Young leader concerns among motions at SBC

GREENSBORO, N.C. (BP)--Messengers offered more than 25 motions during the opening day of the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting, proposing actions related to young Christian leaders, the planning and conducting of future SBC meetings and the initiation of possible studies by the SBC Executive Committee.

Ryan Stiffler, pastor of First Baptist Church in Appleton City, Mo., moved that the Committee on Nominations appoint at least one pastor under age 40 “to each of our committees and boards, including the Executive Committee.” The motion was referred to the Executive Committee to report back to the 2007 convention to be held in San Antonio, Texas.

A motion by Andrew Higginbotham of Oconee Heights Baptist Church in Athens, Ga., asked that “the newly-formed Missional Network, which represents in part the next generation of leaders in the SBC” be scheduled for report times during future SBC annual meetings. The motion was ruled as not in order after an explanation by Allan Blume, chairman of the committee on the order of business.

“Not only did the committee consider this motion to be more of a nature of a resolution,” said Blume, pastor of Mount Vernon Baptist Church in Boone, N.C., “but the motion seeks a convention-reporting opportunity, which is reserved for SBC corporate entities and auxiliaries.”

One motion raised concerns about the impact of the “emergent church movement” among Southern Baptists. Ryan Johnson, youth pastor of First Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., cautioned that the movement is “becoming more and more influential in our day and in the practices of certain denominational entities. … Some Southern Baptist leaders are drifting dangerously close to identifying the SBC with this movement.”

Johnson’s motion proposed the appointment of a committee to research the movement, its trends and its impact on the SBC. He also asked that an appointed committee define “any involvement SBC entities would have in [the movement].” The proposal was referred to the Executive Committee.

SBC MEETINGS

Several motions proposed changes for the planning and conduct of future SBC annual meetings.

A motion by Robert Kelley, pastor of Raleigh Road Baptist Church in Henderson, N.C., proposed each annual meeting include 15 minutes for praise, confession and prayer by messengers. Blume said the committee will retain Kelley’s motion and take it into consideration when the agenda is planned for next year’s meeting.

Six other motions related to future meetings all were referred to the Executive Committee:

-- that the 2008 annual meeting be held in New Orleans, submitted by David Crosby, pastor of First Baptist Church in New Orleans.

-- that the Executive Committee “formulate and publicize appropriate plans of action in the event that the SBC annual meeting cannot be held” because of a pandemic or some other disaster, submitted by Stephen Parks, director of missions of Unity Baptist Association in Lufkin, Texas, and messenger from First Baptist Church, Lufkin.

-- that convention bylaws be amended to allow for the submission of resolutions by messengers on the first day of the annual meeting, submitted by Wiley Drake, pastor of First Southern Baptist Church in Buena Park, Calif.

-- that convention bylaws be amended to allow for a simple majority vote -- instead of 2/3 -- to overrule the Committee on Order of Business or the Resolutions Committee, two motions submitted by Rodney Albert, pastor of Hallsville (Mo.) Baptist Church.

-- that the “Executive Committee work closely with each year’s Local Arrangements Committee to vastly improve accessibility accommodations at the Annual Convention,” submitted by Jerilyn Leverett of Wesleyan Drive Baptist Church, Macon, Ga.

Leverett also offered a motion to request the North American Mission Board to employ a “person with a disability to accelerate disability awareness, action and accessibility and outreach” by Southern Baptist churches. The motion was referred to NAMB.

EC REFERRALS

Other motions referred to the Executive Committee were:

-- that the Executive Committee determine a “church’s total giving to Southern Baptist missions causes” by including gifts through the Cooperative Program as well as funds provided for mission trips, church planting, disaster relief and designated offerings for SBC entities and “any other legitimate Southern Baptist causes,” submitted by Wayne Dorsett, pastor of Westside Baptist Church in Warner Robins, Ga.

-- that bylaws be amended to require convention officers be chosen from churches that give 10 percent "through the Cooperative Program and the local Baptist association," submitted by Bill Fowler, pastor of First Baptist Church in Pleasanton, Texas.

-- that bylaws be amended to allow for trustees and directors of SBC entities to serve a single seven-year term, submitted by Barrett M. Lampp, associate pastor of assimilation and pastoral care at Thomasville Road Baptist Church in Tallahassee, Fla.

