In order to carry out the provisions of the Constitution, the following Bylaws are adopted for the government of the Convention:
1. Convention Session
- The Convention shall open with the Tuesday morning session and continue through Wednesday, holding such sessions as the Committee on Order of Business finds necessary for the conduct of business, except that sufficient time on Wednesday afternoon shall be reserved for seminary luncheons and other necessary meetings.
- The Convention sermon and president’s message shall be considered as fixed orders at the time designated by the committee on Order of Business.
- A messenger may speak in debate for longer than three minutes only with the permission of the Convention granted by a two-thirds vote.
- A messenger may introduce a second motion during a business session only if no other messenger is seeking the floor who has not made a motion during that session.
2. Presentation of Outside Causes
Causes other than those provided for in the regular work of the Convention may be presented to the Convention upon authority of officers of the Convention in conference with the Committee on Order of Business in such ways and at such times as may be dictated by the courtesies of the case and the necessities of the program.
3. Convention Site
- No city shall be considered as a meeting place for the Southern Baptist Convention in which there is a considerable distance between the available hotels and the Convention hall.
- No meetings other than the Convention services shall be held in the Convention hall during the sessions of the Convention. Every service held in the Convention auditorium shall be under the direction of the Committee on Order of Business.
All exhibits of every description shall be rigidly excluded from those parts of the place of meeting where the people visiting the exhibits will disturb the proceedings of the Convention, their locations to be determined by the Executive Committee or its agent. The Executive Committee of the Convention shall have exclusive control of all exhibit space.
5. Book of Reports
- Copy for reports and recommendations to the Convention shall be submitted to the recording secretary by March 1, unless circumstances beyond the control of the reporting entity or committee make it impossible.
- Recommendations of entities and committees of the Convention may not be voted upon until the recommendations have been printed in the Book of Reports or the Convention Bulletin. The recording secretary is authorized to provide the Baptist Press and other interested parties, upon their request, copies of recommendations requiring Convention action.
6. Convention Annual
The Convention Annual containing reports and actions of the Convention and other pertinent material shall be published as soon as possible after the meeting of the Convention and shall be made available without charge to all active pastors and denominational agents.
- The Executive Committee of the Convention shall have printed each day a sufficient number of brief reports, or bulletins, of the Journal of Proceedings, reporting specifically matters of business proposed and acted upon, including the names of committees appointed, reports of the committees, and such business as may be transacted and carried over to the following day, also including a list of the titles or subjects of the resolutions presented and the names of the persons presenting them.
- Such report, or bulletin, shall not include speeches or addresses or any comment thereon, a photograph, or any personal reference to any messenger of the Convention, but shall be only a resume of the business transacted during that day.
8. Messenger Credentials, Registration Committee, and Credentials Committee:
- Messenger Credentials: 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:
- A completed, properly authorized, official Southern Baptist Convention registration document, certifying the messenger’s election in accordance with Article III. Composition, of the Constitution of the Southern Baptist Convention; but if the messenger does not have the messenger registration document,
- 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. Composition, of the Constitution of the Southern Baptist Convention; or
- 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 Registration Committee or qualifies under guidelines approved by the registration secretary and the Registration Committee.
- Registration Committee: The president of the Convention, in consultation with the vice presidents, shall appoint, at least thirty (30) days before the annual session, a Registration Committee to serve at the forthcoming sessions of the Convention. The registration secretary shall convene the Registration Committee at least one day prior to the annual meeting to supervise the registration of messengers, to oversee the operations of the registration desk, and to rule upon any questions which may arise in registration concerning the credentials of messengers.
- Credentials Committee: The Credentials Committee, a standing committee, shall be composed of the registration secretary, the chair of the Executive Committee, three members nominated by the Executive Committee, and four members nominated by the Committee on Nominations. Committee members may serve simultaneously on another board, institution, commission, or committee of the Convention or as a member of the Executive Committee. The names of the Executive Committee chair and the members nominated by the Executive Committee shall appear in the Committee on Nomination’s report to the annual meeting, along with the names of members being nominated by the Committee on Nominations, for election by the Convention. Members other than the registration secretary and the Executive Committee chair shall serve a term of three (3) years. The committee shall elect its own chair. Members of the Credentials Committee shall be divided into three groups of three persons each with the registration secretary and the Executive Committee chair assigned to different groups. The term of office of one of the three groups shall expire each year. A member’s term of office shall begin and expire at the conclusion of the Convention’s annual meeting. Members having served one full term of three (3) years shall not be eligible for re-election until as much as one (1) year has elapsed after the last term of service has concluded. Vacancies occurring on the committee between annual meetings shall be filled by the Executive Committee, provided that any vacancy shall be filled only until the next annual meeting.
