A Proposal For Offsite SBC Annual Meeting Attendance

In the past couple of years, some people have been promoting the idea of the SBC allowing offsite attendance to our Annual Meeting. I think the time has come for this idea to be tested.

The Annual Meeting is already streamed live over the Internet, so I see no reason why offsite attendance of the meeting should not be a viable concept. In this time of an unstable economy and available technology, it only makes sense that offsite attendance be the next step.

How could this be accomplished in a way that would be beneficial and secure to the SBC and its churches? Allow me to make a few suggestions:

Set up regional locations for offsite annual meeting attendance. An offsite annual meeting location could be established in each state or even in multiple sites by state. These sites would show the streaming Internet feed on an overhead screen for larger venues or a big-screen TV for smaller venues. State convention personnel or church volunteers could oversee the site. Offsite attendees would register online the same way the onsite attendees do. Offsite attendees would receive the same packet that onsite attendees receive. Offsite attendees would be able to participate in ballot voting. The offsite ballots would be collected at the same time of the onsite ballots. The count of the offsite ballots can then be relayed to the onsite ballot counters and added to the overall total. New business which comes before the convention that originates from a task force or study group appointed by SBC leaders would automatically be voted upon by ballot so offsite votes could be included.

Things that offsite attendees would not be able to do is address the  convention, nor participate in non-ballot voting.

I believe if the SBC implements this proposal, we will have much more participation in the Annual Meeting, especially by the majority of SBC churches, those with less than 200 attendees in Sunday morning worship. With more participation comes a more comprehensive understanding of what the SBC as a whole really wants to do on specific issues.

I submit that a perfect time for testing offsite Annual Meeting attendance is for our next Annual Meeting, scheduled for Phoenix, Arizona on June 14-15, 2011. We have enough time to organize offsite locations around the country prior to our next meeting.

What do you think about this proposal for offsite SBC Annual Meeting attendance?

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4 Responses to A Proposal For Offsite SBC Annual Meeting Attendance

  1. Quinn Hooks says:

    We are exploring this possibility at the state level in the SCBC. The report is to be given in this year’s state convention to see if we can do it and the timetable for it. I think Oklahoma is considering this also.
    It has the potential to increase participation in the Convention if done properly. I know bi-vocational pastors who desire to go to the meeting but cannot get time off from work to do it. This would help their voices and votes be heard. Also, travel costs and time are a limiting factor for small church pastors.

  2. lesliepuryear says:

    Quinn,

    Sounds great. I think this is what needs to happen to demonstrate to the national convention that offsite attendance is a valid concept.

    Les

  3. Howell Scott says:

    Les,

    First time commenter here. I think your idea has merit and your specific suggestions about implementation make a lot of sense. If this idea were ever adopted by the SBC, I believe that you would see a change of direction from where we are headed now. Unfortunately, that is exactly why your idea, without a massive grass-roots uprising, will never see the light of day.

    Whether in government or in the SBC, those in the ruling class do not generally like to have their power challenged. They think they know what is best for the “normal” folks (i.e., the small and medium sized churches). Just keep sacrificially sending your CP dollars without asking any questions, such as how much are the Presidents and top staff of the entities and agencies being paid. Pay no attention to the level of “support” that the “leaders” and their mega-churches are contributing to the COOPERATIVE effort of the SBC. Don’t question why the overwhelming majority of trustess come from larger churches. Nothing to see here.

    Unless and until more small and medium sized churches send messengers to the Convention, we’ll continue with business as usual at the upper levels. If that happens, I do not believe that we will see the Great Commission Resurgence that all of us desire. Thanks for allowing me to dialogue. God bless,

    Howell

  4. Sounds like a great idea, although I am sure it would have to be approved by the Convention before it could be implemented. Which means it surely could not be done this year.

    I like the fact that it would allow for a better stewardship of funds by requiring less expensive travel. Maybe more could be given to missions (CP) and such if we were to do this.

    I am a small church pastor in Colorado (previously a bivocational pastor in Kansas for 18 years). I have never able to attend a SBC in my 20 years of pastoral ministry. I have watch parts of it on the internet over the last couple of years. It would feel wonderful to actually get to participate rather than spectate.

    I am hoping to go to the convention in Phoenix this year since it is much closer to home, if I can get the time off.

    –Richard

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