Monday, June 06, 2005

Down on the SBC - Part 1

Lately, I have been hearing a lot of negative things about the Southern Baptist Convention. I realize that the SBC is not a perfect organization and there is a lot that they can do better, but I want to remind some people of its highlights.

For starters the SBC is composed of several different parts. The first part of the organization is the over 42,000 churches. Each church that is a member is more or less a partner. They are not controlled by the convention; rather they have aligned themselves because of their common beliefs. They freely give to the convention to support missions and other aspects of the SBC. All of the churches agree in some form or another with the mission and theology held by the convention or else they can leave at any time.

The second is its Seminaries and Colleges. The SBC has six major seminaries scattered throughout the country and a handful of colleges. These institutions exist to train missionaries, pastors, and church workers. They are a place where approximately 13,400 people come to train for ministry. This component of the SBC is very important in a world were colleges and universities are becoming increasingly liberal and oppressive to conservatives; the SBC institutions are a place were students can come and learn and seek the truth of the scriptures in an environment that believes that scriptures are truth and perfect. Aside from the rocky past of the seminaries, they are a great place to train. To keep the education affordable credit hours are subsidized by the monies that the churches give.

The final part of the SBC for today's discussion is Guidestone (formerly the Annuity Board). This part exists to help students, pastors, and missionaries with health insurance and retirement options. Because so many workers in ministry are considered self-employed, they are on their own to find insurance and retirement plans. The SBC formed Guidestone to set up plans and help students obtain affordable coverage for themselves and their families. They also set up retirement accounts helping church workers have money to retire on. As a member of Guidestone, it is nice to have a organization that you can call and will help you weed through all the insurance jargan and help you pick safe and reliable retirement funds.

In the next article we will look at the publication arm of the SBC, Lifeway and also look at the missions components; the North American Mission Board and the International Mission Board. In the final article we will tackle the Baptist Faith and Message and the Baptist Press.

1 comment:

dc said...

Gotch, check out the rest of the discussion I threw down on my blog. I want to say that my views on the SBC are not intended to reflect negatively on the Convention, but the rather the state of worship and programming at the church level, particularly my own. I obviously cannot speak for other churches as I do not regularly attend anywhere else, so my scope is limited and most of my rantings are born out of the potential I see among my own congregation. Unrealized potential. That is not to say my church does not kick some butt in several areas. It does, I just hope to be an inside voice that is constantly pushing forward in my thinking and acting.
Love ya bro.

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