Tonight, I'm sitting in a hotel room in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Not because Jonesboro is just the garden spot of Arkansas, nor just so that I can have cable TV to watch Iron Chef America tonight, but I'm here for the Arkansas Baptist State Convention. The past two years I've been at each level of Southern Baptist organization: the local association, the state convention, and the national convention. The streak will probably end next year in Phoenix, because I just don't see making a 2 day drive to get to a 2 day meeting to drive 2 days back. While there are some benefits to going, such as some good preaching and the chance to reconnect with the occasional friend, that's just a bit too much.
So, what will we do, and why are we in Jonesboro for it? Well, I'm not sure how many total messengers we'll have. Last year in Benton I believe we had 777 messengers, which is down from being above 1000 back in the 1990s. However, the messengers that register will hear some good preaching, hear the reports of what the Arkansas Baptist agencies, boards, and entities have been up to for the last year. We'll hear the plans for the next year, and we'll vote on approving some of those plans and the budgets for them.
We'll also elect officers, trustees of agencies and boards, and approve (or deny) resolutions. It's basically an opportunity for all of the Baptist churches in Arkansas that support the work of the state convention to hold accountable the people that spend the money we send them. Not only will they make speeches and present reports, but many of these agencies will have people standing at booths in an exhibit hall who will attempt to answer whatever questions don't get asked in the session.
There will be plenty of informal meeting and encouragement happening on the side, a few good meals, and plenty of coffee consumed. It's the way we've done business for many years as Baptists. It works, even if it's not perfect.
Perhaps I'll blog more as we go through the next few days. Perhaps not, because I've still got to do Hebrew homework and do a few other things. We'll see you in a day or two if not…