NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Changes are in store for the 2011 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting — including two missionary appointment services, fewer business sessions and no night sessions — in hopes that more people will participate, the chairman of the committee planning that meeting announced Jan. 28.
Proposed changes include trimming the program to morning and afternoon business sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday, June 14-15, and scheduling missionary appointment services for both of the convention’s two mission boards, said Will Langford, pastor of Great Bridge Baptist Church in Chesapeake, Va., and the chairman of the Committee on Order of Business.
The annual meeting will be in Phoenix at the Phoenix Convention Center.
“The Committee on the Order of Business has been working diligently with SBC President Bryant Wright to make adjustments to the 2011 Annual SBC Convention Program,” Langford said in a statement released to Baptist Press.
“Proposed changes include trimming down the number of program items so as to better emphasize the Great Commission work of the SBC entities and missionaries,” Langford said. “Changes to the program will consolidate the meeting into four sessions that will be morning and afternoon sessions on both Tuesday and Wednesday without unduly restricting seminary and other special luncheon time. The evening sessions will be eliminated.”
The committee believes eliminating the evening sessions and trimming the program items will enhance participation and free up time for messengers and guests for fellowship, discussions and family, Langford said.
“Also, it is the desire of the committee that the International Mission Board and the North American Mission Board will be able to include missionary commissioning services as part of their reports, thereby enhancing the experience of the missionary, the messenger, the mission entities, and lifting up the Great Commission emphasis,” Langford said.
“By these changes we seek to promote greater attendance and participation in our annual meeting, and in providing this general preview the hope that anyone who has not yet made plans to attend might be encouraged by these new enhancements to do so,” Langford noted. “These are high bars to hurdle, and we are still working on details, but feel confident that when we announce the program on the traditional date of May 1, the new format will be one that is well-received by the vast majority of Southern Baptists.”
Other members of the SBC Committee on Order of Business are Emerson Falls, pastor of Glorieta Baptist Church in Oklahoma City; Stan Buckley, pastor of First Baptist Church in Jackson, Miss.; Rudy Yakym Jr., businessman from South Bend, Ind.; John B. Hoychick, attorney from Rayville, La.; and William A. (Andy) Chambers, vice president for student development at Missouri Baptist University. SBC President Bryant Wright is an ex officio member of the committee. Jason Breland, worship pastor of First Baptist North Mobile in Saraland, Ala., is the music director for the annual meeting.
Compiled by Baptist Press assistant editor and senior writer Mark Kelly.