I am hopeful that a step taken yesterday by Oklahoma Southern Baptists will have long reaching consequences in terms of grassroots involvement and increased cooperation within the Southern Baptist Convention. The Board of Directors of the Baptist General Convention overwhelmingly passed a motion to appoint a task force to . . .
"(E)xamine hosting satellite conventions and/or LIVE interactive internet broadcasts in conjunction with the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma begining at the 2010 Baptist General Convention."
The BGCO Board of Directors motion went further . . .
"We request the task force to design the report and/or recommendations as a model for the Southern Baptist Convention to possibly begin implementing satellite conventions and/or LIVE interactive internet broadcasts in conjunction with the annual Southern Baptist Convention meeting."
The technology is already available. These satellite conventions could be held at churches, civic arenas or associational mission offices. Hundreds of people are already observing the church services, conventions and meetings LIVE via the internet - all we need to do is implement the technology to allow those viewers who are duly elected messengers to vote online. It's not hard - it just takes planning, and the BGCO is beginning the process for everyone. By the way, Oklahoma Southern Baptists have a very good track record of implementing creative, cutting edge ministry that is later picked up by other states and the Southern Baptist Convention.
We regularly hear our SBC leaders say that they exist to "serve the churches." We all know that the highest authority in our Convention is the local church. When Southern Baptist church members can participate in the Convention without the high cost of travel expenses, we get grassroots involvement. Imagine for a moment the possibilities for our Convention. What would happen if those missional, cutting edge churches that are being planted by our young Southern Baptist pastors and evangelists (like Andy Stanley pictured above) could go across the street, watch the Convention, and vote their conscience? What would happen if those older Southern Baptists who are in love with missions, but don't like the narrowness they see creeping into Baptist life, could be elected as messengers and go down the street rather than across the country to participate in the process? Can you imagaine our 5,500 missinaries around the world participating in the Convention? What would happen if people came to auditoriums all across the country, or logged onto the Internet, to join in the prayers, praise and preaching that takes place at our national and state Conventions?
I think the action of Oklahoma Southern Baptists yesterday may well be a defining moment in our Convention. It will be very interesting to hear the arguments of those who are against the idea. Pay close attention to the debate over the BGCO's coming report and recommendations.
I am excited about the far reaching impact upon both the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma and the entire Southern Baptist Convention because of the BGCO Board of Directors' foresight and wisdom displayed in the adoption of this motion.
In His Grace,