Saturday, June 16, 2007

San Antonio Hindsight: Part One

Here begins my post-convention analysis. Why shouldn't I—everyone else is doing post-convention analysis! But I am going to try to delve a little deeper than some of the stuff I'm reading elsewhere.

Part One: Who Came and Who Didn't

A lot more didn't than did! In fact, on Wednesday night a large portion of the meeting hall had been walled off to prevent attendees from sitting three-to-a-section. Final registration totals were a full third less than predicted. Baptist Press reports that the largest number of those who came (unsurprisingly) were residents of Texas. Indeed, nearly one in five messengers was a Texas Baptist (see the story here). Yet the story does not break out attendees by state convention, but only by state. The voting results suggest that the BGCT simply did not show up in large numbers. Reports that BGCT messengers were going to bus in from Waco for the 1VP vote turned out to be bluster. That fact, in turn, suggests that liberal Baptists in the BGCT care not at all what happens in the SBC, and conservative Baptists in the BGCT don't appear to be all that interested, either. If one cannot mobilize a significant anti-Conservative-Resurgence/anti-CR-leadership faction in Texas, one cannot do it anywhere. I walk away from this year strongly encouraged about the probable outcome of our future meetings in Indianapolis and Louisville.

25 comments:

peter lumpkins said...

Bart,

I think you are probably correct about Indianapolis. But I also think presumption from those concerned about Neomoderates may likely end in another "frenzy" similar to the San Antonio scare.

I trust you preach with power from high tomorrow. With that, I am...

Peter

CB Scott said...

Peter,

I got to see Bart in San Antonio. I missed you. Call me when you come to Birmingham.

cb

OKpreacher said...
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OKpreacher said...

Bart,

From what I most recently heard was that the BGCT was working on becoming their own baptist denomination. If the "rumor" is true that may explain why they didn't attend.

I was very disappointed in the fact that most messengers didn't vote. I have heard the "spin" that Southern Baptists spoke loud and clear about what direction they want by voting overwelmingly for Jim Richards over David Rogers. I just laugh because less then half of the messengers even voted. With that type of reasoning we could say that over half our convention doesn't even want a 1 VP since they didn't vote for one.

Lastly, it is sad when the most surprising thing that happens at this convention is in who doesn't show up. I'm glad for those that did show up and voted. Baptists, not matter how they vote, need to vote and be heard.

Steve Weaver said...

Bart,

It was great to meet you in San Antonio. I look forward to many more meetings in the future!

Steve

Rebecca Illingworth said...

I've heard the same "rumor" that OKpreacher describes about the BGCT. That could be part of the reason for low numbers. I don't belong to a BGCT affiliated church. But I have friends and family that are. A conversation came up the week before convention and I asked one of those, "How many messengers are ya sending?" The response was, "We aren't."

Sending messengers takes the churches' involvement. For the church to be involved takes the pastor being involved. IMO

David Rogers said...

Why WAY not cool?

gmay said...

Bart,
It was great to meet you this week. Its always good to put a face and personality with the blog postings.

An interesting side note to your thoughts on who did not come has to do with activities in the BGCT. Not only did they stay home from the SBC annual meeting, in 2006 they also stayed home from the BGCT annual meeting. See here Could it be that for so many years now many pastors have avoided convention conversations due to our controversies and the result is that our churches are writing them off? The 2006 annual meeting was held in the BGCT rich metroplex yet drew less than 2000 messengers for the first time since the meeting in the distant El Paso. What about attendance at SBTC meetings? I know attendance at the evangelism conference is increasing. What about the annual meeting?

Bart Barber said...

Peter,

'Tis better to be caught overly prepared.

Bart Barber said...

CB,

I greatly enjoyed our conversation.

Bart Barber said...

Steve,

Ditto.

Bart Barber said...

OKPreacher and Becky,

I think the BGCT-leaving-the-SBC thing is more than a "rumor." It is on the same level as the folks stopping by Texas convenience stores every week to purchase lottery tickets—they want to hit the jackpot and they are trying the best way they know how, but it is difficult to do.

Bart Barber said...

David,

Impersonation online is a mortal, not a venial, sin in my book. Never steal a person's identity. That's what somebody did to you over at Marty's place, and that is WAY not cool, even if intended as a joke.

Bart Barber said...

Gmay,

SBTC is probably not a fair comparison, since the convention is so young and growing so rapidly.

