NASHVILLE (BP) — Less than three weeks after the Boy Scouts voted to permit openly homosexual youth as members, a messenger to the Southern Baptist Convention moved that an alternative organization be sought.
The motion during the June 11-12 SBC annual meeting called for a special task force to explore “any available youth programs as well the possibility of offering a substitute program for those desiring to find an avenue for their boys to learn leadership skills and moral standards once offered by the Boy Scouts of America, seeing they have lost their way and lost their moral compass, the Bible.”
The SBC Executive Committee, however, declined to recommend creation of a task force to review or create a boys civic organization during its Sept. 16-17 meeting in Nashville.
The Executive Committee declined to recommend the creation of the task force sought by messenger Harold M. Phillips of Maryland, “believing it is not in the purview of the Southern Baptist Convention to create an alternative civic organization for boys or to have a task force expressly or tacitly endorse one scouting alternative over another.”
The EC response to the motion will be reported to the 2014 SBC annual meeting in Baltimore.
Supplementary materials provided to Executive Committee members recounted the existence of two longstanding Southern Baptist-based programs — Royal Ambassadors for boys in grades 1-6 and Challengers for young men in grades 7-12, both sponsored by the SBC auxiliary Woman’s Missionary Union. Both RAs and Challengers primarily focus on missions education and involvement but also entail the development of Christ-like character and have elements of outdoor recreation.
The Boy Scouts, at a national meeting May 23, opened their membership ranks to openly homosexual youth. In response, an independent organization called Trail Life USA rooted in Christian teachings is in its fledgling stages.
Frank Page on CP & ethnic involvement
Frank Page, president of the Executive Committee, reported to committee members on initiatives for continued strengthening of the Cooperative Program and ethnic involvement in the SBC.
Page said a “Great Commission Advance” is being developed by a group of SBC entity and state convention representatives “to promote Southern Baptist missions and ministries through the Cooperative Program.”
The Great Commission Advance will set forth strategies to “develop better and more innovative ways to share the message of cooperative missions,” Page said.
“So pray for that group of people — pastors, executives, national and state entity-level persons — as we … work hard in sharing that great message.” Page said. “We want the Great Commission of our Lord Jesus advanced.”
The Great Commission Advance, to be launched at next year’s SBC annual meeting in Baltimore, will move forward from the “1% Challenge” led by Page the last two years asking churches to increase by 1 percentage point their allocation to the Cooperative Program, which undergirds missions and ministries by state Baptist conventions and by the Southern Baptist Convention nationally and internationally.
In ethnic involvement in the SBC, Page said, “We’re encouraging these churches into deeper involvement in our convention work at every level. We thank God for that which has happened but we believe we have a long ways to go.”
The African American Advisory Council and Hispanic Advisory Council both are in the second year of a three-year process, Page said.
An Asian American Advisory Council has held its first meeting, Page continued, and a fourth advisory council will begin this year involving representatives of 28 other ethnic fellowships in the SBC.
The ethnic councils “are helping us understand better the needs of our brothers and sisters, that we might be more sensitive and we might encourage them into deeper involvement,” Page said.
Page asked for prayer for his travels as “the CEO — the chief encouraging officer of the convention — to encourage our brothers and sisters in the work of the Lord. I do that everywhere I can.”
Through Thanksgiving, Page said he will be attending 32 meetings in 20-plus states.
“It’s going to be very intense, but it’s a great opportunity to touch many, many people with a word of encouragement,” Page said.
In other business, the Executive Committee:
— addressed a motion from the Houston annual meeting for the SBC to withdraw fellowship from Lake Shore Baptist Church in Waco, Texas. The EC voted to report at the 2014 annual meeting that Lake Shore formally voted to sever its relationship with the SBC on Dec. 4, 2000, and has never rescinded that vote. The Houston motion was based on Lake Shore’s support of Planned Parenthood.
— renamed its former Press Relations Policy to Media Relations Policy, primarily 1) to utilize the 2012 change in names for its committee and workgroup structure and 2) to turn from using “press” to “media” in the policy because some translation software often renders “press” as “push.” The updated policy is printed after this article.
— approved a resolution of appreciation for Veryl Henderson upon his Dec. 31, 2013, retirement as executive director-treasurer of the Hawaii Pacific Baptist Convention.
The Executive Committee commended Henderson on his achievements during nearly 11 years as executive director-treasurer, 25 years of service in various other capacities with the Hawaii convention and eight years with the Colorado Baptist General Convention.
“Known as an encourager, Henderson’s ministry has been marked by innovative and visionary leadership in assessing and meeting needs, tireless service to others, ministerial effectiveness in leading others, and genuine humility in relationships with others,” reads the resolution to be presented at the Hawaii-Pacific annual meeting.
The resolution notes that the number of Hawaii-Pacific churches grew from 113 to 152, or 34.5 percent, during his leadership as executive director, and the convention baptized 6,400 people, including more than 800 in the most recent year of record. In Cooperative Program giving, according to the resolution, the convention’s $1.2 million in CP contributions in 2012 had grown 35 percent in the previous decade.
— responded to a referral from the Houston annual meeting that the SBC begin displaying on its website the names of all SBC-elected trustees, noting that the practice is already in place.
“SBC entity trustee information is routinely posted on the dropdown directory of services menu bar on the front page of SBC.net. Presently serving trustees are listed at the trustees link position immediately below the link to each SBC entity listed on the directory of services webpage,” SBC Executive Committee chairman Ernest Easley said.
“In the same format, they are printed in the SBC Annual containing the same information presented to the messengers of the SBC annual meeting at the time of [the trustees] initial election,” said Easley, pastor of Roswell Street Baptist Church in Marietta, Ga.
Also during the meeting, Thom Rainer, president of LifeWay Christian Resources, presented checks to the Executive Committee totaling nearly $608,000 designated for the SBC’s two mission boards. The funds were mission offerings given this summer by more than 100,000 participants in LifeWay’s Fuge, CentriKids and World Changers ministries.
Art Toalston is editor of Baptist Press; Diana Chandler is BP’s staff writer. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).
MEDIA RELATIONS POLICY
FOR THE MEETINGS OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
Southern Baptist Convention
(Adopted Sept. 17, 2013)
The sessions of the full Executive Committee are open and “on the record.”
It is understood by this that the actions and recommendations of the body may be reported by both the denominational and secular media.
It is understood also that public statements made in the full meeting of the Executive Committee are likewise “on the record.” Unless a speaker specifically requests that, for good and sufficient reasons, certain of his statements (specifically and publicly identified) are “off the record,” all public statements are subject to news reporting.
Though Committees and Workgroups of the Executive Committee are also open to the press, editors and reporters may attend these meetings on a “background rules” basis: (1) No direct quotation of any matter. (2) No attribution to any person.
It is to be understood that Committee and Workgroup discussions and recommendations are tentative and subject to the action of the full Executive Committee. These meetings are open to the press, however, to provide the necessary background for accurate, complete and well-balanced reporting of the sessions of the full Executive Committee.
It is further understood that the Executive Committee, its Committees, and Workgroups have the right and responsibility to conduct executive sessions in unusual circumstances, such as the consideration of certain delicate personality and personnel matters which could not be handled wisely in open session without unnecessarily embarrassing individuals.
The staff and members of the Executive Committee will provide every assistance possible to members of the media to enable them to do accurate, complete and well-balanced reporting.
This open policy of full cooperation with news media representatives is a recognition by the Executive Committee of its responsibility to keep Southern Baptists fully informed about the work they sponsor and support through the Southern Baptist Convention and its agencies.