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