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 up to a maximum of 12 messengers based on the conditions outlined in Article III of the SBC Constitution.
Members interested in becoming messengers should contact their pastors for information on the appropriate process of approval applicable in their church.
Article III. Composition: The Convention shall consist of messengers who are members of Baptist churches in cooperation with the Convention. The following subparagraphs describe the Convention’s current standards and method of determining the maximum number of messengers the Convention will recognize from each cooperating church to attend the Convention’s annual meeting.
- The Convention will only deem a church to be in friendly cooperation with the Convention, and sympathetic with its purposes and work (i.e., a “cooperating” church as that term is used in the Convention’s governing documents) which:
(1) Has a faith and practice which closely identifies with the Convention’s adopted statement of faith. (By way of example, churches which act to affirm, approve, or endorse homosexual behavior would be deemed not to be in cooperation with the Convention.)
(2) Has formally approved its intention to cooperate with the Southern Baptist Convention. (By way of example, the regular filing of the annual report requested by the Convention would be one indication of such cooperation.)
(3) Has made undesignated, financial contribution(s) through the Cooperative Program, and/or through the Convention’s Executive Committee for Convention causes, and/or to any Convention entity during the fiscal year preceding.
- Under the terms above, the Convention will recognize to participate in its annual meeting two (2) messengers from each cooperating church, and such additional messengers as are permitted below.
- The Convention will recognize additional messengers from a cooperating church under one of the options described below. Whichever method allows the church the greater number of messengers shall apply:
(1) One additional messenger for each full percent of the church’s undesignated receipts which the church contributed during the fiscal year preceding through the Cooperative Program, and/or through the Convention’s Executive Committee for Convention causes, and/or to any Convention entity; or
(2) One additional messenger for each $6,000 which the church contributed during the fiscal year preceding through the Cooperative Program, and/or through the Convention’s Executive Committee for Convention causes, and/or to any Convention entity.
- The messengers shall be appointed and certified by their church to the Convention, but the Convention will not recognize more than twelve (12) from any cooperating church.
- Each messenger shall be a member of the church by which he or she is appointed.
- If a church experiences a natural disaster or calamitous event and, as a result, the church is not qualified to appoint as many messengers as the church could appoint for the Convention’s annual meeting immediately before the event, the church’s pastor or an authorized church representative may, for no more than the three (3) annual meetings after the event, certify the facts to the registration secretary and obtain the same number of messengers it could have certified for the Convention’s annual meeting immediately before the event.
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.