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Online registration opens for SBC in Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS (BP)–Online registration for the 2004 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Indianapolis opened Feb. 1.

Churches will be able to register their messengers online at the SBC website, www.sbc.net, to avoid waiting at the counter upon arrival at the convention while a registration volunteer types in various lines of information.

Jim Wells, SBC registration secretary, said more than 40 percent of messengers to the 2003 annual meeting in Phoenix registered online. He said he is expecting more people to register online this year both because the convention is expecting more messengers and because churches are realizing it’s a much simpler process than calling state conventions to request registration cards.

“I felt like online registration went very well last year,” Wells told Baptist Press. “There were no unforeseen problems and we’re thinking it will be bigger and better this year.”

By registering online, the SBC website gives a church a “messenger reference number” form to be printed out and presented by each messenger at the SBC registration booth in exchange for a nametag and a set of ballots.

The appropriate church-authorized representative must complete all online registration.

The process includes entering information normally found on the traditional messenger card as follows:

— the church’s seven-digit ID number, which is found on the church’s Annual Church Profile. To ensure security, a subsequent webpage includes a list of a number of randomly selected churches, in addition to the church matching the ID number. The church simply selects its name from the list and moves to the next step.

— the name of the church moderator or clerk whose name will appear on the printed form.

— the church’s membership, gifts to Southern Baptist causes and affiliations (local and state).

— the messengers’ names and information.

Online registration ends at midnight June 12 — after which registration must be done at the registration desk beginning at 4 p.m. June 13.

Names can be added, edited and deleted up to June 12. Each messenger must present the printed form that shows the messenger’s reference number — given on the website — at the registration booth in order to receive a nametag and set of ballots.

Technically, a person is not a messenger until the messenger reference number is presented at the registration booth. But, unlike the traditional method, the person is pre-registered before he or she arrives to the convention.

The traditional registration method also will be available for those churches unable to use Internet access.

“I just want to encourage messengers to come to Indianapolis,” Wells said. “I know we’re going to have a great convention, and we want to be of service in any way we can to the messengers.”

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