Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Presidency of the SBC - A Mini-Church Pastor's Perspective

There is a job coming open in June. It’s the Presidency of the Southern Baptist Convention. You won’t find it listed on It’s really not a full time position. In fact, you can keep your present job and do it on the side. The downside is that most folks don’t qualify.

Now let me explain who can get this job and who can’t.

It’s not like you apply. You have to be nominated. In other words you have to have your name submitted to the Southern Baptist Convention in session in the form of a personal and formal nomination for the job.

Here’s the theoretical deal. Any Southern Baptist messenger in good standing with proper credentials can nominate any other Southern Baptist in good standing for this position. You could nominate me and I could nominate you and in theory we could have as many nominations as messengers at the convention except for one thing. As soon as the first couple of nominations are made some messenger always says, “I move that nominations cease.” And all the messengers will be in favor of that because they really like to rush through business stuff during the conventions.

What usually happens is that months before the convention some SBC leader with appropriate notoriety will issue a press release which goes something like this, “After much prayer and soul searching, God has impressed it upon my heart to nominate my good friend and fellow servant in the Lord, Dr. John Doe, to be the next President of the SBC,” and this is followed by much verbal praise and backslapping as the nominator informs the whole world how much the nominee has done for the Kingdom of God and the SBC.

But there’s unwritten protocol. To be elected to the SBC Presidency you have to be a Pastor of a mega church and a mega-church is defined as a church that runs more than 2000 on Sunday. Although there are approximately 200 SBC pastors who fall into this category, your chances of being nominated increase as your mega numbers go up.

For instance if you’re a pastor of one of the nineteen Southern Baptist Churches in America that averages more than 5000 in attendance on Sunday then you’re a prime candidate for consideration. But, there’s one other restriction. You have to be acceptable to a smaller group of influential pastors and other important personalities who make up the “unofficial” inner circle of leadership within the SBC that has sort of evolved out of the conservative resurgence.

Another thing that is happening in the SBC is that this pool of possible nominees is perceived as getting contaminated by too many different breeds of SBC Pastors. They fall into so many categories that it’s almost impossible to list them all. But never say that I won't attempt it. Here they are from this mini-church pastor's perspective.

Categories of SBC Mega Church Pastors

1. Bigger than The SBC. They simply have bigger fish to fry and would not serve under any circumstances.
2, Doing their own Thing. SBC in name only and token support of the SBC but still claim the tradition and the label.
3, Outside the bounds of “Acceptable” SBC Tradition – They’d play ball but they’re not going to be asked because they’re viewed as extreme.
4. On the way out of the SBC – Just haven’t made the formal move yet.
5. Team Captains – They support the SBC and have a lot to say about it, usually way too much.
6. The Real Deal – the humble true blue SBC guys you never hear much about.

If we Southern Baptists were wise we’d probably change our method of doing all this but we are slow learners, so it’s probably safe to say the new President of the SBC will come out of category two or five. But we can dream about the day when God allows us to have the “The Real Deal.”


Blogger Rod said...

I'm sure not very many of the guys wanting change are in it for the long haul. I'm not sure I am.

And we haven't done a very good job articulating just what we are about. The 'resurgence' had a clear and single objective...inerrancy.

These days, we are so polarized we may never recover. And that may be a good thing.

5/18/2006 12:57 PM  

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