Sunday, June 03, 2007

Calling For A Recount

Size is power and the Southern Baptist Convention prides itself on being the largest protestant denomination in America with over 15 million members. I have served as the pastor of four Baptist churches and each church had a flawed system of tracking members. Most churches never removed people from their membership roles. Those that had died, moved away, joined another church, or hadn’t attended in over a year are never removed from the membership lists. Therefore if most SBC churches have inaccurate member numbers, how can anyone truly believe that the Southern Baptist Convention has over 15 million people? Integrity demands that we have a system of gaining accurate numbers of members. Here is my proposal.

I believe it is important to have accurate numbers so that we can understand who we are as Southern Baptists and what God is doing in our midst. This is a difficult issue because most SBC churches aren’t going to agree to clean up their membership roles. The reason is most members would be shocked and ashamed at their actual number of members. Therefore, the system of gaining numbers must be changed. My proposal is to make SBC membership annual and would therefore need to be renewed yearly. Every year during January, churches would get new church members to sign up for membership to the Southern Baptist Convention and current members to renew their membership to the SBC. This wouldn’t be hard; if we can deliver a Lottie Moon Offering envelope to every SBC member then we can provide every person with an annual SBC membership card. The number of responses in each church would determine how many messengers from that church could attend the convention that year.

This proposal would solve our numbers problem and give us our integrity back. It would also provide accurate information on each individual, like phone number and address. It will also help the SBC leadership to plan better, understand their data better, and understand our convention better by having accurate numbers. The benefits are too great for us to not take action and change how the SBC number thier members. Finally, an appeal to my readers, I will not be attending the convention this year. If you are committed to making a change, please make a motion that would change from the current way of numbering membership to using my purposed annual membership plan. Please feel free to contact me by leaving your email address in my “comment” section.

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