Baptist Press recently announced the Executive Committee of the SBC has voted to place on its June 9th meeting a recommendation to be presented at the annual meeting in Baltimore to change Article 3 of the SBC constitution dealing with qualifications for churches to send messengers to the annual meeting of the SBC. Article III currently states that churches in friendly cooperation with the convention can send one messenger and one additional messenger for each $250 per year “paid to the work of the Convention,” an amount dating back to 1888.
Under the new proposal to be considered at the June EC meeting on the Monday before the SBC annual meeting, each cooperating church that contributed to Convention causes during the preceding fiscal year would automatically qualify for two messengers. Additional messengers would be recognized from a cooperating church by one of two options, whichever allows the greater number of messengers:
– One additional messenger for each full percent of the church’s undesignated receipts through any combination of gifts through the Cooperative Program, designated gifts through the Executive Committee for convention causes or to any SBC entity.
– One additional messenger for each $6,000 the church contributes in the preceding year through the same combination of the Cooperative Program, designated gifts through the Executive Committee for convention causes or to any SBC entity.
The $6,000 figure was arrived at by adjusting for inflation and other factors since 1888. It is meant to be comparable to the $250 figure adopted 126 years ago.
You may read the BP article in its entirety by CLICKING HERE.
What is interesting to me is the idea that smaller churches may be upset with the newer proposal. Every church has gone from one messenger to two, which represented the highest number of messengers sent from churches in the first place. This allowance makes it possible for the pastor and his wife to attend as messengers. The next highest group of registered messengers is one single messenger. I do not see why smaller churches ought to be upset with the proposed changes.
There is one thing I do not understand. Why do we need the $6000 qualifier for additional messengers? Why does the EC believe a church that has $1,000,000 in undesignated giving get 1 additional messenger for $6,000 instead of the 1% figure of $10,000? Why should a church whose undesignated giving is $10 million get additional messengers for $6000 instead of the 1% figure of $100,000?
I believe the 1% rule ought to apply to ALL giving of ALL churches with no provision for a reduced allowance. In addition to that, I believe the giving ought to apply to CP giving since that is the engine that drives the convention. Annie Armstrong and Lottie Moon giving ought to be considered as well.
Personally, I do not believe monies given directly to entities ought to be considered for messenger qualifications. I do not believe Great Commission giving ought to be considered for messenger qualifications. These figures do not represent monies given to promote the financial budgeted items that are adopted and approved by the messengers at the annual meeting. CP funds currently drive the SBC and those churches who support the CP are the ones who ought to be able to send the most messengers to the annual meeting.