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After Y2K, SBC agencies report ‘business as usual’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–It’s business as usual for Southern Baptist Convention agencies in the wake of Y2K, thanks to months of preparation.

Except for a minor glitch in the e-mail system at the North American Mission Board, no agencies reported Y2K computer problems.

A NAMB spokesman said the glitch in their system caused some employees to receive duplicate e-mail messages and may not have been Y2K related.

“We are happy that the passing of the old year and the coming of the new one has been largely benign and uneventful,” Morris H. Chapman, president and chief executive officer of the SBC Executive Committee, said. “Y2K uncertainty and fear should give way to a new commitment to make the most of each day of the new century in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Chapman said the months spent preparing Executive Committee phone, computer and financial systems for the new year paid off.

At the Annuity Board, a “technology swat team” worked through the weekend to tackle any possible issues and the entire pulled together to assure a smooth entry into the new millennium. “We will continue to monitor our systems, but so far all has been normal,” said Rick Hart, executive officer for Systems and Technology Services.

In the midst of their work, there was a steady stream of Annuity Board participants calling to check on their retirement balances, ask questions about their insurance claims or verify the amount of their annuitant check for the coming year.

“It was business as usual during the last five days of 1999” said Christy Teeter, Customer Relations department head. “We had a normal volume of calls with little interest or concern about Y2K.”

Roddy Cummins, executive officer for investments, said a few participants chose to move money out of the stock market before the end of the year. “However, most of our participants wisely stayed true to their long-term asset allocation and were rewarded with positive year-end results in the equity markets.”

At LifeWay Christian Resources, Nashville-based employees in facility operations and information systems worked New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day to ensure that the agency would be open on Monday, Jan. 3.

Utilities and electronic information systems were turned off Dec. 31 to prevent any possible problems due to power surges. Since no Y2K-related utilities problems occurred in Metropolitan Nashville, LifeWay systems were turned back on Jan. 1.

Many information systems personnel returned to LifeWay or dialed in from home to turn on and check systems. Some problems related to equipment having been turned off, rather than to Y2K issues, were identified and corrected.

Chapman suggested that while the technology may have changed with the new year, spiritual realities are fundamentally unchanged. “Millions of people are still lost and in need of forgiveness, uncounted people still ache with loneliness, alienation, and other hurts, the Bible is still God’s Holy Word, Jesus is still sufficient for every person’s needs, and we are still commanded to be salt and light to the world,” he said. “It is a challenging and wonderful time to minister to people and serve the Lord.

    About the Author

  • Todd Starnes