The 2005 Annual Meeting of the Louisiana Baptist Convention convenes next week in the facilities of First Baptist Church, West Monroe. The convention will be unique in several ways.
The 2005 Annual Meeting of the Louisiana Baptist
Convention convenes next week in the facilities of First Baptist
Church, West Monroe. The convention will be unique in several ways.
It will be the first state convention since
hurricanes Katrina and Rita struck the state. In many ways, it will be
like the gathering of a family after part of that family has been
struck by tragedy.
Certainly the program of the annual meeting will
reflect the needs caused by the hurricanes and the incredible responses
of individuals, churches and state Baptist conventions from across the
nation, and even foreign countries.
One can imagine that the traditional “hall talk”
will be relating stories about the double-whammy of the hurricanes.
Every church in the state was directly affected either by the
destruction of the storms, or by the aftermath, such as caring for
The convention gathering can provide a time of
encouragement, support and even therapy for those directly affected by
the hurricanes for the ministers and members of the churches who are
able to attend.
This year’s convention will provide a presidential
election that will be different in that both candidates are declared
inerrantists. The “moderates” have not fielded a “moderate” candidate.
This could signal something of a break within what has been a group
strongly committed to what is known as the inerrancy movement.
It will be interesting to see what messengers decide.
Another “unique” aspect of the meeting will be
messengers’ consideration of dissolving the Baptist Message Board of
Trustees and placing the publication of the paper under the direction
of the Executive Board staff. Strong feelings have been expressed on
this issue. There are opinion pieces on both sides on page three.
The issue’s importance extends beyond the present
situation and personalities because the effects will last far beyond
any personalities presently on the scene. The recommendation to put the
paper under the direction of the Executive Board staff must be approved
by a two-thirds majority to take effect.
There will be great interest in the Louisiana
College report. Concerned eyes have been following the transition of
the college, and the matter of accreditation. Hopefully, there will be
word from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools concerning
the accreditation to be reported to messengers.
Budget matters will also be addressed at the
convention. The budget that will be recommended by the Executive Board
will be $1 million less than this year’s. There are indications that
such a reduction may not be adequate to keep the budget balanced.
Economic realities in the state make such a reduction necessary, and
the full impact of the storms on Cooperative Program giving is still
This will be the first meeting of the state
convention since David Hankins took the helm at the beginning of this
year. Business matters brought to messengers through the state
convention’s Executive Board will be the first indication of the
leadership David Hankins will provide the state convention.
Another unique aspect of this year’s convention will
be what is called a revival on the Tuesday evening at 6:30 after the
convention’s afternoon conclusion. The one-night revival service
features evangelist Junior Hill, a Louisiana Convention’s favorite, and
Dennis Swanberg, humorist and self-described minister of encouragement
from West Monroe. Revival music includes an area choir and orchestra
and musical trio No Other Name. Certainly at this time in
Louisiana’s life, a revival is in order.