My thoughts on the 2010 KBC

For the past 7 Novembers I have been a North Carolina Baptist and I have attended the North Carolina Baptist Convention.  For at least 3 of those years I have had a conviction that the state convention keeps entirely too large an amount of cooperative program funds.  I have considered making an amendment from the floor to move toward a 50/50 split between the BSCNC and the SBC.  At one time I even consulted some friends about the best way to do this.  Ultimately I decided that the timing was not right for North Carolina. (At least not yet.) I am no longer a North Carolina Baptist.  I am now a Kentucky Baptist, and today I believe we made history.  (I guess Florida beat us to the punch, but only because their convention was last week.) Today we voted to move toward a 50/50 split between the KBC and SBC.  We voted to do so within 10 years.  This represents a 14% change.  Even more significant, there will be a 5% change in thisyear's budget.

This change in the way we fund the CP was a part of a report from the KBCs Great Commission Resurgence task force.  There were 4 recommendations as part of that report, and I expected that someone would make a motion to consider each part separately.  No one did so.  There was a motion offered to ignore the report, make a 1.5% change and thank the committee for existing, but it failed handily.  The discussion was remarkably civil.  I didn’t even hear groans or commentary from the crowd.  The recommendations passed with 2/3rds majority and I am proud.  I believe this was a great move for Kentucky Baptists.  It demonstrates real commitment and not just lip-service to taking the message of Christ to the nations.

Here are some other thoughts –

Today I served as a teller.  It was my first time serving in any capacity at a convention, and I was glad to do so.  Interestingly the ballots in my bucket twice were in conflict with the final tally.

You may notice that I share a name with the president of the convention.  Don Mathis was an excellent moderator and even if we were not related I would say so.

My former church, Mexico Baptist, was recognized for being number one in per-capita giving to the CP.

The body as a whole at the KBC is a much younger group than in North Carolina.  I was impressed with this. I think it shows a bright future for the convention.  People are always saying that the younger generation is not interested in identifying with the SBC.  But today gives me hope that that is not true.  Kevin Smith said today that if only gray-hairs are happy, then something is wrong.  I agree and I believe that many of the younger generations were happy.

If you missed the shiny shirts that the choir wore at today’s meeting, you really missed something.  I cannot do them justice with words.

The pastor’s conference last night was wonderful.  It featured 3 premier preachers, Johnny Hunt, Danny Akin, and Alistair Begg.

The youth ministers’ meeting was yesterday as well.  I was challenged to think about some stuff, and I appreciated each of the speakers.  (Especially because they kept it short)  It was definitely worth my time.  We had nothing like that in North Carolina.  I am grateful to Joe Ball for his leadership and his desire to see us fellowship as a group.

Why I Am Proud to be a Kentucky Baptist Again

Remember when the GCR task force was controversial?  Remember all the fears and hand-wringing on blogs?  Way back when the GCR was still controversial and nobody really knew what would come of it, the Kentucky Baptist Convention decided to appoint a Great Commission resurgence task force of its own. On Tuesday that task force released its report, and I am proud of it for multiple reasons. We all have labels we place on ourselves.  For me, two of those things are Kentuckian and Southern Baptist.  For the last several years I have been a  North Carolina Baptist.  Now I'm proud to be home and I’m proud that the Kentucky Baptist Convention has done such an admirable thing with this report.  Also you may notice that one of the members of that committee shares a last name with me; that is even more reason to be proud.

I have made no secret on this blog that I love the Cooperative Program and that I believe it is the most effective tool our denomination has constructed to reach the lost.  I also have said that I believe the states keep entirely too much of the CP money.  (In fact when I was a NC Baptist I was strongly considering a motion from the floor that would push that convention toward a 50/50 split.)  One of the things I admire most about the KBCGCR task Force’s report is the quick move to a 50/50 split.  This is a hard decision.  It involves intentionally cutting the budget of every entity in the state convention.

Without the cooperation of the churches willing to give more, this will be even more of a hardship for the KBC.  But I believe that churches will be motivated to make their own decisions to give more knowing that more of their money will reach the mission field .

I applaud the task force.  My church is giving 1 percent more to the CP this year, and I encourage your church to do the same.

A great commission resurgence is not equal to giving more money.  I certainly realize that.  But it is definitely a part.  I applaud Bill Mackey, Hershael York, and the rest of the task force and I give my strongest urging to Kentucky Baptists to show up in Lexington in November and to pass the recommendations.  I will be there.

A lesson from the NC State Baptist Convention

A convention with no controversy is boring. This year I attended Tuesday only.  I had obligations on Monday that kept me away from the pastor’s conference, which I’m sure I would have enjoyed.  There was really only one major piece of business this year; amending and restructuring of the constitution.  Most of the changes were for streamlining purposes and it was not controversial.  For example, we renamed the annual session the annual "meeting." (Exciting huh?) The election of officers was completely uneventful.  Only one ballot was even necessary (CJ Bordeaux was elected as second VP), as President and first VP were unopposed.  (In slightly related news, my great-uncle, Don Mathis, was elected as president of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.)  Even the budget, which involved substantial cuts, only had a few comments from the floor.

Compare this to last year, when we were doing away with giving plans, or to ’07 when we were defunding the colleges as they began electing their own trustees.  Those years had a different feel to them.  In a year like this when everything is routine, we are simply going about our business controversy free.

I almost titled this post Baptists like to Argue.  At a business meeting where everything is cut and dried you begin to hear people say things like “this thing was railroaded,” or “they are just going to elect who they want.”  It’s weird; it’s almost as if we are creating controversy where there is none.  In this case I know that is it.  We in NC are too recently past the major controversies to be organized.  It ought to be a reason for celebration.  Hooray, we are controversy-free! But instead it’s boring.

I must confess, I am as guilty of this as anyone else.  I think the controversy is interesting.  I bet that next year’s SBC is the best-attended in a while.  Not just because it’s in Orlando and we can sneak out to Sea World (not Disney though ;-) ), but because of the controversy that seems to be swirling around the GCR Task Force.

That’s my two cents.  I’m glad we are not fighting, but it’s not nearly as interesting as the controversy.  Maybe next year I’ll make a motion for some controversy.  I already have one in mind.