Baptist Press
Posted: Jun 11, 2013 7:22 PM
HOUSTON (BP) -- Baptist Press is live blogging the SBC annual meeting in Houston. Up-to-the-minute updates can be read here, at our Twitter account (Twitter.com/BaptistPress), or Facebook account (Facebook.com/BaptistPress). Want more updates? Follow our SBC annual meeting feed at Twitter.com/SBCMeeting. A schedule of the Tuesday meeting can be found at http://sbcannualmeeting.net/sbc13/program/default.asp. Watch the SBC annual meeting live at http://sbcannualmeeting.net/sbc13/default.asp .

All times Central

5:15 p.m. -- The afternoon session of the SBC annual meeting has concluded. Tonight at 7:20, Luter delivers his President's Sermon. It is part of a revival service.

5 p.m. -- LifeWay Christian Resources President Thom S. Rainer introduced to Southern Baptists MinistryGrid.com, a subscription-based, online leadership development platform that will have more than 1,000 videos on various topics, ranging from parking ministry to polity. It will launch in the fall. It is customizable and can have a church's own name on the site, Rainer said.

Eric Geiger of LifeWay also told messengers about the new and improved Bible Studies for Life, launching this fall. Read more about it: http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?id=40038

4:29 p.m. -- Several motions were made moments ago. Among them:

-- Motion that the ERLC investigate the American Cancer Society's stance on stem cell research and issue a report.

-- Motion that the SBC Executive Committee's reserved seating be removed in future SBC meetings. The motion was made by a member of the Executive Committee.

4:25 p.m. -- Luter allowed Ronnie Floyd to speak to his earlier motion regarding mental health. "We can no longer be silent about this issue," said Floyd, who said Southern Baptists must help stop the "stigmatization" of those with mental health issues.

"It is time that the Southern Baptist Convention be on the frontline of the mental health issue," Floyd said.

4:03 p.m. -- Texas pastor Bart Barber elected SBC first vice president. He was unopposed.

4 p.m. -- Former Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission President Richard Land delivered his final report to messengers, telling them he has been re-reading several books lately, including Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Letters From the Birmingham Jail." Referencing what King wrote, Land urged Southern Baptist churches not to be "thermometers" but to be "thermostats" that dictate the "temperature" in society. He also endorsed the anti-pornography "Join One Million Men" campaign. "It's time that we quit playing like ostriches, with our heads in the sand," Land said.

New ERLC President Russell Moore told messengers, describing his view of the entity: "We are not a political action committee." The ERLC, he said, is "fiercely independent." "We are about the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

During a time of questions from messengers, Land and Moore were asked if the ERLC would endorse the immigration bill in the Senate. "We're going to support principles," Moore responded. "We're not going to support" specific legislation.

3:04 p.m. -- SBC President Fred Luter re-elected for a second one-year term. He was unopposed, and he received a standing ovation after the ceremonial ballot was cast.

2:50 p.m. -- Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary President Jeff Iorg delivered the seminary's report, telling messengers the school recently had its 8,000th graduate.

2:40 p.m. -- Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee President Frank Page delivered his afternoon report, highlighting the advisory committee on Calvinism that issued its report to Page in late May. Page said he is not a Calvinist but also is not "an anti-Calvinist," and he wanted both sides to come together for the Great Commission. "I didn't know if it would work," Page said. "But I continued to pray. ... I heard the prayers of God's people saying we need to come together."

"The world is winning too many battles," he said, adding that if there ever was a time "we need each other, it is now."

The goal was for both sides to talk to one another, not at one another or about one another.

With members of the committee joining him on stage in a sign of unity, Page said, "God showed up."

"We need to do it together," Page said of advancing the Great Commission.

2:10 p.m. -- A motion was made that the Executive Committee form a study committee to evaluate the SBC Constitution & the "minimal" financial standards required to be an SBC church.

2:04 p.m. -- The Committee on Order of Business recommended, and messengers approved, that the following motions be referred to the Executive Committee for consideration:

-- request that EC publish theological position paper on 2011 NIV.

-- request EC appoint task force to look into alternative or substitute programs for Boy Scouts.

-- request that list of all convention-elected trustees be made available at SBC.net.

-- that SBC withdraw fellowship from Lake Shore Baptist Church in Waco, Texas for its alleged ties to Planned Parenthood.

The Committee on Order of Business recommended, and messengers approved, that the following motion be referred to the Executive Committee and to all SBC entities for consideration:

-- that EC and bylaw 14 entities work to assist churches to minister to those suffering from mental health issues.

2 p.m. -- Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary's Jason Allen gave his first report to the convention as president. There were no questions from messengers.

1:51 p.m. -- SBC Second VP Dave Miller performed the president's duties for a few moments, introducing Texas pastor Terry Turner, who delivered the opening prayer. Miller also introduced the Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary report. Luter is on stage and apparently will resume his duties shortly.

1:34 p.m. -- The Tuesday afternoon session of the SBC meeting has begun.

12:10 p.m. -- The Tuesday morning session has concluded. Tuesday afternoon session begins at 1:30 p.m.

12:01 p.m. -- North American Mission Board's Kevin Ezell presented the entity's report, saying that 1,084 new churches were planted in North America last year. "I can assure you we are counting in an accurate way," he said. The goal, Ezell said, is to plant churches in cities and in areas where Southern Baptists have less of a presence. He cited stats: Mississippi has one SBC church for every 1,385 people, Texas has one for every 3,351, New Jersey one for every 78,000, and Canada one for every 115,000. Missiologists, he said, say one evangelical church is needed for every 1,000 to 2,000 people.