- The Credentials Committee shall meet on the call of its chair or of any two of its members after reasonable notice of the time and place for the meeting. Meetings and reports of the committee may be private or public in order to maintain the degree of confidentiality which is appropriate under the circumstances to serve the best interests of the Convention and individual churches. When practical, meetings shall be held in conjunction with meetings of the Executive Committee or electronically. The committee may meet by teleconference, videoconference, or any other lawful means. Appropriate staff and legal assistance shall be provided for the Credentials Committee by the Executive Committee.
- When, during an annual meeting, an issue arises whether a church is in cooperation with the Convention, the Credentials Committee shall consider the matter and review any information available to it. The committee shall either: (a) consider the question in the manner described in section (3)a below and, when prepared, recommend any action to the Executive Committee, in which case messengers from the church shall be seated pending any action by the Executive Committee; or (b) at the earliest opportunity, recommend to the Convention whether the church should be considered a cooperating church. The Convention shall immediately consider the committee’s recommendation. One representative of the church under consideration and one representative of the Credentials Committee shall be permitted to speak to the question, subject to the normal rules of debate. When debate is concluded, the Convention may decide whether the church is a cooperating church or refer the matter to the Executive Committee for further review and a decision. Unless the Convention decides that the church is not a cooperating church, messengers from the church shall be registered and seated in accordance with the Convention’s rules.
- When an issue arises between annual meetings whether a church is in cooperation with the Convention, the Credentials Committee shall consider the matter and review any information available to it.
- If the committee forms the opinion that a church is not in friendly cooperation with the Convention as described in Article III. Composition, of the Constitution, the committee shall submit to the Executive Committee a report stating that opinion and the committee’s reasons for its opinion. The Executive Committee shall, at its next meeting, consider the report of the Credentials Committee and determine whether the church is in cooperation with the Convention. The Executive Committee’s decision shall be final unless the church appeals the decision to the Convention during the next annual meeting.
- A church which has been found not to be in cooperation may appeal the decision to the Convention by submitting a written appeal to the chair of the Credentials Committee at least 30 days prior to the Convention’s annual meeting. The Credentials Committee chair shall immediately notify the Credentials Committee, the chair of the Committee on Order of Business, and the President that an appeal to the Convention has been lodged.
- The registration secretary shall notify the Convention of the appeal in the initial registration report to the Convention.
- The Convention shall consider the appeal during a time established for miscellaneous business on the afternoon of the first day of the Convention. The question before the messengers will be “Shall the decision of the Credentials Committee and the Executive Committee that [name of the church in question] is not in cooperation with the Southern Baptist Convention be sustained?” One representative of the church under consideration and one representative of the Credentials Committee or Executive Committee shall be permitted to speak to the question, subject to the normal rules of debate. When debate is concluded, the Convention shall vote whether to sustain the Executive Committee’s ruling. If the ruling of the Executive Committee is reversed, messengers from the church shall immediately be registered and seated in accordance with the Convention’s rules.
- If a church which has been found not to be in cooperation with the Convention addresses the issues which led to that finding, it may apply to the Credentials Committee for a reconsideration of its status. If the circumstances warrant, the Credentials Committee may recommend to the Executive Committee that the church be once again considered a cooperating church.
- The committee may make inquiries of a church, but shall never attempt to exercise any authority over a church through an investigation or other process that would violate Article IV of the Constitution.
9. Address of Welcome
There may be one (1) address of welcome limited to ten (10) minutes and one (1) response thereto limited to ten (10) minutes.
10. Election of Officers and Voting
- The president, the first and second vice presidents, and the secretaries shall be elected at the Convention, their terms of office to begin at the final adjournment.
- Election of officers shall be by ballot, provided however that if there is only one (1) nomination, and no other person desires to nominate, the secretary or anyone designated for the purpose may cast the ballot of the Convention. If an officer does not receive a majority of votes cast on the first ballot, subsequent ballots shall carry the names of those who are included in the top 50 percent of the total votes cast in the previous ballot.
- Nominating speeches for officers of the Convention shall be limited to one (1) address of not more than three (3) minutes for each nominee.
- The president, in consultation with the registration secretary, shall appoint tellers. The tabulation of any vote by the tellers or otherwise (such as by electronic means) shall be under the supervision of the registration secretary. The president or registration secretary shall announce election and voting results to the Convention as soon as practicable.
