Informal Annual Meeting survey

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I would like to hear from you regarding what you liked and disliked at the Annual Meeting in Amarillo. I’m looking for the kind of comments that can help us plan next year’s meeting in Fort Worth. In other words, did you like how we organized the exhibit hall or could it have been done better? Did you find the greeters helpful? Did you like having worship followed by business on Tuesday morning? We’re open to suggestions, as well.

The Committee on Convention Business plans the Annual Meeting each year and the BGCT staff makes it happen. Help us as we look toward Fort Worth.

9 Responses to “Informal Annual Meeting survey”

  1. Lee Says:

    Thanks for the opportunity.

    1. Amarillo was a fantastic location for a convention. The convention hall was great, there was plenty of parking without having to walk halfway across the state, it was free, there was no rush hour traffic, and it wasn’t that far from the door to anywhere in the hall.

    2. Exhbit hall was good. I noticed that BTST and Mercer, out of state, CBF and Alliance-partner institutions, got prominent space. So can we get over the pettiness and allow Southwestern and the other SBC entities to exhibit, and treat them like the brothers and sisters in Christ that they are instead of enemies?

    3. The schedule was fine on Monday, however, I thought the evening session was a little awkward, with three speakers, it was sure hard on my rear end. Of course, keeping Rick Warren for the end was a good way to make sure the hall didn’t empty out, but if you are going to give a good keynote speaker an hour time slot, don’t lead up to it with two other long sermons. I would suggest eliminating the “Annual Sermon” altogether, using that time slot for the President’s address, and having just the keynote speaker on Monday evening.

    4. Could one of the worship service times involve a praise band and a contemporary style? I mean up to date contemporary, not choruses from the 80’s that are in the Baptist Hymnal, sung to organ and piano accompaniment. I realize most convention goers are past 60, but it might be nice, and it might attract a few messengers.

    5. By all means, on Tuesday, have the worship first and then the business session. There were few people who left after the Annual Sermon on Tuesday, as opposed to the hundreds who left after the business session in Dallas last year.

  2. Tim Dahl Says:

    I know that some people complain about it, but I liked Amarillo. The convention hall was nice. I realize that we needed the space of two areas for the booths, but it seemed kind of awkward.

    I was always asking for directions…and very few of the “helpers” were helpful. Usually there was another messenger heading in the direction I needed, and they helped me.

    I’m not sure if I would want more variety of workshops, or have them more culturally relevant. It seemed that quite a few were just promos for organizations. I saw only 3 that I really wanted to go to. However, the ones I went to were great!

    Ok, no more professionally made movies/videos. The attitude around me was, “why did they waste money on that?”

    Can we have some updated worship? Please??? How about just one session that is NOT before the convention begins on Monday. Sunday is a travel day. Oh, and don’t label it as a kid’s worship, or college/young adult. That is horribly patronizing.

    Thanks for getting Rick Warren. His message was truly inspiring. Also, the FBC Amarillo pastor was great as well. I would ask us to find more pastors to speak and less academics. Out of 5700 churches in the BGCT, do we have to pick a professor from Baylor as our 1st seat, and a large church pastor (who’s done more than his fair share in the convention) as the 2nd seat for the convention sermon next year? This is probably one of the biggest complaints I hear: The BGCT is ran, and only participated in, by a select crowd. Let’s open up the gates of involvement some, ok?

    The pitiful amount of time left for business at the end was down heartening. It seemed like if we really wanted any discussion, it would have been truncated by lack of time. Perhaps that was on purpose, perhaps not. It definitely “felt” wrong.

    Tim Dahl

  3. Ferrell Says:

    This is very helpful. I hope others will their views.

    Tim, the Committee on Convention Business moved the worship service to the beginning of the session because they were trying to solve the problem of early departures from final session — it often became a ghost town for the annual sermon. I believe they set aside the same amount of time for business as in the past. It accomplished their purpose, now the question is in regard to unintended consequences and whether or not they outweigh the gains. Not an easy one to figure out.

  4. Lee Says:

    Perhaps the appearance that the BGCT is run by a select crowd is one of the reasons for messenger registration to be approaching low points not seen since 1949. That may also explain why the shortness of the last business session and the parliamentary moves made to shut down any discussion of the performance of the executive board and administration looked “orchestrated.”

  5. Jay Fleming Says:

    I enjoyed the convention overall. There is always a workshop or two that strike my fancy, and this year was no exception. It looked to me, though, that Jim Denison and Joel Gregory need to be assigned larger rooms.

    Where is Lifeway? Did they get un-invited along with SWBTS? It doesn’t seem right without a large bookstore setup in the exhibit hall.

