Reflections on the 2008 MBC annual meeting


The 2008 annual meeting of the Missouri Baptist Convention is in the books. This convention proved to be interesting, as they all are, but also less eventful than many have been in the past. That being said, it wasn’t without its fascinating, surprising, exciting and even disappointing moments. I’ll try to recap some of the most significant moments.

We arrived on Sunday night and checked into our room. Now in the long run this isn’t a huge issue, but after moving to a new room on Monday let me just say that if you ever stay at the Millenium Hotel in St. Louis, make sure your room is in the taller tower. Moving from one tower to the other was literally like changing from a Motel 6 to a Marriott. The difference was stunning. I’m very thankful that my wife talked me into moving.

Monday at the Pastor’s Conference was enjoyable. I didn’t get to attend all of it, though I was there for a few of the messages. Junior Hill was strong, as always. I think the thing that surprised me the most throughout the entire convention was the lack of exposition that seemed to occur during much of the preaching. There were many great stories, lots of scripture referred to, but not a whole lot of pure exposition. Now I’m not one who mandates that every sermon must be expositional, but I do think we need more expository preaching. I like the words of my old college preaching professor in this area. He used to say, “Men, don’t preach purely expository messages. A couple times a year preach something else, repent, and then go back to exposition.”

Monday evening brought the Peace Committee report. I won’t go into detail too much about this report, but I will say that the Chairman’s personal comments prior to the official report show a deep impasse that greatly concerns me. It seems to me that peace is going to be very difficult to achieve, if it is possible at all.

Tuesday and Wednesday brought a series of interesting events. 3 of the 4 elections were decided on run-off ballots. Two of those were decided by less than 50 votes. This shows evidence that the MBC may have as deep a divide as the US does between Democrats and Republicans. Of course this is not really a surprise.

There was very little public animosity or dissension this year which was a wonderful move, it seemed to me. There were also precious few business motions that made it to the floor for discussion and/or a vote. This seems to be a trend both nationally and locally. I’m guessing this reflects a satisfaction with the job the Executive Committee is doing as they run the business of the convention during the rest of the year or it reflects a general sense of apathy across the convention. I’m not sure which is more accurate.

I also noticed that less than 25% of MBC churches were represented at this year’s meeting. This is disturbing. It think it is extremely important that we start seriously considering the possibility of mimicing the efforts of Oklahoma to webcast the meeting across the state which would allow messengers to attend the meeting without traveling across the state.

This was the first year that I had the privilege of addressing the convention from the platform. I was given the great honor of serving as Chairman of the Committee on Convention Committees. This meant that I had to present two reports to the convention. As I told a number of friends, I’m a big enough geek that getting to address the convention on my 30th birthday was a pretty good birthday present in my book. I’ve grown up attending meetings like this one and I’ve always looked forward to being involved in convention life. I know some of you are shaking your heads right now and I’m willing to admit that I’m slightly deranged, but unfortunately that’s who I am. 😉

I also was incredibly surprised, and undeniably excited, when I was contacted a couple of days before the convention and asked to consider being placed into nomination as the Convention Preacher for next year’s meeting. The convention messengers graciously affirmed that nomination and I am looking forward, with great anticipation, to preaching during the annual meeting which will be hosted at FBC Raytown in October of 2009. After John Swadley’s tremendous message at this year’s convention, however, I am faced with a tough act to follow.

All in all this convention was a positive one I believe. Although there were a few squabbles, I believe they were relatively insignficant and this convention appears to be moving forward. We do need to see greater reconciliation and we need to see a renewed commitment to gospel partnership, but I think the convention has potential to get there. I can assure you that I am praying to that end.

Micah is a husband to Tracy & a daddy to Grace, Kessed & Haddon. He's Senior Pastor at Brainerd Baptist Church in Chattanooga, TN. Most of all, he's a debtor to grace.

11 thoughts on “Reflections on the 2008 MBC annual meeting

  1. Even at “less than 25%”, you’re still way ahead of the SBC .. in all three of the years I’ve attended the convention.

    You are, however, somewhat behind the Jamaican Baptist Convention. Last year they had 25% of their members there; goodness knows what percentage of their churches.

  2. Why would you be surprised at the lack of exposition? Now, I’m out of touch with conventions, conferences, etc. now that feature the more well-known preachers in the convention, but at the conferences/conventions we attended when we were younger, exposition was almost always the exception and not the rule. I always felt that they were more of a preacher pep rally than anything people actually left having learned something.