- Any materials, instructions, and/or devices necessary to vote shall be made available to the messengers.
- No proxy voting is permitted. All propositions, decisions, and choices shall be by a majority vote of the messengers present and voting in person, except where provisions have been made for a greater than majority vote. Except for officer elections, votes may be taken by ballot, by voice, by rising, by show of hands, by common consent, or by some other acceptable method. “Ballot” shall include electronic voting that protects the integrity of the voting process and provides for messengers’ votes to remain confidential.
11. Parliamentary Authority and Parliamentarians
The parliamentary authority of the Southern Baptist Convention shall be Robert’s Rules of Order (latest revised edition). The Convention president, in conference with the vice presidents, shall select a chief parliamentarian and assistant parliamentarians, as necessary, to advise the presiding officers of the Convention on matters of parliamentary procedure. The chief parliamentarian shall be a person of experience and knowledge, sufficient to qualify him or her to serve as parliamentarian to the Southern Baptist Convention, and he or she shall be certified by the American Institute of Parliamentarians and/or the National Association of Parliamentarians. It shall be the responsibility of the president and treasurer of the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention to sign, on behalf of the Executive Committee, any contracts or letters of agreement related to the services of the chief parliamentarian.
12. Ministry Leaders
Leaders of Southern Baptist Convention entities shall be admitted to the Convention sessions and shall be authorized to serve as resource persons for discussion of those matters which affect their areas of ministry responsibility.
13. Memorial Services
The Committee on Order of Business is instructed to arrange for any memorial service to be held during the Convention.
14. Entities and Auxiliary of the Convention
- The entities of the Convention are as follows:
- General Boards: The International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, Richmond, Virginia; The North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, Inc., Alpharetta, Georgia; LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, Nashville, Tennessee; GuideStone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, Dallas, Texas.
- Institutions: The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky; The Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas; New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, New Orleans, Louisiana; Gateway Seminary of the Southern Baptist Convention, Ontario, California; The Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Inc., Wake Forest, North Carolina; Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Inc., Kansas City, Missouri.
- Commission: The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, Nashville, Tennessee.
- Auxiliary: Woman’s Missionary Union, Birmingham, Alabama, is an auxiliary of the Convention.
15. Committee on Nominations
- The Committee on Nominations shall be composed of two (2) members from each qualified state, who shall be elected by the Convention. Nominations for each position shall be made by the Committee on Committees. The Committee on Committees shall make its recommendation of nominees to the Convention in the form of a single motion to elect all those persons it recommends for the Committee on Nominations. The motion may be amended but no messenger shall be allowed to propose more than one (1) person at a time for election. When adopted by the Convention, the motion of the Committee on Committees, as amended, shall constitute the election of the persons named in the motion to the Committee on Nominations. One (1) person nominated to the Committee on Nominations from each state shall be a person not employed full time by (or retired from) a church or denominational entity. Persons nominated to the Committee on Nominations shall have been resident members for at least three (3) years of Southern Baptist churches either geographically within the states or affiliated with the conventions of the states from which they are elected.
- The Committee on Nominations thus elected shall prepare its report through the year, carefully following the provisions of the Constitution and Bylaws of the Convention and the documents of the respective Convention entities, and shall recommend to the next Convention the following:
- (1) Members of the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention
- (2) Directors/trustees of the boards of the Convention
- (3) Trustees of the institutions of the Convention
- (4) Trustees of the commissions of the Convention
- (5) Members of any standing committees, except certain members of the Credentials Committee as expressly provided by Bylaw 8.
- Excluding the president and recording secretary of the Convention, and the president of Woman’s Missionary Union, and unless otherwise specifically permitted or required by these bylaws, no person shall be eligible to be elected or appointed to serve simultaneously on more than one of the boards, institutions, commissions, or committees of the Convention, or as a member of the Executive Committee, and no person shall be elected or appointed to serve on one of these bodies if that person’s spouse has been elected or appointed to serve on one of these bodies for a time which would be simultaneous.
- The committee shall not recommend a fellow committee member or the member’s spouse or a member of the previous year’s Committee on Committees or the member’s spouse for a first term on an entity.
- The committee shall recognize the principle that the persons it recommends shall represent the constituency of the Convention, rather than the staff of the entity.
- No person and no person’s spouse shall be eligible to serve on the board of any one of the above entities (1) from which the person receives, directly or indirectly, any form of payment or financial benefit except for reimbursements for reasonable and authorized expenses incurred in the performance of the duties of a trustee, or, (2) which provides funds for which he/she has a duty of administration. When such conditions become applicable, that person or that person’s spouse shall be considered as having resigned and such vacancy shall be filled in accordance with established Convention procedure.
