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?