The 167th annual meeting of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) has been adapted due to safety concerns and limitations presented by the coronavirus. Previously scheduled to take place on October 20 and 21 at First Baptist Church in Rogers, the meeting will now occur as a special session of the Executive Board of the ABSC. The Executive Board will gather in Little Rock on October 20 to vote on essential matters to carry ministry forward into 2021.
While times seem unprecedented, this is not the first time for a cancellation or change in the history of the annual meeting of the ABSC. From 1862-1865 the meeting was cancelled as a result of the Civil War. Additionally, the annual meeting of 1933 did not convene until January of 1934, a time when America was at the height of The Great Depression. The decision to make this adjustment for 2020 was challenging.
Manley Beasley, Jr., President of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, said, “It showed a lot of wisdom with the decision that was made. My expectation is that it is the safest, wisest option. I fully support the Executive Board to call a special session to fulfill the requirements of the annual meeting.”
The Executive Board meeting set to occur in October will consider four essential business matters for 2021: annual budget, Convention Nominating Committee recommendations, ministry goals for the teams of the Executive Board, and Convention officers. No other matters of business or resolutions considered during this meeting. A livestream of the Executive Board meeting will be provided at ABSC.org.
The 2021 CP budget totals $21 million, which is unchanged from the previous year. However, 2021 marks the fourth year of a five-year budget formula plan that increases the money dedicated to out-of-state mission causes each year. For 2021, this represents 48.2 percent of the total budget that will be sent to dedicated out-of-state mission causes.
Annually, the Convention Nominating Committee submits a number of recommendations to be considered. This includes trustees for the boards of the ABSC, agencies, and institutions. Additionally, it includes recommendations for Convention committees and the 2025 annual meeting location. This recommendation will be considered by the Executive Board at the October 20 meeting.
The Church Planting Team, College+Young Leaders Team, Evangelism+Church Health Team, and Missions Team have each prepared ministry goals for their team in 2021. This includes efforts to plant more churches in the state, mobilize collegians in missions both on the campus and across the world, engage Arkansas Baptist churches with training opportunities and resources to see an increase in church attendance and baptisms, and provide a variety of mission opportunities and connections at home and abroad.
The current Convention officers are President Manley Beasley, Jr. Senior Pastor of Hot Springs Baptist Church, First Vice-President Ken Shaddox, Senior Pastor of Park Hill Baptist Church, North Little Rock, and Second Vice-President Jamar Andrews, Lead Pastor of Word Baptist Church, Jonesboro. Convention bylaws allow the officers to serve a second term. Since each of these officers was elected at last year’s Annual Meeting, they will be renominated to serve a second term.
Stay tuned to the ABSC website & social media for future resources, videos and information reporting the ministry work that has happened in the last year. Articles, videos and information will be available representing the teams, agencies and institutions of the ABSC.