If I’ve read correctly: the lowest messenger total attending any BGCT annual meeting during the past 50 years (1900+ previously in Dallas)?
Over 2000 messengers attended the annual meeting last year in Amarillo–a city smaller by almost 6 million people than the DFW area, and over 300 miles from all of Texas’ metropolitan-size cities.
On Monday night last year, I saw no empty seats in Amarillo’s colesium as Rick Warren spoke. This week on Monday night, I saw mostly empty seats in the arena as Dr. Everett delivered a good sermon/talk–during his first chance to do so to one group of Texas Baptists gathered in a single venue, receiving much advertisement, in order to hear him.
Overall, the business sessions of the annual meeting seemed to run smoothly and to be tired. Not to be negatively critical: I’m glad things went without conflict, but I’m sad for the lack of inspiration/excitement which has been felt during other annual meetings.
I haven’t checked the numbers myself, but someone I trust said this was the lowest messenger count since 1949.
An interesting thing has happened in recent years. We get feedback that some of the regular attenders stir clear of the meetings in the bigger cities. I assume this is because our older Texas Baptists who live in rural areas are not keen on driving in the big city; I know this is the case with my parents. This speculation is, of course, not based on hard data but on what I’ve heard.
It’s good to get your feedback, David, and I hope others will respond.
A Baptist Standard article reporting on last year’s annual meeting mentioned what I referred to, and an article by Ken Camp on Tuesday of this week refers to the same.
I can understand your reference to older folk choosing to avoid the traffic in big cities–I feel the same way! The DFW area, however, has a population of over 6 million residents–several hundred thousand of whom must be Texas Baptists. Subtracting the Baptists living in the DFW area who align now with the SBTC still results in a number too great to be held by the arena in which we met. The attendance of fewer messengers in Ft. Worth this year makes me even prouder of the Baptists who attended last year’s annual meeting in Amarillo for the distances many of them had to travel–and especially of those (not all of them elected messengers, but very many attending after work in town or the area) who attended on the Monday night of that convention when, again, I remember seeing few empty seats in the colesium.
I think the convention staff members and the committee/s responsible for it did their parts in promoting attendance at/participation in the annual meeting; I’m not so sure others of us did our parts. The meeting can’t get much simpler to attend without moving to virtual attendance via Internet.
Virtual Attendance, what a novel idea. I am so glad you recommend that David.
I am thrilled with the election of Dr. Lowrie. He may not make much of a difference, but at least for one year, the TBC guy did not end up on top. Now, if he will just allow hold his course and also go for the second term (what do you want to bet he is opposed if he does?).
One more thing, Dr. Randall Everett gave an excellent speech. He also showed more class than we have seen on the platform in a long time.
I don’t know that I recommend virtual attendance via some kind of Internet/satellite connection; we seem to have enough trouble figuring out how to do well/consistently the things we already know how to do without adding the complications of technology which is brand-new to more than half the folks who’d be asked to use it for annual meeting purposes. It may be the way of the future, but I don’t know if it’s the way of “the now.” Our apparent motivation troubles as Texas Baptists seem to be spirit/purpose-related, not technology/convenience-related.
I’m not so concerned who serves in any officer position of the BGCT, as the interests become too divided and the influence is too insignificant. Texas is “the Lone Star State.”
Dr. Everett did do a good job on Monday night, and at other times during the course of the meeting. I wish that 5000 more Texas Baptists, at least–of the hundreds of thousands living in the DFW area–had been present on Monday to hear what he had to say.
The “class” thing: it’s done, time to move on helpfully.
I heard Randel Everett over the Internet as I sat here at home. He lifted the name of Christ, with conviction and joy, before talking about any human effort at all. It was not distinctive or moderate or liberal or conservative or TBC or SBC or CBF or any other particular slant on Baptistness, and hallelujah for that.