SAN ANTONIO (BP)–Of the 8,618 messengers who attended the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting in San Antonio, the greatest number, 1,592, were from Texas, according to unofficial totals provided by SBC registration secretary Jim Wells.
Other leading states were Tennessee, with 652 messengers; North Carolina, 626; Georgia, 600; and Florida, 522.
Of the 7,396 people who pre-registered online, 6,430 attended the San Antonio meeting, representing 3,558 churches, according to the unofficial totals. Last year’s SBC registration total in Greensboro, N.C., was 11,639.
This was the third year for student volunteers from Baptist Collegiate Ministries to staff the registration booths, Wells told Baptist Press. The computer-savvy young people streamline the process, taking as little as half a minute to complete a registration, Wells said.
“The great thing is to get to know not only these college students but volunteers from all over the country who that come and just say, ‘I want to work and I want to serve the Lord by serving Southern Baptists,'” Wells said. “When you’re registering 8,600 messengers, we could not do that without the volunteer force that we have.”
The registration and credentialing process has become easier with the advent and refining of online registration, Wells said. It is still challenging, however, to ensure a church is represented when messengers arrive without the proper credentials. Wells said he does everything possible within the SBC bylaws to make sure the church is represented.
“It’s a team effort,” Wells said. “It’s just a microcosm of what the Lord’s work needs to be, everybody cooperating and working together, ministering together to reach people with the Gospel. That’s what it’s all about.”
Unofficial state-by-state messenger registration numbers follow: Alaska, 9; Alabama, 512; Arkansas, 336; Arizona, 54; California, 160; Colorado, 43; District of Columbia, 8; Delaware, 1; Florida, 522; Georgia, 600; Hawaii, 11; Iowa, 11; Idaho, 12; Illinois, 143; Indiana, 73; Kansas, 63; Kentucky, 399; Louisiana, 370; Massachusetts, 3; Maryland, 75; Maine, 4; Michigan, 28; Minnesota, 7; Missouri, 282; Mississippi, 476; Montana, 2; North Carolina, 626; North Dakota, 5; Nebraska, 9; New Hampshire, 3; New Jersey, 2; New Mexico, 87; Nevada, 31; New York, 30; Ohio, 107; Oklahoma, 367; Oregon, 3; Pennsylvania, 22; Puerto Rico, 4; Rhode Island, 2; South Carolina, 426; South Dakota, 3; Tennessee, 652; Texas, 1592; Utah, 13; Virginia, 331; Vermont, 9; Washington, 11; Wisconsin, 9; West Virginia, 37; Wyoming, 7.
Official totals for the 2007 convention will be available at the end of June, Wells said.