- All of the above entities shall include both church or denominational employees and those who are not church or denominational employees. Not more than two-thirds of the members of any of these entities shall be drawn from either category. Where a person was serving as a church or denominational employee at the time of retirement, he/she should be counted as a church or denominational employee after retirement as far as the work of the Committee on Nominations is concerned.
- Any person elected to serve on any of the boards, institutions, commissions, or the Executive Committee, shall at the time of such election have been continuously a resident member for at least the preceding three (3) years of a church or churches which were in those years in friendly cooperation with the Convention and sympathetic with its purposes and work, and, where representation is by qualifying states, which were either geographically within the state or affiliated with the convention of the state from which the person is elected. Any person who is a member of one of these entities shall be considered as having resigned when the person ceases to be a resident member of a church either geographically within the state or affiliated with the convention of the state from which he/she has been elected as a representative.
- No person who has served on the board of an entity or on the Executive Committee shall be eligible to serve on the board of any entity or on the Executive Committee until two years after the conclusion of his or her term of office, except that a person may be re-elected to an authorized successive term or serve by virtue of a separate office.
- The report of the Committee on Nominations shall be released to Baptist Press no later than 45 days prior to the annual meeting of the Convention and shall be published in the first day’s Bulletin. Persons desiring to amend the report of the Committee on Nominations are encouraged to publicize the nature of their amendment sufficiently in advance of the annual meeting of the Convention to allow information concerning the amendment to be made available to Convention messengers.
- The Committee on Nominations shall make its recommendation to the Convention in the form of a motion to elect those persons it recommends for specific terms of office. The motion may be amended but no messenger shall be allowed to propose more than one (1) person at a time for election. When adopted by the Convention, the motion of the Committee on Nominations, as amended, shall constitute the election of the persons named in the motion to their respective terms of office.
16. Vacancies on Boards
All entities shall report all vacancies on the entities to the Committee on Nominations immediately on the occurrence of such vacancies. Any entity’s board may make interim appointments only when authorized by its charter. Any such appointment shall only be of a person who is eligible and qualified both to be elected by the Convention and to serve according to the Constitution and Bylaws of the Southern Baptist Convention.
17. Fraternal Messengers
- The Convention shall send a fraternal messenger to the annual sessions of the American Baptist Churches and the National Baptist conventions. The expenses of the fraternal messengers incurred while in attendance upon the conventions herein named shall be included in the items of Convention expenses.
- The fraternal messenger to the American Baptist Churches shall be the president of the Southern Baptist Convention at the time of the meeting of the American Baptist Churches, and he shall also be the fraternal messenger to the other National Baptist conventions named. If the president is unable to attend, he shall be authorized to name another officer as a substitute.
- The fraternal messengers to other Baptist bodies or other religious bodies may be elected by the Convention as occasion may require. The expenses of such messengers shall be borne by the messengers themselves unless specifically provided for by the Convention.
18. The Executive Committee
- The Executive Committee shall consist of the president and the recording secretary of the Convention, the president of the Woman’s Missionary Union, and one (1) or more members from each qualified and cooperating state or defined territory of the Convention, subject to the provisions of Section 30 of the Bylaws.
- Once the number of members of cooperating Southern Baptist churches in such an area reaches the levels shown in the following table, the number of Executive Committee members from that area shall thereafter be as indicated: Any such qualified area:
One (1) Executive Committee member
250,000 church members: Two (2) Executive Committee members
500,000 church members: Three (3) Executive Committee members
750,000 church members: Four (4) Executive Committee members
1,000,000 or more church members: Five (5) Executive Committee members.
- In addition, and solely for the purpose of providing representation on the Convention’s fiduciary for cooperating areas which are not yet qualified as provided above, there shall be one Executive Committee member from each of the four following geographical areas: the Dakotas, Iowa, Minnesota-Wisconsin, and Montana.
- Except for areas represented by only one member, at least one-third of the members from any area shall be persons employed by a church or denominational entity, and at least one-third of the members from that area shall be persons not employed by a church or denominational entity.
- At least one-third of the entire membership of the Executive Committee shall be persons employed by a church or denominational entity, and at least one-third of its members shall be persons not employed by a church or denominational entity.
