The Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention is comprised of 83 representatives chosen from qualified states and regions, and acts on behalf of the Convention between sessions. Executive Committee officers are elected from these representatives.

Although the Executive Committee does not control or direct the activities of Convention agencies, it reviews their financial statements and recommends the Convention annual operating budget. In addition, it receives and distributes the monies Southern Baptists give in support of denominational ministries, acts as the recipient and trust agency for all Convention properties, and provides public relations and news services.

The Executive Committee also performs other tasks assigned by the SBC, and promotes the general work of Southern Baptists. To carry out these duties, the Committee employs an executive and professional staff in its Nashville offices.

Summary

The Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention was formed in 1917 and established its offices in Nashville in 1927. At that time, the Southern Baptist Convention enlarged the Committee’s scope of duties to include acting on behalf of the Convention between annual sessions.

Currently, the Executive Committee is comprised of 83 representatives chosen from qualified states and defined territories. Although the Executive Committee does not control or direct the activities of Convention agencies, it reviews their financial statements and recommends the Convention annual operating budget. In addition, it receives and distributes the moneys Southern Baptists give in support of denominational ministries, acts as the recipient and trust agency for all Convention properties, and provides public relations and news services. It also performs other tasks assigned by the SBC and promotes the general work of Southern Baptists. To carry out these duties, the Committee employs an executive and professional staff in its Nashville offices.

Baptists represent more than a third of church members in the United States. More than 40 percent of all Baptist churches are affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. Local churches aligned with the Southern Baptist Convention are committed to sharing Christ with every person in the world.

The Executive Committee

In order to understand contemporary Southern Baptist Convention operations, it is important to understand the work of the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee is to act for the Southern Baptist Convention ad interim, or between sessions. It reviews the work of the Convention’s entities. This Committee itself is subject to the review of the Convention.

In 1917, the Southern Baptist Convention altered its basic structure when it authorized the formation of the Executive Committee. Its formation was the outgrowth of four years of efforts to bring order to the Convention's growing agenda and complicated structure that had developed over the years. At that time at least thirty-three committees were appointed each year.

In his history of the Executive Committee, Albert McClellan stated, "the use of so many committees created problems: (1) They were in some instances assigned complex issues without full information. (2) They consumed too much of the Convention's time in reporting. Twenty nine of the committees had to do their work and report to the Convention within a six day period. (3) The committees of reference for board reports were barriers between the persons responsible for the boards and the Convention. (4) Too many committees were keeping the Convention preoccupied with mechanics, when it should have been concerned with message. (5) The four committees appointed to plan for the 1911 Convention pointed to the need for standing committees to work between sessions. (6) There still was no general committee to gather up the loose ends. Too much time was spent admiring the library, and there was little time left to study the books."

The Convention elects the members of this Committee, who come from the forty-one state conventions. The Executive Committee is not a board, but a committee. That is, while it can make recommendations to or about entities or issue reports on entities; no entity is directly accountable to it. Each entity is directly responsible to the Convention of church messengers in annual session. This provides a direct approach to problems.

The work of the Executive Committee is basically fiscal and advisory. It operates in harmony with the Convention’s desire to provide checks and balances essential to effective democratic processes. The Southern Baptist Convention has assigned it two different kinds of responsibility. First, it is charged with administrative duty for the Southern Baptist Convention when it is not in session. Thus, the Executive Committee receives and distributes funds given for the various missions, evangelism, educational, and ministry enterprises for the Southern Baptist Convention, plans and manages the annual meeting, publishes the Convention Annual, assists Convention committees, handles legal matters, and provides staff assistance to the elected officials of the Convention. The Committee also handles any matters that have not been otherwise assigned specifically to any entity arising between Convention sessions.

The Executive Committee is also assigned program responsibilities: 1) for Cooperative Program promotion, 2) managing the Southern Baptist Foundation, which manages proceeds from wills, bequests and other investments, 3) operating Baptist Press, the SBC news service, and 4) providing a convention relations office, which articulates Southern Baptist positions to constituents and to the public through the media as well as producing SBC LIFE newsmagazine.

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