Thursday, April 25, 2013

What's missing in this Baptist Press story?

A Southern Baptist megachurch pastor nominates another Southern Baptist megachurch pastor for a high profile position. This generally qualifies as newsworthy among us and I am not surprised the our denominational news outfit, Baptist Press, an arm of the Executive Committee writes the story.

Bruce Frank announced as Pastors' nominee

HOUSTON (BP) -- Bruce Frank, lead pastor of the Asheville-area Biltmore Baptist Church in Arden, N.C., will be nominated for president of the Southern Baptist Pastors' Conference, according to an announcement by Arkansas pastor Ronnie Floyd.
Nothing new about this. Nothing unusual about this. One presumes, hopefully, that if some micropastor nominates another micropastor for President of the Pastor's Conference and sends an announcement of the same to BP that Art Toalston will write a similar article.

The president of the Pastor's Conference has been in the past a springboard to the SBC presidency. If this election was inconsequential then I doubt Ronnie Floyd would have thought it necessary to notify Baptist Press. So Baptist Press is interested in a bit more than who is nominated for the preaching event that precedes the SBC Annual Meeting.

But there is something missing in the boilerplate announcement. Read this and see if you can 'find' it:

According to Southern Baptists' Annual Church Profile database, Biltmore Baptist Church had a weekly attendance of 4,839 in 2011 (2012 statistics for the church have not yet been posted) and 4,070 in 2010. The church recorded 460 baptisms in 2011 and 445 in 2010. The overall membership of the church stood at 7,196 in 2011 and offerings/gifts to the church that year totaled $8,837,438.

Let's see, we've got relevant statistics including baptisms, attendance, membership, and total receipts. We do not have Cooperative Program giving.

Sure, the Pastor's Conference is a private entity, not an SBC entity but is the nominee's Cooperative Program giving relevant to the story?

I think so. Perhaps Art Toalston is investigating this and will put it in a subsequent story, or, perhaps some blogger will dig it up. I would have but could not access any statistics on short notice.

Notice something that is said, parenthetically, in the story:
(2012 statistics for the church have not yet been posted)
Not been the church? By LifeWay? By the Baptist Convention of North Carolina?

The nominee is obviously an outstanding pastor and the church is thriving and doing a great job for the Lord. Perhaps they give generously to the Cooperative Program. Perhaps they are above average.

Just observing, brethren.

1 comment:

Adam Harwood said...

Agreed. SBC churches are free to give large or small percentages to the CP. It would be helpful if BP stories concerning the nomination of pastors to SBC leadership disclosed the amount and percentage of CP giving. Thanks for your thoughtful post.
In Him,