SPRINGDALE, Ark. (BP) — Candidates to serve on committees pivotal to the Southern Baptist Convention are being sought by SBC President Ronnie Floyd.
In addition to sending letters to SBC entity and state convention leaders, Floyd is broadening his call for candidates for several committees whose work is key to the SBC’s annual meeting each year.
In his letter, Floyd explained: “As SBC President, it is my privilege and responsibility to appoint two representatives from each qualified state or territory and the District of Columbia to serve on the SBC’s Committee on Committees. This Committee is responsible for nominating the Committee on Nominations, which in turn nominates trustees to the boards of the various SBC entities. I am also responsible for naming the Tellers and Credentials Committees. These two Committees serve at the SBC annual meeting, counting votes and qualifying messengers, respectively.
“Appointing these committees is a daunting challenge as you can imagine,” Floyd, senior pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas, wrote, “and we need your help in identifying solid candidates to serve.”
Floyd, in comments to Baptist Press, noted, “As the trustees go, so go the entities; therefore, it is imperative we appoint trustees who have a heart to serve the churches and a vision to reach North America and the world. This process all begins with the appointment of the Committee on Committees by the president” which “nominates the Committee on Nominations, which in turn nominates the trustees of our Southern Baptist entities.”
The Committee on Committees, appointed by the SBC president, and the Committee on Nominations, elected by messengers, are at the heart of the selection process of pastors and laypeople as trustees of the SBC entities, such as the International Mission Board and North American Mission Board.
Two other groups for which the SBC president is soliciting potential members — the Credentials Committee and Tellers — play important roles during the convention’s two-day sessions. The Credentials Committee is responsible for addressing any registration uncertainty involving a messenger. Tellers are involved in any votes by messengers on motions and other business matters.
Floyd also noted he is seeking candidates to serve on the Resolutions Committee, which frames proposed stances to messengers on missions and evangelism as well as important cultural issues.
“My prayer,” Floyd told Baptist Press, “is that God would give me the right people to appoint and they will take their role seriously. These are Kingdom moments; therefore, we need these men and women to rise to this occasion of providing strategic spiritual leadership.”
Floyd’s letter set forth qualifications for committee candidates:
“* Christ-like character, unquestionable integrity, and a commitment to the inerrancy of Scripture as the written Word of God and to reaching our world with the gospel of Christ.
“* In accordance with SBC Bylaw 15(A), Committee on Committee appointees ‘shall have been resident members for at least (3) years of Southern Baptist churches either geographically within the states or affiliated with the convention of the states from which they are appointed.’
“* SBC Bylaw 15(C) precludes simultaneous service on more than one board or committee of the Convention by any person or that person’s spouse unless specifically permitted by bylaw. You may not nominate to the Committee on Committees, the Tellers or Credentials committees any person who is currently serving (or whose spouse is serving) on any other SBC entity board, institution, commission, or committee.
“* A faithful history of financial support of the Convention’s missions and ministries, primarily through the Cooperative Program.
“* A variety of age, gender, position, and ethnicity: men and women, church staff and laymen, and representatives from large and small churches.”
Floyd asked that names of candidates for these groups be forwarded to him by Nov. 1 in one of the following ways: email to the president’s office at firstname.lastname@example.org; fax to 479-756-7110; or mail, 1709 Johnson Road, Springdale, AR 72762.
Floyd’s appointment of the Committee on Committees entails two representatives from each of the 34 states or regions that qualify for representation according to SBC Bylaw 30. The Committee on Committees meets in conjunction with the SBC annual meeting to nominate an equal number of members to the Committee on Nominations, which meets the following March, with one church-related employee and one layperson serving from each state or defined territory.
Floyd also is encouraging churches and pastors to provide the Committee on Nominations with recommendations when it begins its work later this fall. This committee nominates members of the Executive Committee; trustees for the International Mission Board, North American Mission Board, LifeWay Christian Resources, GuideStone Financial Resources and the six Southern Baptist seminaries; and members of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. The Committee on Nominations’ recommendations are submitted to messengers at each SBC annual meeting for approval.
For both the Credentials Committee and Tellers, the 2016 SBC annual meeting in St. Louis will entail new changes for registration and voting.
The Credentials Committee will be involved in the expansion of messenger representation from local churches. Two messengers, rather than one messenger, now can register for the annual meeting from each cooperating church that contributes to convention causes during the preceding fiscal year. Additionally, the convention will recognize 10 additional messengers from a cooperating church under one of the following options:
— One additional messenger for each full percent of the church’s undesignated receipts which the church contributed during the fiscal year preceding through the Cooperative Program, and/or through the convention’s Executive Committee for convention causes, and/or to any convention entity.
— One additional messenger for each $6,000 the church contributes in the preceding year through the normative combination of the Cooperative Program, designated gifts through the Executive Committee for convention causes or to any SBC entity.
The changes were adopted by messengers in June in Columbus, Ohio, completing a two-year approval process.
Tellers, meanwhile, will be involved in the convention’s first-ever use of electronic voting devices, which also was approved by messengers at June’s SBC meeting in Columbus, Ohio. The change to the SBC’s bylaws stipulates that electronic balloting protect “the integrity of the voting process” and provide for “messengers’ votes to remain confidential.”