    As was suggested above, please cut out the professionally-produced videos about the budget, etc. Throughout the video with the little boy, all I could think about was “What did this cost to make? How is that good stewardship?”

    I think I understand the logic behind the Tuesday morning schedule, but the only way it can work is if there is nothing that comes up in the business session that requires a ballot vote, and then further action. Some of us thought that the vote on the recommendation to refer the motion concerning the outbound call center was too close for Bro. Vernon to call. Of course, if he had agreed, we would have had to vote by ballot and then wait around however long it took for the results to come back to the platform so we could proceed with the discussion. Was there a contingency plan for what to do in that situation? It is my opinion that the only scheduled time for considering motions MUST NOT be the last major item in the order of business.

  6. Ferrell Says:

    Where is LifeWay?

    We’ve struggled to find a good solution to the book store situation, but I think getting closer. LifeWay was there in Amarillo, though not in the way that it had been been prior to 2004.

    Years ago we had one big one, Baptist Sunday School Board/LifeWay, but they didn’t sell some products people were interested in. So we went to two stores — LifeWay and Smyth & Helwys. That ate up a lot of space. Also we felt like the stores were sometimes not bringing the most up-to-date and wanted items; they seemed to be pushing stuff they had difficulty selling.

    We tried running our own bookstore (San Antonio). That worked well for shoppers, but it was a major drain on staff resources and we really did not have the expertise to do it on right. We then tried an independent Christian bookseller (Austin); but they didn’t make enough money to make it worth their time and effort.

    In Dallas and Amarillo, we invited book publishers to have individual exhibits. LifeWay, Smyth & Helwys. Bible Quest, American Bible Society, Home Place, Casa Bautista, International Bible Society and our own BaptistWay Press were at this year’s meeting. Zondervan backed out late. I’ve been told that LifeWay was very pleased with the approach and will try to have a larger presence next year.

    I’m like you, Jay; I miss the big store. One other related factor is this: Internet shopping has made a tremendous number of books available for purchase at great prices to anyone with a computer. Years ago, the Annual Meeting book store provided a means whereby people who were not near a physical store to see the latest that had been published and to buy what they needed. That changing reality makes the big store less needed.

    Regarding the video:

    We budgeted $20,000 for production of the video, which was about $5,000 less than the last two years. We’ve not paid the final bill, but I fully expect it to come in under budget. We did several things to bring in a quality product at a reasonable price. We shot all of the actual missions footage with our staff, piggybacking with news coverage during the year and avoiding expensive outside shooters. Also, we used the shell story about the children and the grandfather both for the main YEC video and the budget video, instead of having two separate video expenses. The result was that while we saved money for the BGCT, we produced a more expensive-looking product.

    To me, the most important question regarding the budget video was whether it effectively communicated the diverse ministries of the convention. I think it had some shortcomings there. Part of the problem was that we chose to focus only on missions and didn’t bring in the vast array of other efforts funded by the budget.

    I hope this helps.

  7. Jay Fleming Says:

    Ferrell, thanks for the reply. To me, the issue with the video has more to do with what it accomplishes with the group gathered in the convention hall/arena. Does that crowd of pastors and other church leaders really need to see something that by nature can only scratch the surface of all our convention is doing? My guess is that we already know more than the video showed us. Unless it does double duty as a promotional item released to churches, then it seems a waste of time and money, no matter how restrained the budget.

  8. Ferrell Says:

    Good points, Jay. In fact, I failed to mention that we do make the video available to churches. In the Budget Summary booklet there is a form to order the video and/or the detailed budget book. There is no cost because we want churches to use the video to promote the Cooperative Program.

  9. Tim Dahl Says:

    About the Video:

    After the video was over, I was left sitting there thinking…”what was that about? We actually paid for that?” I’m not sure it was as effective as people had hoped it would have been.

    The rest of the budget presentation, just seemed like a summary. And, even though the administrative portion of the budget was flashed up for about 3 seconds, there were no actual words given it. Over all I have to give the Budget Presentation at the BGCT Annual Convention an “F-.” On top of that, there was little discussion allowed concerning motions having to do about the BGCT financial situation. Reffering it to the ExBoard may have been the proper thing to do according to RRO, but not very baptistic in my opinion. It just leads to more of a feeling of discontent. I don’t want to be overly harsh, but I do want to communicate my dissatisfaction.

    Lee Saunders,

    There may be some credence to the continued lack of convention participation due to some people feeling like an elitist group controls things…but I doubt that is the main reason. I tend to believe that it is a belief of denominational uselessness that leads towards inactivity. The BGCT isn’t the only convention/denomination that is finding apathy its greatest enemy. I think it seems to be encroaching on all denominations.

    Tim Dahl

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