Messengers to the 2023 SBC Annual Meeting in New Orleans proposed more than 30 requests for the Committee on Order of Business to consider. Of those, three were addressed during the two-day meeting, 19 were referred to SBC entities and one (a prayer for Jerusalem) was affirmed with a prayer from the podium. The rest were ruled out of order for various procedural reasons.
The three items handled in New Orleans resulted in an amendment to the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 and the creation of two new task forces.
The BF&M amendment focuses on Article 6 and adds “elder/overseer” alongside “pastor” in the section on the church.
It now reads: “In such a congregation each member is responsible and accountable to Christ as Lord. Its two scriptural offices are that of pastor/elder/overseer and deacon. While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor/elder/overseer is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.”
Regarding the task forces, one will study the effectiveness of the Great Commission Resurgence report and the other is to evaluate and provide guidance on what it means for a church to be in friendly cooperation with the SBC.
Members to both task forces will be named soon by newly reelected SBC president Bart Barber.
Requests for increased financial transparency within the SBC ranks and more precise expectations and training for boards of trustees were sprinkled among the motions being referred to the Executive Committee.
The International Mission Board trustees will follow up on two motions related to the vaccination policy for appointed missions personnel. The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission will review the request to “appoint a blue-ribbon committee to review the BF&M 2000 to address gender identity.”
In all, ERLC and IMB both have three motions to study. EC has 13 (one shared with ERLC) and the Abuse Reform Implementation Task Force has one — to consider removing the fourth category of “credibly accused” from the Ministry Check website criteria.
A few audio glitches contributed to long sessions of debate but the hall consistently full of many of the 12,700-plus registered messengers seemed to make the best of it with generally good spirits throughout the meeting.
Two lighthearted moments surfaced during the late Tuesday afternoon session.
A little girl behind microphone 7 took her moment to shine each time the cameras came her way. As the various messengers at that microphone voiced their motions, she quietly showcased her fun expressions and movements.
And when Lyda Wilbur of Community Baptist Church in Coweta, Oklahoma, made the final motion of the day Tuesday — to consider hosting the 2028 annual meeting in Maui — she received thunderous applause and cheers.
To read a full list of the motions and how they were ruled, check out this article by Baptist Press.