NASHVILLE, Tenn. — During the final business session of the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) Executive Committee’s (EC) Sept. 21-22 meeting in Nashville, Tenn., members completed the following actions:
- approved a requested $250,000 budget for the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force, which was created by a vote of messengers to the 2009 SBC annual meeting in Louisville, Ky. To date, the 23-member task force has held two meetings, in Atlanta and in Rogers, Ark., with the next meeting slated Oct. 27 in Dallas.
- approved a request by the International Mission Board to start a new publication, CommissionStories, to replace The Commission magazine.
- adopted a resolution of appreciation for R. Rex “Peck” Lindsay, who will retire Dec. 31 after 32 years as executive director-treasurer of the Kansas-Nebraska Convention of Southern Baptists. The resolution, in part, noted: “During his tenure, the number of churches cooperating with the Kansas-Nebraska Convention of Southern Baptists almost doubled, from 207 to approximately 400 churches and missions, and church membership increased by almost 50 percent.” Total giving by the two states’ Baptists, meanwhile, increased by more than 450 percent.
Regarding motions referred from the 2009 SBC annual meeting in Louisville, Ky., the Executive Committee:
- postponed action on a proposed reallocation of the World Hunger Fund to 70 percent to the International Mission Board and 30 percent to the North American Mission Board (from the current 80-20 allocation).
- declined to recommend adjustment of the seminary funding formula, “agreeing with previous positions taken by the Council of Seminary Presidents that while the current formula is not perfect, it is the best of all other options.”
- declined to recommend the appointment of a task force to examine Cooperative Program (CP) giving, specifically regarding the possibility of allowing portions of CP dollars from each church to be designated to particular SBC causes. The Executive Committee stated that “such an action would undermine the continued viability of the Cooperative Program.” The EC also noted that “the Task Force on Cooperation (2000-2002) and the Cooperative Program Ad Hoc Committee (2002-2006) provided sufficient opportunities to examine this issue resulting in the definition of the Cooperative Program, which was approved during the 2007 SBC annual meeting.” The definition states: “The Cooperative Program (CP) is the unified plan of giving approved by the Southern Baptist Convention through which cooperating Southern Baptist churches give a percentage of their undesignated receipts in support of cooperative state, national, and international missions, ministries, and theological education.”
- declined to recommend revision of trustee term provisions in the SBC constitution, such as term lengths and trustee service by members of the same church, describing the current provisions as “beneficial to the Convention.”
- declined to recommend amending the SBC Organization Manual to require SBC entities to report actions that interpret the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 or the convention’s governing policies. The Executive Committee said a 2007 convention-adopted statement continues to be “an appropriate guide for our entities”: “The Baptist Faith and Message is not a creed, or a complete statement of our faith, nor final or infallible, nevertheless it is the only consensus statement of doctrinal beliefs approved by the Southern Baptist Convention and as such is sufficient in its current form to guide trustees in their establishment of policies and practices of entities of the Convention.”
- instructed its communications workgroup, in response to a request to study greater SBC involvement for ethnic churches and leaders, to work in consultation with the North American Mission Board, the Southern Baptist Language Program Leaders Fellowship and other SBC entities to examine “how ethnic churches and ethnic church leaders can be more actively involved in serving the needs of the SBC through cooperative partnership on the national level.” The Executive Committee requested that the report be presented at its June 14, 2010, meeting in Orlando, Fla.
- declined to recommend a new United States Christian flag, known as “Beauty and Band” or “Beauty and Bands,” be the banner flag for the SBC. The Executive Committee noted that “a Christian flag already exists that is widely acknowledged and used by Christians in the United States and around the world.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE — Compiled by Baptist Press editor Art Toalston.)