- Except for the president and the recording secretary of the Convention and the president of Woman’s Missionary Union, the following persons are disqualified from serving as members of the Executive Committee:
- Employees of the Convention or its Executive Committee
- Trustees, directors, or employees of a Convention entity or its auxiliary
- Employees of a convention for a state or defined territory, or of an entity or body that is empowered to act on behalf of such a convention
- Employees of an entity of a convention for a state or defined territory
- Once the number of members of cooperating Southern Baptist churches in such an area reaches the levels shown in the following table, the number of Executive Committee members from that area shall thereafter be as indicated: Any such qualified area:
- Members shall be divided into four (4) groups as nearly equal as possible and shall hold office for four (4) years, one-fourth going out of office each year.
- A majority of the Committee shall constitute a quorum.
- The Executive Committee shall elect a president, who shall also be treasurer, and other officers and staff who may be needed. All the main executive officers and all the office employees who handle funds shall be bonded, and no salaried officer or employee shall be a member of the Executive Committee
- The Executive Committee shall be the fiduciary, the fiscal, and the executive entity of the Convention in all its affairs not specifically committed to some other board or entity. The Executive Committee is specifically authorized, instructed, and commissioned to perform the following functions:
- To act for the Convention ad interim in all matters not otherwise provided for.
- To be named in transfers of real and personal property for the use and benefit of the Convention either by deed, conveyance, will, or otherwise and to affix the seal of the Convention to all approved transactions; and to take title to and hold or to convey title to all properties, real or personal, and all funds, monies, and securities that are donated or transferred or left by will to or for the use of the Convention. As to such properties, funds, monies, and securities as the Executive Committee shall hold and not convey title to, the Executive Committee shall be custodian of such, holding them in trust for the Convention to be managed, controlled, and administered by the Executive Committee in accordance with the direction, general or specific, of the Convention. Rules governing the handling of securities set out in Article VII, Section 3, of the Constitution shall be observed by the Executive Committee.
- To receive and receipt for all current funds of the Convention including all undesignated cooperative missionary, educational, and benevolent funds and all current special or designated funds for missionary, educational, and benevolent purposes which may be contributed by individuals, churches, societies, corporations, associations, or state conventions; and to disburse all undesignated funds, according to the percentages fixed by the Convention and all the designated funds according to the stipulations of the donors. The Executive Committee shall keep the accounts of all inter-entity groups and shall disburse their funds on requisition of the properly constituted officers of the inter-entity organization.
- To recommend to the Convention a time and place and to have oversight of the arrangements for the meetings of the Convention, with authority to change both the time and place of the meetings in accordance with the provisions of Article XI, Section 3, of the Constitution.
- To act in an advisory capacity on all questions of cooperation among the different entities of the Convention, and among the entities of the Convention and those of other conventions, whether state or national.
- To present to the Convention each year a consolidated and comprehensive financial statement of the Convention and all its entities, which statement shall show the assets and liabilities of the Convention and all its entities, and all the cash and other receipts of the year.
- To present to the Convention a comprehensive budget for the Convention and for all its entities, which budget shall include the budgets of all the entities of the Convention whether or not they receive Cooperative Program funds, as reviewed by the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee shall recommend the amount of Convention funds which may be allocated to each cause. It shall not recommend any direct allocation of funds for any entity or institution for which the Convention does not elect trustees or directors.
- To conduct the general work of promotion and the general work of publicity for the Convention in cooperation with the entities of the Convention. The Executive Committee shall provide a Convention relations service and a Convention news service to interpret and publicize the overall Southern Baptist ministry. These services shall be available to support the work of all Convention entities and ministries.
- To maintain open channels of communication between the Executive Committee and the trustees of the entities of the Convention, to study and make recommendations to entities concerning adjustments required by ministry statements or by established Convention policies and practices, and, whenever deemed advisable, to make recommendations to the Convention. The Executive Committee shall not have authority to control or direct the several boards, entities, and institutions of the Convention. This is the responsibility of trustees elected by the Convention and accountable directly to the Convention.
- To make its own bylaws in keeping with the Constitution and Bylaws of the Convention in carrying out these instructions to the Executive Committee; to hold meetings whenever deemed necessary; to make reports of all meetings to the Convention; to notify all the boards, entities, and institutions of the actions of the Convention and to advise with them as to the best way of promoting all the interests of the Convention.
- To derive, in accordance with the action of the Convention in Atlanta in 1944, the expenses of the Executive Committee from the Operating Budget of the Convention specifically established for this purpose and formally approved by the Convention.
- To utilize an appropriate report format which will enable the Executive Committee to obtain from the entities adequate and comparable information about ministry plans, accomplishments, and financial data.
