Earlier, I mentioned some of the issues facing the SBC that I am sure will not be adequately addressed at the Indy 2008. Number 5 was the question about why we are going to Indy in the first place. I have never visited Indiana, and I am quite sure it is a great place, and I look forward to the visit. The question is not about the host city but about the concept. Why do we still caucus?
According to the dictionary, a caucus is a “closed meeting of a group of persons belonging to the same political party or faction usually to select candidates or to decide on policy.” In other words, a caucus is a meeting where members must be physically present, where decisions are made that affect the whole group, and where officers are elected that will lead the group by setting policy and nominating persons for trustees and committees.
The following scenario is quite ridiculous, is it not? The SBC has 16 million members. OK, we all know those numbers are fictional, so let’s consider the actual attendance numbers as closer to the truth (6 million). There are over 44,000 churches who are each able to send up to 10 messengers to the annual meeting. Let’s say that Indy has a whopping turnout and 10,000 messengers actually attend. This meeting will represent only .16% of the membership of the SBC (and that is using the 6 million figure) and only 2% of the possible number of messengers! So, less than 1% of those who are members of SBC local churches and who support the CP with their tithes and offerings will actually be able to have any input in the decision making process of their denomination. That is not exactly a formula to encourage participation!
We live in an electronic age, and there must be some way to arrange the annual meeting that would enable the messengers from all 44,000 plus SBC congregations to vote for candidates or on policy. We can still have the annual meeting if we want a feel good moment to hear the annual reports from the various agencies, but we must find a way to open the decision making process up to all of the member congregations. The days of “packing the bus” need to come to a close. Surely a denomination that has learned how to put a missionary in the most remote corner of the globe can find a way to register up to 10 messengers from each congregation and to count their vote for candidates and policy via the Internet. This can be done and should be done by the year 2010.