GBC messengers gather at the 2018 annual meeting held last year at Second Baptist Church in Warner Robins. SCOTT BARKLEY/Index
DULUTH — Letters stipulating the number of messengers churches can bring to the Georgia Baptist Convention annual meeting have been mailed out while online registration has opened for the Nov. 11-12 gathering at New Hope Baptist Church in Fayetteville.
Now in its fourth year, the online registration process streamlines the ability for messengers to gain their credentials for voting and taking part in Georgia Baptist Convention business. Letters mailed out this week to churches provide Cooperative Program and other SBC giving totals as well as the number of messengers for which the church qualifies.
In addition to the time and place of the annual meeting, the letter also includes the church’s username and password to log in and register at igo.gabaptist.org. A confirmation email will follow to each registered messenger. That email confirmation or messenger letter printed from the site can be presented at the registration desk of the annual meeting.
Each GBC-constituted church that gave at least $1 to CP from Jan. 1, 2018-Dec. 31, 2018 automatically qualifies for two messengers. From there, one additional messenger is added per $800 given through SBC mission causes as received through the GBC Executive Committee. The maximum number of messengers is 15, as stipulated by Article II of the Convention’s Constitution:
Article II. Membership
Section 1. This body shall be composed of messengers from cooperating Baptist Churches. A cooperating church is one that gives evidence of its belief in Holy Scripture as its authority in matters of faith and practice and is in harmony and cooperation with the work and purpose of this Convention. A cooperating church does not include a church which knowingly takes, or has taken, any action to affirm, approve, or endorse homosexual behavior.
Section 2. Messengers. Each cooperating church, having contributed through the Convention for the Cooperative Program and Convention causes during the preceding year, shall be entitled to two messengers and to one additional messenger for each $800 contributed through this Convention for the Cooperative Program and Convention causes, but in no case shall any church be entitled to more than fifteen (15) messengers.
Section 3. Voting by proxy is not permitted.
Missions do not qualify, but if the mission is sponsored by a constituted GBC church then it may qualify as messengers of the host, or parent, church.
While arriving at the annual meeting without the printed letter or email doesn’t disqualify one from participating, it could make the registration process more trying. From registration, potential messengers would have to work through the Credentials Committee to see if they qualify and for how many messengers. If they qualify, they would be registered immediately. If not, they may still attend the annual meeting but will not be provided ballots for voting.