NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Online registration for the 2006 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Greensboro, N.C., 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 online registration has received “a great response from messengers and is growing each year.”
Last year, the third year for the online service, 79.2 percent of messengers to the annual meeting in Nashville registered online, up from 57.2 percent for the 2004 annual meeting in Indianapolis.
When 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 10 — after which registration must be done at the registration desk beginning at 4 p.m. June 11.
Names can be added, edited and deleted up to June 10 as well. 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.
“We’re looking forward to a great convention in Greensboro, as we come together to focus on keeping the main thing the main thing, and that is reaching people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” said Wells, director of missions for the Tri-County Baptist Association in Ozark, Mo., who was elected as SBC registration secretary in 2002.