  3. I thought I knew the word “exposition.” Are you using some kind of “Pastor-ease” here? It meant (from my previous Presbyterian view) to set forth, to set the tone of an event, or to serve as a forebearer of things to come. As a Southern Baptist, how now should I understand this word?

    Nice update. However (bet you knew this was coming!), what about the Association’s apparently-misappropriated assets? Are they recoverable? Is that process underway? Has the matter been dropped? Is there a “cover-up” afoot? Having only a “sketchy” inklng of the facts, it seemed too important an item, not to rate a mention.

    Blessings on tomorrow’s efforts for the Kingdom !

  4. Reggie, we are referring to exposition in the sense of “verse by verse” unwrapping of the biblical text. In my opinion it is unfortunate that few preachers use that method.

    As to the lawsuits, a motion was made to dismiss our suits against the 5 agencies, a few of us voted in favor of it, but it overwhelmingly failed. As such the suits will continue through our appeal which will be heard later this month. At that point, if we lose, they will be over and we will no longer have any hope of recovering the agencies.

  5. Expository preaching…ought there, with rare exceptions, be anything other than expository preaching? I grew up in a denomination and tradition in which Sunday sermons were themed around a text, but little or no exposition took place. If short sermonettes produce Christianettes, at best, how are our people to grow if 1) the tone for their lives is not set by Sunday expository preaching that edifies, exhorts, or comforts, and 2) if it is not followed by a daily life of digging into the Word ourselves?
    Thank God for some of my great heroes in the faith from the past whose preaching was expository–Spurgeon, Ryle, Boice, Barnhouse–and those who do so today: Piper, Sproul, Driscoll, and…Fries…
    I’m excited about your speaking at the convention next year. I want to be there, somehow, to hear it.
    Be God’s. God bless you.

  6. Micah,
    It was nice to run into you at the end of the convention. This was my first time attending the MBC annual meeting. One discouragement is the lack of attendance among churches, but also the 40 and younger crowd. Although it is very encouraging for you to bring the annual message next year.

    It seems that the peace committee is very divided, it appears to be more about “being right” than peace. I too was a little alarmed by the comments before the report, I think it just kept the water boiling.

    Keeping up the good work with the blog, I enjoy reading it. Congratulations on getting Bradshaw, he’s a stand-up guy!

    Tom Denton, Owensville

  7. I think I have conceived a logical way for the Gators to end up playing for the national championship.

    Follow me here:

    TT beat Texas this weekend and vaulted over a highly overrated Penn St. team. This leads me to believe that Florida can also vault over a undefeated Penn St if Florida beats a number 1.

    Here is what needs to happen:

    1. Texas Tech needs to lose to Oklahoma St. but beat Oklahoma.
    2. Alabama needs to beat LSU and win out to the SEC championship game.
    3. Penn St. doesn’t need to lose to Mich st. but a close and unimpressive game would be helpful.
    4. Florida needs to win out and beat a number 1 Alabama in the SEC championship game.

    If Alabama loses to LSU this weekend then we may be out of luck.

    By the way, congrats on being named next years convention speaker.

  8. Micah,

    Good to see you at the convention! Though this might be a shock, I concur with everything you have said here. I do pray we get those wayward agencies back into the MBC fold or that this situation draws to an end.

    I look forward to the leadership that was elected providing positive momentum toward reconciliation and restoration within our convention. I also look forward to hearing your message at next year’s meeting.

    Sola Gratia,
    Scott

  9. Aaron-

    I think it’s even easier than that. I think Texas Tech needs to simply lose one game, and then Florida needs to beat an undefeated Alabama in the SEC title game. Their strength of schedule will be one of the strongest in the country and Oklahoma and Texas’ will go down. This will allow them to leap into the top 2 where they will wipe the field with Penn State. I think it’s impossible to think that an undefeated Penn State will somehow be kept out of the title game.

    Scott-

    It was great to see you as well. We’ve got to get together soon and get to know each other better!

    Blessings
    Micah
    Col. 1:28-29

  10. Micah, maybe you are right. I think OU will beat TT handily. I just worry about Alabama taking care of business at LSU. Of course none of this matters if Florida loses to Vandy.

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