Thoughts from the MBC
1) Once again a motion was made to drop the lawsuits against the breakway entities, and once again the motion overwhelmingly failed. However, this doesn't gel with the fact that around 40% of MBC churches have chosen an alternative giving plan that does not fund the lawsuits. What does this mean?... My guess is that the churches that don't support the lawsuits aren't coming to the convention. I'd say we're pretty close to a 50/50 split right now in Missouri Baptist life on whether or not to continue.
2) I don't feel right about the HLG vote. (Read here for background.) If the president and board of directors want to change the name of their institution to something else, who are we to say any different? And before you say, "That's a Missouri Baptist entity, we have the right to make that decision!" let me ask you... Did you know that the money the MBC gives to HLG represents a tiny fraction of their annual budget (less than 5%)? Should pennies on the dollar really give Gpa & Gma Jones from County Seat, MO the authority to override the board of trustee's educated decision? Not good.
3) The new convention center in downtown Springfield was pretty nice (see pic). However, the acoustics were pretty bad. And also, there is a real lack of restaurants within walking distance of the convention center. And all the chain restaurants (i.e. Applebees, Chilis, Friday's) are across town. I can see why we're losing conventions to other cities.
4) Between the convention center and the parking garage is a vacant, grassy lot where eventually there will be a hotel. Rather than pay the $5 for a day pass to the parking garage, guess what Missouri Baptists did?... You got it - parked in the vacant lot. I had to chuckle to myself. (You might be a redneck if you drive over a curb and sidewalk to park in a vacant city lot so you don't have to pay $5 to park in the garage.) All of them got courtesy warnings from the city. One guy walking by me from KC said, "If this was Kansas City they all would have been towed by now." Hey Missouri Baptists, just a thought... Be a blessing to the city that hosts you, and give them a little revenue by parking in the designated place. Sheesh.
5) Church planting is always a discussed topic at denominational meetings. The trend in church planting these days (at NAMB and elsewhere) seems to be planting in the great metropolitan centers. I recently heard Mark Driscoll refer to this as "upstream" church planting. The idea is that culture flows out of the cities. If you can impact the cities with the Gospel (the headwaters) you will impact everything "downstream" as well (suburbs, surrounding rural areas, etc.) What do you think? Does this idea have merit?
6) Ed Stetzer was hilarious and thought provoking as always. I also got to hear David Uth (pastor FBC-Orlando) and Danny Akin (president-Southeastern Seminary). Very good stuff.
7) John Marshall (Second Baptist-Springfield) was elected president of the convention. Very fitting. Dr. Marshall is the George Washington of the MBC. Respected by all.