Becoming a Church Messenger

The Annual Meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention consists of representatives, or "messengers," as they are called, from cooperating churches, who gather to confer and determine the programs, policies, and budget of the Convention. Each church may be represented by up to 10 messengers, depending on church size and Cooperative Program giving amounts, ensuring equal accessibility for small and large congregations alike.

Messenger cards which certify the information required by Article III of the SBC Constitution and SBC By-Law 8 can be obtained by any church from the state convention with which they are affiliated.

Members interested in becoming messengers should contact their pastors for information on the appropriate process of approval applicable in their church.

Article III from the SBC Constitution

Article III. Membership: The Convention shall consist of messengers who are members of missionary Baptist churches cooperating with the Convention as follows:

  1. One (1) messenger from each church which: (1) Is in friendly cooperation with the Convention and sympathetic with its purposes and work. Among churches not in cooperation with the Convention are churches which act to affirm, approve, or endorse homosexual behavior. And, (2) Has been a bona fide contributor to the Convention's work during the fiscal year preceding.
  2. One (1) additional messenger from each such church for every two hundred and fifty (250) members; or for each $250.00 paid to the work of the Convention during the fiscal year preceding the annual meeting.
  3. The messengers shall be appointed and certified by the churches to the Convention, but no church may appoint more than ten (10).
  4. Each messenger shall be a member of the church by which he is appointed.

From the SBC ByLaws

8. Messenger Credentials and Registration:

A.    Each person elected by a church cooperating with the Southern Baptist Convention as a messenger to the Southern Baptist Convention shall be registered as a messenger to the Convention upon presentation of proper credentials. Credentials shall be presented by each messenger, in person, at the Convention registration desk and shall be in the following form:

(1)    A completed, properly authorized, official Southern Baptist Convention registration document, certifying the messenger's election in accordance with Article III. Membership, of the Constitution of the Southern Baptist Convention; but if the messenger does not have the messenger registration document,

(2)    A letter from the messenger's church, signed by the pastor, clerk or moderator of the church, certifying the messenger's election in accordance with Article III. Membership, of the Constitution of the Southern Baptist Convention; or

(3)    Some other document (which may include a fax, email or other physical or electronically transmitted document) from the messenger's church which is deemed reliable by the Credentials Committee or qualifies under guidelines approved by the registration secretary and the Credentials Committee.

Messengers registered in accordance with this section shall constitute the Convention.

B.    The president of the Convention, in consultation with the vice presidents, shall appoint, at least thirty (30) days before the annual session, a Credentials Committee to serve at the forthcoming sessions of the Convention. This committee shall review and rule upon any questions which may arise in registration concerning the credentials of messengers. Any such ruling may be appealed to the Convention during business session. Any contention arising on the floor concerning seating of messengers shall be referred to the committee for consideration and the committee shall report back to the Convention.

C.    The registration secretary shall be at the place of the annual meeting at least one (1) day prior to the convening of the first session of the Southern Baptist Convention for the purpose of opening the registration desk and registering messengers. The registration secretary also shall convene the Credentials Committee at least one day prior to the annual meeting and shall assist the committee in reviewing questions concerning messenger credentials. The registration secretary shall report to the Convention the number of registered messengers.

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