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Church Membership Week 4

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Cooperation of Churches

Today, we will look at what Southern Baptist Churches do together and how we work together.
Similarly to how the local church works, the entire Southern Baptist Convention operates from a bottom to top leadership structure. In short, this means there is no president, CEO, board, or other title that can dictate what happens or what is taught in local churches. In fact, the national convention does not dictate state conventions. And state conventions do not dictate local associations. Local associations do not dictate local churches.
In fact, the opposite is true. Each church sends “messengers” to annual meetings. This is true for our local association, our state convention, and the SBC.
Let’s look at when each group meets:
TBC has its annual meeting in September.
Our local association meets the first Saturday in October and rotates locations throughout the association. We hosted in 2021.
The state convention meets on Monday and Tuesday in October. This year, it is October 10 and 11 in Garden City.
Our national convention meets in June each year. It was in California this year and will be in NOLA in 2023.
Each church is allotted a certain number of spots for each meeting. It is sort of like delegates for the US presidential elections.
Our church, at a business meeting, appoints members who are willing to go and whom we trust to speak on behalf of the church.
Then, at the meetings, our messengers can bring up talking points, make motions, and vote on motions and recommendations.
To be a messenger, one must be a member.
So, what happens at these meetings?
Most of the meetings are ministry reports and budget votes.
There are occasionally the options to allow in new churches.
In the state and national conventions, missionaries are appointed and sent out. Also, major changes such as leadership spots, seminary and missions funding, and other major impact groups are voted on.
At the national level (technically international):
The SBC controls the NAMB, IMB, 6 theological seminaries, a major financial and insurance institution, and LifeWay Christian Resources. These large entities have other large but smaller ministries as well. For example, LifeWay has a research arm that conducts tons of world and church research that helps local churches understand facts and trends. NAMB has Send Relief that is a mjor catalyst for getting young adults into world disaster relief.
So now let’s cover just a bit of what each entity of the SBC does because it is de facto what you do:
NAMB: Plants churches, funds missionaries, provides disaster relief, and orchestrates short-term mission trips.
Just the arm of Send Network has produced:
9,700 churches planted since 2011
80% of church plants thrive past four years
11% of all SBC churches are Send Network churches
18% of all SBC baptisms are from Send Network churches
16 church plants in Puerto Rico since 2016, the first SBC plants there in 25 years
790+ African American SBC churches planted from 2011-2021
An average 55%+ of SBC church plants are minority ethnic or multi-ethnic
IMB: Employs hundreds of international missionaries in safe and unsafe areas. Many of the missionaries cannot be named out of strict protection of their lives. Also, here are some of their most recent stats:
Total Field Personnel (6/30/2022)*3,530
Global Missionary Partners (6/30/2022)**38
New People Groups and Urban Centers Engaged by IMB (2021)93
New Believers (2021)176,795
Received Pastoral Training (2021)29,632
Received Advanced Theological Training (2021)67,187
Received Church Planting Training (2021)85,293
New Churches Formed (2021)22,744
Baptisms (2021)107,701
People Groups Globally***11,948
Unengaged, Unreached People Groups 3,175
Each of the 6 seminaries host a rich tradition and interesting formation story. From the first in Kentucky in 1859 to the furthest in California, all the seminaries hold true to the doctrines of our faith and produce amazing church leaders. As a SBC church, a small portion of your tithe goes to help SBC students with educational costs.
In short, all the SBC churches put together can create a unique and wonderful partnership to accomplish more than any one or few churches can even dream of doing.
Because we work together, we saw 177k salvations in 2021. nearly 23k churches formed in 2021, and over 3k people on the mission field right now!
Is this all the most perfect way to do it? IDK. But does it seem the best so far? YES.
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