- To maintain an official organization manual defining the responsibilities of each entity of the Convention for conducting specific ministries and for performing other functions. The manual shall cite the actions of the Convention that assigned the ministries and other functions to the entity. The Executive Committee shall present to the Convention recommendations required to clarify the responsibilities of the entities for ministries and other functions, to eliminate overlapping assignments of responsibility, and to authorize the assignment of new responsibilities for ministries or functions to entities.
- To send copies of the minutes of the Executive Committee to the heads of all Southern Baptist Convention entities, and copies of the minutes of all entities shall be sent to the office of the Executive Committee.
19. Committee on Committees
A Committee on Committees, composed of two (2) members from each qualified state or defined territory, shall be appointed by the president, in conference with the vice presidents, of whom one (1) shall be designated as chairperson. Persons named to the Committee on Committees shall have been resident members for at least three (3) years of Southern Baptist churches either geographically within the states or affiliated with the conventions of the states from which they are appointed. Members so named shall be notified by the president in writing, at least 45 days before the meeting of the Convention. Their names shall be released by the president to Baptist Press no later than 45 days prior to the annual meeting of the Convention, and their names shall be published in the first issue of the Convention Bulletin. The president may fill any vacancies on the committee when those originally named do not attend the Convention. This committee shall nominate all special committees authorized during the sessions of the Convention not otherwise provided for. All special Convention committees shall transfer, upon their discharge, all official files to the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention.
20. Committee on Resolutions
At least seventy-five (75) days in advance of the Convention, the president, in conference with the vice presidents, shall appoint a Committee on Resolutions to consist of ten (10) members, any two (2) of whom shall have served as Committee on Resolutions members during the prior year, and any three (3) of whom shall be members of the Executive Committee. One of the Committee members shall be designated as chairperson. Members so named shall be notified by the president in writing at least 75 days before the annual meeting of the Convention. The names of the members of the Committee on Resolutions shall be released by the president to Baptist Press no later than 75 days prior to the annual meeting of the Convention, and their names shall be published in the first issue of the Convention Bulletin.
In order to facilitate thorough consideration and to expedite the Committee’s work, all proposed resolutions shall:
- Be submitted to the Committee for review and consideration as early as April 15th, but no later than fifteen (15) days prior to the next SBC annual meeting,
- Be addressed to the Committee on Resolutions in care of the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention at its registered or e-mail address (electronic copies are preferred),
- Be typewritten, titled, and dated,
- Be accompanied by a letter from a church qualified to send a messenger to the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention certifying that the person submitting the resolution is a member in good standing, and
- Include complete contact information for both the person submitting it, and his or her church.
No person may submit more than three resolutions per year. The Committee on Resolutions shall prepare and submit to each annual meeting of the Convention only such resolutions the Committee recommends for adoption. Such resolutions may be based upon proposals received by the Committee or may originate with the Committee. Only resolutions recommended by the Committee may be considered by the Convention, except the Convention may, by a 2/3 vote, consider any other resolution properly submitted to the Committee.
A list of the titles of all properly submitted proposed resolutions shall be printed in the Convention Bulletin. The list shall include the name and city of each person properly submitting a resolution, and the disposition of each proper submission.
21. Committee on Order of Business
The Committee on Order of Business, a standing committee, shall consist of seven (7) members – the president of the Convention and six (6) other members, two (2) of whom shall be elected each year for a term of three (3) years and two (2) of whom shall be persons not employed full time by a church or denominational entity. No member of the committee can succeed himself or herself. The committee shall suggest an order of business for the next meeting of the Convention. It shall provide periods of time during the Convention for the introduction of all matters requiring a vote not scheduled on the agenda, and, when introduced (unless the Convention then gives its unanimous consent for its immediate consideration) shall fix times for the consideration of the same. All such matters of business shall be introduced to the Convention by the end of the afternoon session of the first day of the annual meeting of the Convention. When practicable it shall give notice in the Convention Bulletin of the substance of the motion or resolution and the time for its consideration. If unable to give notice in the Bulletin, it shall cause announcement to be made from the floor of the Convention of the same, action thereon to be taken at the subsequent session of that Convention. The committee shall recommend to the Convention a preacher for the succeeding Convention sermon and the director of music. The director of music shall be elected annually and the term of office is limited to two (2) years. The director of music shall not be eligible for re-election until as much as one (1) year has elapsed from the time a successor is named.
22. Notification of Committees
Within thirty (30) days after the Convention adjourns, the recording secretary shall notify the members of all committees of their appointment and all chairpersons of their position and furnish each one a list of that committee. The recording secretary shall also notify all board members, trustees of institutions, and commission members of their appointment.
