A number of Southern Baptists bloggers have lamented not being able to go to the Southern Baptist Convention’s Annual Meeting in San Antonio. Give all the videos
put up online from the convention, I feel as if I was there.
While some have expressed even thankfulness that they could not go, I regret that I could not — and even now am looking forward to the 2008 Annual Meeting in Indianapolis — a scant three hours from Lexington! Why do I wish I could have gone to the Convention and why am I looking forward to next year’s? Here’s a few reasons off the top of my head:
1. Fellowshipping with other Southern Baptists. Over the past decade, approximately 10,000 Southern Baptists attend the annual meeting from all over the world. On occasion, I see some friends I have known in past churches or from seminary days gone by. At the 2006 convention, my family and I were able to fellowship with Chris Whaley, my former pastor back in college days. Chris helped me with my first summer intern positions in the early 1990s which really helped get my feet wet in full-time Kingdom work.
2. Seeing Christians cooperate. Some deplore the political nature of the convention, others lament over the parlimentary procedural nature of the convention (making into one long business meeting, of sorts). I like seeing Baptists come together and cooperate. We may not like some of the decisions concerning some of the resolutions — and we may have a problem with some of the agendas put forth. I, however, enjoy seeing 10,000 SBC messengers come together and have a say in the direction of our convention. To me, it’s a beautiful thing to see.
3. Taking my family along. I love going to these meetings with my wife. Why? Because I so seldom get to take her to anything like this (and depending on some weeks, I so seldom take her anywhere due to meetings, services, visitation, etc. You may say, “Matt, you have four kids — what about them?” They have a place for your children to learn, play, and have fun with other children their own age. It’s an incredible set-up.
4. Personally seeing what happens first-hand. I am head-long into the blogosphere. And it is so interesting to see how many different interpretations come about from someone’s address or motion from the floor, just to mention two. When I fail to attend the convention as I did this year, I have to rely on what others say about it who were there. As some consolation, I am thankful for SBC Voices who actually put up video footage from the convention so we can watch these particular addresses ourselves and come to our own conclusions. But nothing beats seeing it firsthand.
5. The ministry in surrounding areas. You go to the hotel, you have a chance to say you’re with the Southern Baptists for the convention and an opportunity opens up to plant Gospel seeds. You go to an area restaurant, same thing. You see someone on the street handing out a flyer or pamphlet denouncing what Southern Baptists are all about, and you have an opportunity to engage them in a conversation. Plus, they have booths at the convention which hand out free tracts to distribute to the various stores, hotels, restaurants and all points in-between.
6. The booths of all the SBC agencies, seminaries, colleges, and organizations. It’s so wonderful to see the ministries in which the SBC is engaged. God has blessed us financially, missionally, and educationally.
So when the time comes for the SBC Annual Meeting in Indianapolis in 2008, I’m there — it’s only a three hour drive and I just might take the whole family (we’ll see).
And as the old hymn writer wrote, “Oh, who will come and go with me?”
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