Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Good Idea for Future State and National Annual Meetings?

First of all, Merry Christmas! Second, I represented SWBTS at the recent annual meeting of the Tennessee Baptist Convention, and it was a lot of fun seeing some old friends and making some new friends in my home state. I had an interesting conversation with a new friend who shared my concern about small church pastors not being able to afford attending both state and national annual meetings. He suggested that arrangements could be made so that a pastor could attend both at the same time and thus save a lot of money. How could this be accomplished? Well, all the state conventions and the national convention would have to cooperate and schedule their annual meetings during the same week. The pastor's conferences for the state and national conventions would occur at their normal times. All state business would be conducted at the various state venues on Tuesday. On Wednesday, state messengers would remain in the same venues, but their credentials would need to be verified so that they could vote in the national convention. All national business would be conducted on Wednesday. The state venues would be electronically connected to the primary national venue, and the moderator at the national venue would be able to recognize speakers at microphones in the various state venues. Votes could be conducted at all the venues, and the voting results could be simultaneously announced at all the venues. I talked to a communications specialist about this idea, and he said that current technology could make this idea a reality, but the technology would be expensive. The attendance at the primary national venue would be greatly reduced, but many more messengers would be involved than in past years in the national meeting via the state venues. Would connectionalism be inevitable in such an arrangement? Would the state and national entities be able to maintain complete autonomy apart from each other in such an arrangement? What do you think about this idea?