By: Bryant Sims, President of the South Carolina Baptist Convention
Once a year, the churches of the South Carolina Baptist Convention send messengers from their congregations to help set the course for our cooperative ministry. This gathering of South Carolina Baptists is called the “Annual Meeting.” This meeting is a vitally important part of Baptist life. There are at least four important things that take place when we gather together that benefit our cooperative efforts.
We worship. Some of the greatest times of worship I can remember are times when churches from all across our state were gathered at the Annual Meeting. Last year, might have been one of the most powerful times of worship yet. For 2019, I am reorganizing the structure of our meeting to disperse times of worship more evenly throughout the schedule. Each session will be opened with a challenge from a SC Pastor, and I have invited four incredible preachers of the Word to come and speak. The music will be as diverse ethnically as it is stylistically to reflect who we are as South Carolina Baptists.
We network. The best way to meet other ministry leaders from across our state is to attend the Annual Meeting. The exhibit hall provides an opportunity to learn about groups and businesses that can work alongside your church to help you fulfill your mission. There are also a variety of gatherings and luncheons that enable you to connect with others who are likeminded in fulfilling our mission.
We practice accountability. It is important to hear about what has been accomplished through our Cooperative Program giving. This is always an encouraging time as we see what God has done during the last year. We will hear from our SCBC staff as well as our “Ministry Partners” which include our three universities, children’s home, ministries for the aging, foundation, and our Courier.
We do some business. We elect officers, committees, and trustees to help lead us into the future. We pass a budget to ensure that our cooperative ministries are funded and focused on our common goals. We pass resolutions to speak to relevant issues in our culture. Even though these times of discussion and voting represent a small portion of the time that we spend together, they are vitally important to the work of the convention.
You are invited to attend the Annual meeting of South Carolina Baptists at Church at The Mill, in Moore, on November 11 & 12! EVERY member of a South Carolina Baptist church is invited and welcome to attend, not just your pastor and church staff. Every person reading this column has a right and responsibility to be as ENGAGED as you can possibly be in “convention” life!