Monday, April 16, 2012

Where can SBCers find balanced info on the NAMB/State Convention debate?

The biggest conflict and the most notable news in the Southern Baptist Convention these days is the tension between our North American Mission Board and various state conventions.

It's about money, of course, NAMB focusing on priorities and goals that is causing them to redirect money formerly kicked back to state conventions through legacy Cooperative Agreements.

Where can an interested and attentive SBCer, some pastor or layperson,  go to get a balanced view of the matter?

Probably not here. I like what NAMB is doing and have written a good bit about it. I have not attempted to disallow opinions to the contrary. 

Here's my opinion on where to go for information and how confident one can be of getting balance on the various sources.

Baptist Press seems to me to be trying to give voice to both sides of the dispute. Their recent article is evidence of this. The Executive Committee has to get along with all of the people involved.

The various state papers can be relied upon to give prominence to the state conventions' view of things, but not necessarily NAMB's.  That is to be expected, I suppose. I would like to see The Christian Index on this. They have always been ahead of the crowd in reporting on NAMB matters.

The blogs are a mixed bag.

SBC Today has a weekly summary of notable blog posts. This week they have a category of blog posts named, "About Issues in the SBC" all of which are about the NAMB/state conventions controversy. One notes that balance is missing from this list of links. They should know better.

SBC Voices had three blog posts last week on the issue:

NAMB vs State Conventions? A Simple Solution
So, how do we expect NAMB to spend our money? (by William Thornton)
Grasping the Elephant: Ezell’s Webcast

Those three and the 170 or so comments among them give pretty good voice to all points of view. Dave Miller and I don't quite see eye-to-eye on the issue but he isn't afraid to let both sides be heard. Good for him.

This is a debate worth having. You just have to look around to find all sides of it.


Anonymous said...


Is it true that monies now given directly to NAMB and/or IMB can be counted as CP contributions?

I'll wait for your response to see if what I am thinking on commenting works with such an option.

Jon Estes

William Thornton said...

Jon, the Annual Church Profile instructions for my state would not allow for this. Direct gifts can be listed and counted as Great Commission Giving.

Anonymous said...


That may have been what I was thinking but in the same thought considering them equal in how the convention looks at the church.

If this is the way the local church will be perceived, then churches may begin to write multiple checks and support what they want. Dangerous in some ways but advantageous in others.

Ignorance in the pews about the CP machine does not help NAMB because the check has always gone to the state convention.

When I showed our church finance team how much of each dollar actually makes it to he mission field, they were shocked. No major changes yet, except to percentages but a willingness to really look at this whole things and make a decision which is best, through us, for the kingdom.

My personal tick towards both the state convention and NAMB is the amount of money we send and then the constant emails I get to spend more money to hear someone tell me more about something at a conference.

Jon Estes

William Thornton said...

I'm not sure about the trends in churches giving directly to SBC stuff. I have looked at Lottie and Annie and found that they decreased at a slower rate than CP giving.

NAMB gets about one-third of their revenues from CP gifts. To make a substantial difference to NAMB, CP giving would have to increase dramatically, something that hasn't happened in decades.