The National Baptist Convention USA Congress of Christian Education is approaching in two weeks. Dallas, TX. here we come and the real question is "WHY IS NO ONE EXCITED?" Now i will admit that part of my post is from thoughts from Pastor E. Houston from Kentucky (THE WIRE) but we are thinking on the same lines.
The issue is why is no one excited?We are about to experience the changing of the guard in all four major conventions within a short period of time.
This year, there are contested elections in the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. and the National Baptist Convention of America, Inc. International. Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc. will be electing a new chieftain, apparently without any opposition. And the National Missionary Baptist Convention of America will soon begin their process of elections within the next few months.
I should be giddy; I should be interested and involved; I should be watching with great interest.
SO, WHY IS NO ONE EXCITED
The reality of today is that the paradigm of our National Conventions are in great need of prayerful examination. Little has changed since the historic NBC/NBCA split of 1915. Basically the same structures are in place: There are women missionary unions (which are dying all over the country in favor of “women ministries” or localized names for ministries for the women); Most churches have some type of men’s work, but on a national level, it’s dying. Oddly, the largest auxiliaries in most of our churches, music ministry, are largely ignored in most of the conventions.
In most of the conventions, the Presidency is held by, what I believe, are godly men who love the Lord. However, they are shepherding conventions that are not stuck because of the infusion of new leadership, they are stuck because the constituency is just not there.
Let’s look at it. In order to be a participating member, the average convention will ask for at least $1,000 of annual representation. However, to get to the convention, with airfare ridiculously high and hotels that are making major profits for a room that, if you go to the convention to be active as a delegate you won’t spend more than 8 hours in the room. If the room is $200 per night, that means you are paying $25 per hour to stay in that said room (8 hours) – or consider it like this – you are paying the hotelier $8.50 per hour NOT to stay in your room.
Airfares are ridiculously high. All of the national conventions are losing members in the Western United States because of the $500-$800 round trip airfare to fly from Los Angeles, San Diego, Seattle, Portland, Oakland, Sacramento, Fresno, Bakersfield, Orange County, etc. to go to the Midwest and Southern United States where most of our national meetings are held.
Many pastors struggle with asking a congregation to send them to the convention under these uncertain financial times. In this age of technology, is there really a need for a “Board Meeting?” In these times, is it really necessary to conduct business like we’re stuck in 1915. Why do we need a board of over 50 people to decide the work of a convention? Why is it that when you come to a convention you’ll hear either preachers who are not affiliated with your convention (which means there is a loss of support) or it’s the same one or two preachers who preach every year?
The reality of the thought process to developing the program is a person asks, “XYZ, do you want to preach?” the minister responded: “Yes sir, brother president.” “ABC, do you want to preach?” the minister responded: “Yes sir, brother president.” “DEF, do you want to preach?” the minister responded: “Yes sir, brother president.” “All right, we have made out our program, the Lord is pleased.”
Here is the reality of what has happened to our conventions? I think we need to look at a few things:
So what can be done to engender enthusiasm of those young people like me? I’m not sure. But in economic times like these, some consolidation should be on the table.
Oh well, I could must be dreaming to think these conventions are really ready to move forward . . .
Pastor Charles Moore