23. The Great Commission Council
The Great Commission Council shall serve as the organization through which the various entities and the auxiliary of the Convention will correlate their work. The membership of the Great Commission Council shall be composed of the chief executives of The Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, the auxiliary of the Convention, and the entities named in Bylaw 14.
- The work of the Council shall be in keeping with its prescribed functions. It will neither launch nor execute ministries; it will formulate no policies, except those which govern its own activities. Its chief purpose is that of consultation, communication, and cooperation. The scope of its work will be that of:
- finding ways of mutual re-enforcement in assigned responsibilities and distinctive ministries;
- considering and seeking to avoid overlapping endeavors and competitive ministries;
- considering the means for helping the churches fulfill their divine mission in Bible teaching, evangelism,
- world missions, stewardship, Christian training, education, and Christian social service;
- finding ways for effective cooperation in promoting the total work of the Southern Baptist Convention;
- considering the significant factors affecting the work and witness of the denomination; and
- seeking to find the means through which the power of the Christian gospel may be comprehensively and effectively applied to the ends of the earth.
- In the matter of relationships:
- the Council is not, itself, an entity of the Convention;
- it has no authority over the several entities;
- its decisions are not binding on the entities, since the boards and commissions must retain the authority to reach the decisions required to carry out their own responsibilities;
- its relationship to the entities is purely advisory;
- the Council does not report formally either to the Convention or the Executive Committee, nor does the Convention refer matters directly to the Great Commission Council;
- it may receive from and refer to the Executive Committee problems for consideration;
- it is not required to take formal action with regard to matters referred to it by the Executive Committee in serving as a channel of cooperation and correlation relative to the work of the Convention; and
- the Council sustains no direct relationship with state conventions or local churches, but it will strive to be mindful of the needs of the churches as well as the functions and ministries of the several conventions.
24. Ministry Statements
The ministry statements of the entities as approved by the Southern Baptist Convention and published in the 1967 Annual and subsequently amended, renamed, or rewritten, and approved by the Convention, express the policy of the Convention with respect to the ministries of the entities of the Convention.
25. New Enterprises and Abolishing of Entities
No new enterprise, involving expenditure of money, shall be authorized by the Convention except upon favorable action by the Convention in two (2) succeeding annual meetings; provided, however, that this restriction shall not apply to a recommendation of an entity of the Convention concerning its own work. No entity shall be discontinued without a majority vote at two (2) successive annual sessions of the Convention.
- Method of Procedure for Entities: To facilitate consideration and discussion of the interests of the Convention, the following method of procedure is hereby adopted:
- Printed reports of the boards, institutions, commissions, and standing committees shall be consolidated into the Book of Reports for distribution to messengers on their enrollment;
- Reports of all special commissions and standing committees, containing recommendations for the Convention’s action, shall be included in the Book of Reports; and
- All recommendations of each board, institution, commission, special committee, and standing committee shall be printed together at the end of its report before they may be considered by the Convention. In case any entity or committee shall be unable to comply with this requirement, its recommendation shall be printed in the Convention Bulletin before consideration and action by the Convention. Recommendations by an entity which are not published in the Book of Reports or the Convention Bulletin shall, when presented to the Convention, be referred to the Executive Committee or to such other committee as the Convention may direct.
- Procedure for Motions of Messengers Concerning Entities: Motions made by messengers dealing with internal operations or ministries of an entity shall be referred to the elected board of the entity for consideration and report to the constituency and to the next annual meeting of the Convention for action with the exception that the Committee on Order of Business may be instructed by a two-thirds vote to arrange for consideration at a subsequent session of the same Convention, subject to provision of Bylaw 21.
On all matters referred by the Convention, entities shall respond in writing at the close of their report in the Book of Reports and Annual, giving specific information on:
- how the matter referred was considered;
- how it was reported to the constituency; and
- any actions on the matter taken by the entity or action proposed to the Convention.
- Limitations: The last one-third of the time allotted for consideration of every entity report before the Convention shall be reserved for discussion from the floor.
27. Publicity and Press Representative
- Boards, institutions, and special committees dealing with matters of general importance and interest shall have in the hands of the press representative of the Convention, at least one (1) week in advance, copies of digests of their report to be submitted to the approaching Convention.
- The press representative shall cooperate with the representatives of the secular press in furnishing intelligent, accurate, and creditable reports of this Convention while in session.
