Monday, June 2, 2014

SBC preview and predictions

Next week. Baltimore. There will be strutting. There will be stuffing. There will be puffing. There will be frivolity. There will be hand-wringing. There will be resume passing. There will be business, elections, motions, promotions and emotions.

It's the annual mobocracy called the SBC Annual Meeting. Here's my preview.


We've got a duke's mixture of candidates. One megachurch pastor. One microchurch pastor. One large church, ethnic pastor.

The first is Ronnie Floyd who lost to Frank Page back in 2006, primarily because his megachurch Cooperative Program giving was a micropercentage, 0.29. Since then, his church is giving a large amount and decent percentage, less than the average but good enough for my threshold.

The microchurch pastor is Jared Moore, PhD student, current first vice president. He is an outstanding pastor but is uninformed on many aspects of SBC work, a judgment I make from exchanges with him over the years on blogs. Needs experience, age, and smoothness. The SBC president can't do a lot to help but can easily do a little that will hurt. There is an affinity in the SBC for small church pastors but not nearly enough for a majority...and unlike last years VP election, there will be a quorum this year when the vote is held.

The ethnic pastor is Korean Dennis Kim. His large church is a mission machine. He is below the radar in the SBC, though not because of any deficiency in accomplishment.

Moore has no chance and Floyd is clearly the favorite but I would vote for Dennis Kim. I like the idea of moving away from megachurches and the oligarchy of megachurch pastors and their members that dominate important positions, trusteeships, and committees.

I'd predict a Kim victory but conventions are lightly attended these years and the middle-aged greybeards like to attend and I'd guess there are enough to elect Floyd. There's really not much the SBC president can do, or has done, or will do.


NAMB assembled a group of pastors to "assess and respond to stark patterns of decline in Southern Baptists' evangelism and baptisms." They met. Ed Stetzer threw a bunch of statistics at them. The have a report and some recommentdations.

Pastor's Task Force on SBC Evangelistic Impact and Declining Baptisms 

These are good people and this was a serious effort but the conclusion was to round up the usual suspects. Let's pray more, witness more, make disciples, try and "leverage" the next generation to do better than we have.

I expect most SBC leaders to do some handwringing over the report, same as in previous years. I don't have a solution to this but, my how we do like to lament the lack of baptisms.

Paige Patterson will be asked about his Muslim student at Southwestern Seminary. He will unless he stacks the mics with friendlies who prevent the question. He has responded with a statement already. Trustees either have the guts to address the matter or not. I cannot see much happening from the convention floor.

Russell Moore may be asked about his hires at the ERLC. The Gospel Coalition seems to have moved to the ERLC under Moore. He should be asked in particular about his new spokesperson who has acquired a reputation for brusque twitter exchanges. This isn't helpful. Richard Land, before he resigned, was perceived as just another ascerbic Republican talk show host. Moore better pay attention here.


The Executive Committee has a monumental change proposed for the SBC Constitution. They propose tweaking the messenger allocation formula. That looks fine to me. They also propose linking the SBC Constitution in regard to what constitutes "in friendly cooperation" to the Baptist Faith and Message. This part of their motion should be tabled or removed.

Motions from the floor always provide some unexpected entertainment. One never knows what an SBC messenger will come up with.

Miscellany and questions

I wonder if Frank Page will make note of the fact that the Executive Committee received more designated funds than Cooperative Program funds in the last fiscal year? We are mostly a societal giving convention at the SBC level.

Just how much did Golden Gate seminary receive for their prime acerage in Mill Valley? Should be the largest SBC real estate transaction ever. LifeWay had far more acreage at Glorieta but sold it for a buck.

Last year we had the Calvinist committee making their report. That is long forgotten and we are probably worse off in this regard than one year ago. Will someone make a splash about the Calvinists? God only knows but I'd guess that someone will.

What blogger will be elected as a VP this year?

I'd be there for the duration, brethren, but will watch from afar. Have fun.


Lee said...

What's your prediction for the attendance? Will it cross the 5,000 threshold? Baltimore is a tremendous convention venue, but sometimes that keeps messengers away, being entertained instead of attending business sessions. It's not too far north.

I wonder if being in Maryland, in a state convention with a very high percentage of ethnic membership, will draw enough messengers in to elect Pastor Kim? Geography helps, and Baltimore is a long way from Arkansas.

William Thornton said...

My wild conjecture is 6000 or so due to the contested election.