying them, either. While preachers, for the most part, have become increasingly polarized, many faithful lay members - who make up the vast majority of our BSC membership - remain content to think of themselves as "Christian" and "Baptist" without adding theological or political modifiers.

While various claims are made about the moderate/conservative makeup of the General Board, for example, I have observed that most of its members appear to be faithful N.C. Baptists who vote their convictions about what is best for God's work through the BSC, and have no particular allegiance to any faction.

That is as it should be. While it is appropriate for the boards to include both "identified" conservatives and moderates along with those who reject such labels, such diversity should occur naturally among those who otherwise qualify, and not as a primary criterion for selection.

Sometime between now and Feb. 3, I hope you will give careful thought to faithful and capable Baptists that you know, women and men who are committed to the work of the BSC and its related entities. Ask if they would be willing to serve. Write your recommendations on the appropriate forms and send them to the Committee on Nominations, who will indeed appreciate the input and give careful consideration to all suggestions.

Do you care about the BSC and its future?

That future begins today.

(NOTE - Recommendation forms were included in messengers' packets at the 2002 convention, and was printed in the Dec. 14 issue of the Biblical Recorder. Additional forms (which may be duplicated) may be requested by calling the BSC at (800) 395-5102 or (919) 467-5102, ext. 104, or by downloading directly from the convention website at www.bscnc.org. Click on "Would you like to make a nomination?" and follow the prompts.)

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1/10/2003 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments
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