"We must go" to the cities, Ezell said, adding that 80 percent of the population lives in and around cities. NAMB has highlighted 32 cities it calls "Send Cities," Ezell said. There is a NAMB missionary, dubbed the "Send City Coordinator," for every Send City. The coordinator's job is to recruit church planters to that city.

Additionally, Ezell said, there is a "Church Planting Catalyst" for every 1 million people in North America. The goal is to plan four churches among each 1 million people.

The biblical model, he said, is churches planting churches -- healthy, evangelistic churches.

"We need churches that plant churches that plant churches," he said.

The NAMB report also highlighted the ministries of NAMB-endorsed chaplains and Southern Baptist Disaster Relief. Sam Porter, head of disaster relief for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, appeared on stage, giving messengers an update on relief from the state.

"We will not stop until every need is met in Oklahoma," Porter said.

Ezell said SBC disaster relief helps areas for extended periods of time. For example, SBC DR, he said, is committed to assisting in the New York area for an additional two years following the destruction of Sandy.

11:35 a.m. -- During a time of questions from messengers, Ezell was asked if NAMB partners with the Acts 29 church planting network. "We plant Southern Baptist churches," Ezell said, adding that church planters are expected to endorse the Baptist Faith & Message and give to the Cooperative Program. "We don't ask what type of support networks they may be a part of or what conferences they go to," Ezell said. He asked: Are some church planters part of the Acts 29 network? "There would be some, sure," he said. Acts 29 also has undergone a change in leadership, he noted.

11:02: Hawkins was asked by a messenger about GuideStone's investments and whether GuideStone invests in companies that support the homosexual agenda and abortion industry. The messenger referenced a World Magazine article. Hawkins said GuideStone has a "sound investment policy" that has been in place for 20 years, and it does screen out certain companies. But he said "we're not going to have a company to invest in" if the company has to have a perfect record. He noted that Southern Baptists regularly stay at hotels that sell alcohol and adult movies and buy products at gas stations and stores that sell lottery tickets and products they oppose. "It's a very difficult world," Hawkins said.

10:35 a.m. -- GuideStone Financial Resources President O.S. Hawkins gave his report, saying that too much of current health costs are due to preventable diseases. GuideStone, he said, offers attendees at the SBC meeting a free wellness screening valued at $150. The screening, which includes a blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol check, takes place in the exhibit hall at the GuideStone exhibit.

10:17 a.m. -- R. Albert Mohler Jr. presented the SBC Historical Library and Archives report. The library is housed in Nashville at the SBC Building. Mohler said grants are available for students who desire to research at the library. More info: http://www.sbhla.org/sg_info.htm

10:12 a.m. -- Holly Tucker, former contestant on "The Voice" and a Baylor student, sang "How Great Thou Art."

9:58 a.m. -- EC President Frank Page presented resolution of appreciation to Richard Land, who was president of the SBC's Ethics & Religious Liberty until his retirement in late May. "It has been an honor and blessing of a lifetime" to serve Southern Baptists, Land said moments after messengers gave him a standing ovation. "... I will thank my God upon every remembrance of you." His wife, Becky, joined him on stage.

9:35 a.m. -- The Executive Committee report emphasized Baptist campus ministries and church plants on college campuses, spotlighting the work of Keith and Paige Wieser at Washington State University in Pullman, Wash. Southern Baptist giving through the Cooperative Program make such ministries possible, the Wiesers said. Said Page, "I have said before that one of the best kept secrets across our convention is the good work that takes place on college campuses across the country through Baptist Campus Ministry and college church planting."

9:03 a.m. -- Motions were made moments ago. Among them:

-- request that EC publish theological position paper on 2011 NIV.

-- request EC appoint task force to look into alternative or substitute programs for Boy Scouts.

-- request that list of all convention-elected trustees be made available at SBC.net.

-- that EC and bylaw 14 entities work to assist churches to minister to those suffering from mental health issues.

-- that SBC withdraw fellowship from Lake Shore Baptist Church in Waco, Texas for its alleged ties to Planned Parenthood.

9:10 a.m. -- Executive Committee President Frank Page is giving the EC report. He said the EC asked for a "reduction in CP allocation, again." The percentage has fallen from 3.4 percent to 2.99 percent. Moments earlier, messengers approved the newest reduction in allocation. The extra funds will go to the International Mission Board. "We want more and more to go to reach the nations for Christ," Page said.

8:47 a.m. -- Motions are being made.

8:31 a.m. -- NAMB's Al Gilbert gives Crossover report, telling messengers there were 582 reported professions of faith. More than 4,100 Baptist volunteers. Crossover is annual evangelism event that precedes SBC annual meeting in host city.

8:22 a.m. -- Southwestern Seminary President Paige Patterson, wearing a black cowboy hat, welcomes messengers. "Share Jesus with somebody while you're here," he says.

8:12 a.m. -- The SBC annual meeting has been gaveled to order. SBC President Fred Luter used a gavel that has been used at SBC meetings every year since 1872. The gavel head is made from olive wood from the Mount of Olives in Israel.

8 a.m. -- Registration as of 8 a.m.: 4,130.

8 a.m. -- Worship through music has begun at the SBC, led by Charles Billingsley of Thomas Road Baptist Church (Lynchburg, Va.).

Blogging by Michael Foust, associate editor of Baptist Press.

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