Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Pastors' Conference gets $141,549

As reported by the Associated Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Pastors’ Conference is funded with $141,549.00 from the Southern Baptist Convention’s operating budget. This means that local autonomous Southern Baptist churches, which send money to national headquarters through the Cooperative Program, are helping to fund this bigwig pastors’ conference.

Those of you who are regulars here already know what I’m going to ask, don’t you?

If local autonomous churches can pool their resources to cooperatively fund a national conference for pastors, why can’t local autonomous churches pool their resources to cooperatively fund a national review board for the responsible assessment of abuse reports about pastors?

Why do Southern Baptist officials insist that the local churches are so absolutely autonomous that no cooperative effort can be made for the better protection of church kids against predatory pastors, and yet Southern Baptist officials have no problem at all with the local churches making a cooperative effort for the promotion of bigwig pastors at a national conference?

The Southern Baptist Pastors’ Conference is known for being a “launching pad to the SBC presidency.” It’s where the rising stars of Baptistland go when they want to rise even further in their high-powered, high-profile careers. And local autonomous churches all across the country help to fund those pastors’ ambitions . . . to the tune of at least $141,549.

This budget item for the Pastors' Conference is shown in the records of the SBC Executive Committee. That's the top-dog committee of the Southern Baptist Convention -- the guys who actually run things in the denomination. This committee, which allows $141,549 for the Pastors’ Conference, is the same committee that didn’t budget a single dime to study the possibility of providing local churches with the resource of a denominational review board, similar to what other Protestant faith groups have, for the assessment of clergy abuse reports. And it didn’t budget a single dime to consider the creation of a denominational database of credibly-accused clergy so that predatory pastors would not be able to church-hop so easily.

Without even so much as a legitimate, funded study, the SBC Executive Committee completely rejected this sort of cooperative effort toward clergy accountability, and it did so despite the fact that over 8000 local church “messengers” voted to instruct the Executive Committee to conduct such a study. In effect, the Executive Committee simply thumbed its nose at the local churches and did what it wanted. . . which was nothing.

So, when it comes to instituting clergy accountability systems, the SBC Executive Committee ignores the expressed will of the local churches and sets aside a zero-dollar budget. But when it comes to promoting the bigwig pastors, the SBC Executive Committee doles out big bucks.

I think it says a lot about where their true values lie. They obviously care a great deal more about promoting their cronies than they do about protecting kids.

Incidentally, in addition to the $141,549 from the SBC operating budget, the Associated Baptist Press reports that the SBC’s North American Mission Board, Crossway, and LifeWay contributed at least $10,000 each in the form of “diamond-level sponsorships” for support of the Southern Baptist Pastors’ Conference.


Tom Rich said...

Amen, Christa. Great article.

Anonymous said...

I agree, but how do we get the word out to the masses?

Maybe one day the Internet will be that tool that stops these men and their ways.

Just keep it ongoing and pray.

Jim said...

Use Facebook and Twitter...the word will spread like wildfire and there is nothing SBC leaders can do about it. If the leader of Egypt can be forced from office on the strength of social media, the same can be used to change SBC leaders' attitudes about pedophile preachers.

PG said...

They do not care. They have never cared. They will never care. I agree with Jim. Post it and post it and post it. I've decided that is all I can do. I post Christa's blogs. I also post newspaper articles that are mentioned in her blogs. What better way to get the message to SBC folks than from us FORMER SBC folks who have SBC FRIENDs on Face Book. It is the only way I can get the information out there and I do it as much as possible.

John Doe said...

They could but they CHOOSE not to.

There is your answer.