-- that the Executive Committee conduct an "administrative expense analysis" of all SBC entities receiving CP funds, "including but not limited to the reimbursable expense accounts, travel expenses, housing and office expenses and … dollars spent … to maintain the private residences and staff of those entity executives," submitted by Ernest Hallmark of Parkview Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas.

-- that the Executive Committee "complete a comprehensive study of the makeup and function" of all SBC entity boards, submitted by Everett Anthony of Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in Marietta, Ga.

-- that bylaws be amended to require a vote at the next annual meeting on "any doctrinal position or practical policy" of an SBC entity that "goes beyond, or seeks to explain … the Baptist Faith and Message 2000," with revocation of the policy or position if not approved by messengers, submitted by Boyd Luter of First Baptist Church in Fairfield, Texas.

-- that the Executive Committee establish a committee to study the impact of Calvinism on Southern Baptists and to recommend any necessary actions, submitted by John S. Connell, senior pastor of Calvary in Savannah, Savannah, Ga.

OTHER REFERRALS

One motion was referred both to NAMB and the IMB: that a study committee be appointed to consider ways that IMB and NAMB "may work in greater partnership and harmony" due to "the increasingly difficult discernment of the differences between domestic and 'foreign' mission fields," submitted by Glynn N. Stone, Jr., pastor, West Rome Baptist Church, Rome, Ga.

Two other motions were referred to the IMB:

-- that the Executive Committee appoint a committee to investigate various trustee-related issues listed in the motion, which was made by Wade Burleson, an IMB trustee and pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Enid, Okla. During debate, Burleson spoke in favor of a recommendation by the Committee on Order of Business to refer the matter to the IMB, which messengers subsequently approved.

-- that the IMB have an audit of "all funds handled by the IMB/Central Asia Region for the years 1999-2005," with the motion claiming an internal audit in 2002-03 "at best could only account for $372,831.62 of embezzled monies," submitted by Ron McGowin, associate pastor to youth and recreation at First Baptist Church in Fairfield, Texas.

Two motions were referred to LifeWay Christian Resources:

-- that LifeWay “investigate and report” to the 2007 annual meeting on a “growing body of research” that indicates the majority of children from evangelicals do not stay in church as they enter adulthood, the majority of evangelical Christians do not have a “defined Biblical worldview” and “a growing carnality within evangelical churches [and] … the percentage of unregenerate church members,” submitted by Roger Moran of First Baptist Church in Troy, Mo.

-- that a LifeWay Christian Store be placed in Phoenix since “the people of Arizona have been paying sales tax on all LifeWay orders since LifeWay has a license to sell in Arizona, but [does] not have a store,” submitted by Tim Brown, pastor of Blythe Island Baptist Church, Brunswick, Ga.

One motion was referred to GuideStone Financial Resources: that a study be made of "the feasibility of allowing members of Southern Baptist churches to participate in the financial and insurance products of GuideStone," submitted by Gary Smith, pastor of Fielder Road Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas.

OTHER MOTIONS

Six other motions were ruled as not in order:

-- that the new SBC president write a letter to the New Life Community Church in Prunedale, Calif., "retracting the letter of affiliation granted by" Executive Committee staff, submitted by Mike Stewart, director of missions of the Central Coast Baptist Association in Gilroy, Calif., and messenger from Foothill Baptist Church, Los Altos, Calif.

-- that all candidates for SBC president and other offices "demonstrate both verbally and financially" strong CP support, submitted by John D. Carl, pastor of First Baptist Church in Whitney, Texas.

-- that the newly elected SBC president send a letter of thanks to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for allowing churches "to continue offering shelter and the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the homeless" and that a law firm involved in the case also be affirmed, submitted by Wiley Drake.

-- that the "new United States Christian Flag, also known as Beauty and Band" be recognized and adopted by messengers, submitted by Harold M. Phillips, pastor of Pleasant View Baptist Church in Port Deposit, Md.

-- that the SBC "refrain from using the word 'gay' when referring to homosexuals in sermons, publications and in the media" and that Baptist pastors and those in other denominations be asked to do the same, submitted by William I. Gay Jr. of Winterville (N.C.) Baptist Church.

-- that the Executive Committee "request the chairman and executive committee" of the IMB to reinstate trustee Wade Burleson "to full duties and responsibilities of a duly-elected trustee," submitted by Clif Cummings, pastor of First Baptist Church in Duncan, Okla.


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