Kyle said...

Bart,

As for me, I did not attend San Antonio. But it was not for a lack of care, but for a couple of reasons. Reson one - I have difficulty heading anywhere for a couple of days, having 3 small kids and a wife that stays at home with them. Leaving for a few days is not fair to them. Two - I Pastor a small (125 attendance) church with limited funds (I simply cannot afford to go, neither do I ask my church to fund this seeing more pressing issues in our community and world than sending me to the convention. There are probably many young Pastors that would love to be there each year voicing our encouragement and concern, but simply cannot come.

Another question (sorry for the length here)

Bart, you and I sit on the same side of the theological fence and see the motion regarding the BF&M the same way, however - It seems that this motion is viewed as a victory both for our side and the other...so...Is it really signifigant at all? Does it really have teeth? What differance, if any will this passed motion make in the SBC concerning Trustee Boards - My conclusion...This is a cotton candy issue, is looks like a big, tasty, colorful, and filling thing, but when its bitten into - it dissolves for lack of substance. - What say you?

Ben Macklin said...

Bart -

I think some significant fence mending is in order before most BGCT pastors (including myself) participate in an SBC convention. The conception is still very much alive that the SBC is controlled by a small faction of power-mongers and their minions. Dr. Page's election was a step in the right direction, but there is an entire race to run.

The best thing you (and I) can do is to adopt the attitude of the minority party of the British Parliament and be loyal objectors when we don't get our way. But right now, BGCT conservatives and SBC folks (I didn't say fundamentalists!) are about as cozy as England - Northern Ireland relations.

Bart, when you "come into your kingdom" (and I believe you'll inherit the mantle of leadership some day) call me and we'll work together. But I will get up from the table the moment labels and innuendo begin to be tossed about. We need to tattoo Matt. 5: 21-24 on our tongues before we sit down and talk about cooperating with those Baptists on earth who will most likely be joining us in heaven.

Until the day when the advancement of faith in Christ becomes more important than who's "driving the bus," the rhetoric of the convention will continue to look like protectionism of turf and not constructive conventioneering.

A few funerals and some genuine apologies from all sides are in order; otherwise the BGCT will continue to do its own (gospel) thing. The state of the SBC today is proving that the more Baptists grow, the more they fracture apart.

I value our friendship. I hope there is a day ahead when we can show the world through convention reconciliation that what unites Baptists is greater than that which divides us.

Ben Macklin

Tripp said...

Bart said:

"I walk away from this year strongly encouraged about the probable outcome of our future meetings in Indianapolis and Louisville."

Bart,

You are correct in your thinking on the next two Annual Meetings. Already, on Denny Burk's blog, Rick Garner is trying to downplay the significance of next year's Meeting.

I think even they can see the writing on the wall.

peter lumpkins said...

CB,

You got it. I will give you an ups when I head that way. Looking forward to it. Remember, now. I'll buy lunch but YOU must buy the java.

Grace, with that, I am...

Peter

Anonymous said...

Ben Macklin

Great word - we are also a BGCT church, and I would echo your comments.

At this point in the life of the convention, I think that Wade, Art, Marty et al have done a great job in bringing to the fore some of the real problems in the convention - narrowing of parameters etc. From listenting to convention challenges and sermons, I think that SOME in leadership get it - Danny Akin, The pastor from CA and Ed Stetzer - it seemed like Kelly may get it a bit as well - but he has brother in law issues! Now it is up to the Patterson and Mohler. If they continue to narrow, the SBC is in trouble.

I think folks like Bart are going to be extremely important to the process - if they will open thier eyes - I see Timmy Brister and Nathan Finn in this model - still on the inside but pushing slowly for change - we will see

Jim Champion

Bart Barber said...

Ben,

Convention leadership is a demotion. I am an elder/pastor/overseer of a Baptist church.

Bart Barber said...

Jim & Ben,

I am watching to see whom you guys select as your next Exec. That choice will make a big difference as to the future of the BGCT. I am not optimistic, but I am willing to be surprised.

Bart Barber said...

Kyle,

You are precisely correct.

Debbie Kaufman said...
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Debbie Kaufman said...

I believe it is the fake David Rogers who commented. David always has a link to his post by clicking on his name and his picture on his comments. Such is not the case here.

David Rogers said...

Just noticed this comment string. I am way behind on my blog reading, as of late.

In any case, the previous comment was definitely not the real me. :^)