Small church advocate Les Puryear, pastor of Lewisville Baptist Church, has launched the SBC Majority Initiative, an effort to increase the influence of small churches within the Southern Baptist Convention.
Puryear, a candidate for SBC president in 2008 who received 3.2 percent of the vote, has worked for years to elevate the status of small churches in a convention consisting overwhelmingly of small churches.
The SBC Majority Initiative is a movement to increase representation of those churches in decision making circles.
The most significant council currently at work in SBC life is the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force, a 23-member group primarily from the southeast that is studying SBC operations to find efficiencies that might free more money for international missions. It has one member from what Puryear would describe as a small church.
Lewisville averages 195 in worship attendance, although it is a church of more than 500 members and does not qualify as “small” by North Carolina Baptist standards. In North Carolina 55 percent of churches average 100 or fewer in worship attendance.
In announcing the launch of the SBC Majority Initiative, Puryear said 83.4 percent of SBC churches are “small” but small church members comprise only 22 percent of the membership on boards of SBC agencies.
“It is clear that the majority of the churches in the SBC are not equitably represented,” he said. “We believe it is time for the era of our convention of small churches being dominated by the minority of big churches to cease.”
He called small churches to action within the larger SBC framework and said such action will include offering bylaw changes and a full slate of SBC Majority candidates for SBC major elected offices.
He also said a motion to effect a bylaw change will be made in Orlando and that candidates for major elected offices will be announced June 14, 2010.