Registration has opened for churches to register messengers online for the Southern Baptist Convention's June 12-13 annual meeting in San Antonio.
For online registration, churches should go to the SBC Web site, www.sbc.net, which opened the 2007 registration process March 1.
Online registration can help messengers avoid waiting in line at the convention center while a registration worker types in various lines of information.
Jim Wells, SBC registration secretary, said, "Each year we are seeing more churches use the on-line registration system for which we are pleased."
Last year, the fourth year for the online service, 81.7 percent of messengers to the annual meeting in Greensboro, North Carolina, registered online, up from 79.2 percent for the 2005 annual meeting in Nashville.
When registering online, the SBC Web site 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 Web page 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 9 — after which registration must be done at the registration desk beginning at 4 p.m., June 10.
Names can be added, edited, and deleted online up to June 9. Each messenger must present the printed form that shows the messenger's reference number — given on the Web site — 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 without Internet access.
"We're looking forward to a great convention in San Antonio as we come together to focus on how to accelerate our efforts as Southern Baptists to reach people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ," said Wells, director of missions for the Tri-County Baptist Association in Ozark, Missouri, who was elected as SBC registration secretary in 2002.