28. Closing of Books
Entities of the Convention shall close their books and accounts and have them audited as of midnight September 30, or in the case of the seminaries, July 31, or in the case of GuideStone Financial Resources, December 31. Supplemental reports for the period between the closing of the books of the entities and the Convention session should be included in the reports to the Convention.
29. Participation in Convention Affairs
To promote broad participation in the affairs of the Convention, a person need not be a registered messenger to serve as a Convention committee member or volunteer (such as an usher or teller), but must be a member of a church cooperating with the Convention.
30. Representation From Qualified States and Territories
- When the cooperating Baptist churches in a state or defined territory have fifteen thousand (15,000) members, an initial application may be filed for representation on the Executive Committee, the Committee on Committees, and the Committee on Nominations.
- When the cooperating Baptist churches have twenty thousand (20,000) members, an updated application may be filed for representation on the International Mission Board, North American Mission Board, and LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, unless otherwise provided in the Board’s charter.
- When the cooperating Baptist churches have twenty-five thousand (25,000) members, an updated application may be filed for representation on GuideStone Financial Resources, the commissions, and institutions, unless otherwise provided in the commission’s or institution’s charter, and on the standing committees of the Convention, all as provided by the Bylaws of the Convention.
- The application in each instance shall be filed with the Executive Committee, through its president, prior to its February meeting. The application shall contain information as specified by the Executive Committee.
- Upon receiving the initial application, the Executive Committee shall investigate all matters pertaining to the request and make a recommendation to the Southern Baptist Convention at its next annual meeting. If the recommendation of the Executive Committee is favorable to the application, a copy of the recommendation shall be forwarded to the president of the Southern Baptist Convention and the chairman of the Committee on Committees prior to the next annual meeting of the Convention.
- Upon receipt of the favorable recommendation of the Executive Committee on the initial application in (1) above, the president of the Convention, in conference with the vice presidents, shall appoint two (2) persons from the state or territory to serve as members of the Committee on Committees, and the Committee on Committees shall nominate two (2) persons from the state or territory to serve on the Committee on Nominations, all conditional upon the approval of the application by the Southern Baptist Convention.
- Those elected by the Convention shall be immediately eligible to begin their appropriate terms of service.
31. Adoption of Reports
The adoption of recommendations contained in reports to the Convention shall not bind the Convention on any other matters in the body of the reports; but the Convention reserves the right to consider and amend the body of all reports.
32. As to Violation of State Laws
All incorporated entities of the Convention shall be required to comply with the letter and spirit of the Constitution insofar as it is not in conflict with the statute law of the state in which an entity is incorporated, and nothing herein contained shall be construed to require any such incorporated entity to act and carry on its affairs in conflict with the law of the state of its incorporation. In case any action of any entity of the Convention is found to be a violation of the law of the state of its incorporation, said action shall be reported by that entity to the Convention for appropriate action.
33. Charters of Entities, Subsidiaries, and Ancillary Organizations
The charters of all entities of the Convention shall provide that the trustees or directors of such entities be elected by the Convention, and that the charters may not be further amended without the prior consent of the Convention. The charters of all subsidiaries of any entity of the Convention shall provide that they may not be further amended without the prior consent of the Convention or its Executive Committee. No entity of the Convention shall establish a subsidiary corporation or any other legal entity or form for conducting its affairs, nor acquire a controlling interest or greater than a 25% interest in any other corporation or business enterprise, until the Convention or its Executive Committee has approved the same and its governing instruments. An entity of the Convention shall not undertake through a subsidiary or by any other means any action which, if undertaken by the entity itself, would violate the Constitution, Bylaws, or Business and Financial Plan of the Convention.
The quorum for conducting business during the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention shall be a minimum of 25 percent of those duly registered and seated messengers.
35. Trustee Absenteeism
- Upon the request of any entity, the Convention may remove from office any trustee/director of that entity who has excessive unexcused absences. Following such removal, the Convention shall elect a successor to complete the term of office of the person removed.
- An entity shall give written notice of any request to remove a trustee/director for absenteeism at least one hundred twenty (120) days prior to the meeting of the Convention which shall consider the removal. The notice shall be given to the president of the Convention, the president/chief executive officer of the Executive Committee, the chairman of the Committee on Nominations, and the individual trustee/director whose removal shall be considered.
- If required by state law, an entity shall incorporate this procedure in its charter or bylaws prior to requesting the Convention to remove any trustee.
The Bylaws may be amended pursuant to Bylaw 21 by a two-thirds majority vote at any time except during the last session of the Convention. Bylaw 14, which lists the entities and auxiliary of the Convention, may be amended by a majority vote of two (2) successive annual meetings.