I have had the privilege of serving on the resolutions committee on three different occasions and as chairman one year. However, I have never submitted a resolution to the national convention until this year.
I discovered that Doug Munton, pastor of First Baptist Church in O’Fallon, Illinois, and I shared the same appreciation for Baptist State Conventions and those who lead the state conventions as Executive Directors.
So, together, Pastor Munton and I crafted a resolution expressing “Appreciation for our State Conventions and Executive Directors. While sixteen resolutions were presented to the Convention for approval, our resolution was one of 38 that did not make the cut.
It appeared that the committee carefully considered our proposed resolution and released their rationale for not presenting it for approval. Here is what they reported,
“While the Committee believes that the Southern Baptist Convention messengers would agree that this resolution is unifying and positive, and there are many reasons for which to express appreciation not only to our State Conventions and their Executive Directors, but also leaders at the associational levels, the Committee concluded this resolution did not rise to the level of priority for consideration at this meeting as the other resolutions presented.”
However, in Georgia I believe we have ample reason to express appreciation for the spirit and effectiveness of our state convention and the great leadership of our Executive Director, so I am taking the liberty to post the proposed resolution here:
Resolution of Appreciation for Our State Conventions and their Executive Directors
Whereas, the state conventions, including those conventions composed of dual states, may be considered by some as an unnecessary level of redundancy in Southern Baptist life and because they are often underappreciated, and
Whereas, state conventions have a clearer understanding of the needs of churches in their region than national agencies, and inasmuch as state conventions have “boots on the grounds” to meet those needs by assisting their churches in the areas of evangelism, church revitalization, discipleship, church planting, music and worship, etc., and
Whereas, no one knows more about the needs of each individual state better than the state convention missionary force, and because they are accountable to their local churches in a way that national agencies, by their very nature, cannot be, and
Whereas, the Southern Baptist Convention has continued to have strong financial support due in large part to the State Executive Directors who are thoroughly invested in and devoted to being passionate advocates of the Cooperative Program, the lifeline to the missions and ministries of the denomination, and
Whereas, Baptist State Executive Directors and their missionary personnel care deeply about our denomination as a whole and not just their part, and because many of these state conventions have been on a slow, but steady increase in the percentage of Cooperative Program receipts they send to national agencies, and
Whereas, state conventions are often catalysts in connecting pastors with other pastors and church leaders through training events, special activities and personal engagement, and
Whereas, state convention missionaries are often able to connect local pastors with leaders in the national missionary agencies, seminaries, the ERLC and the SBC Executive Committee and serve as facilitators to apply the work of these institutions and agencies to the local church, and
Whereas, state conventions can personalize the work of our denomination by supporting struggling pastors who need encouragement, counseling or training, and assist transitioning churches to see new possibilities and help pastorless churches find new leadership.
And whereas there may be those in Southern Baptist life who have not yet recognized the extreme value of state conventions/mission boards and do not seem to realize that these state conventions/mission boards are an essential link between the national convention and the local church, and inasmuch as there may be some who have overlooked the fact that state mission boards interact with pastors and churches in order to meet their needs in personal and compassionate ways, and since it would be mutually helpful for all to the bless and encourage the work of our state conventions;
Be it therefore, resolved that the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Dallas, TX on June 12-13, 2018 express their profound appreciation to the Baptist state conventions of the SBC and the State Executive Directors for their partnership in ministry, their superb leadership, their spiritual influence and their invaluable contribution to the cause of Christ.
Be it also resolved that the messengers to the 2018 Southern Baptist Convention offer their prayer support for the Baptist State conventions and their Executive Directors (Colossians 1:9-14), realizing that the role of state missionaries is often challenging and demanding, involving long hours and weighty responsibilities.
And be it finally resolved that we recognize that Southern Baptists’ national agencies, state conventions, and associations all have valid and significant roles and exist to serve the local church and that the local church is at the top the denominational structure for Jesus said, “I will build my church and the forces of hades will not overpower it” (Matthew 16:18 HCSB).