Editor’s note: This article was written by Nathan A. Finn, SBC Recording Secretary and originally was published at baptistpress.com.
Each year, the Book of Reports is prepared by the staff of the SBC Executive Committee. It includes both narrative and statistical reports from our various denominational ministries and auxiliaries. The Book of Reports also includes our Convention’s key governing documents and organizational manual.
For years, I’ve enjoyed reading over the Book of Reports. But this year is a bit different. Last summer in Anaheim, Southern Baptists elected me to serve as Recording Secretary of the SBC. Among my responsibilities in this role is to provide the final edit to the Book of Reports and write a foreword to the document. This means I’ve read the Book of Reports far more closely this spring than ever before. And you know what? I’m really encouraged by what I’ve read.
As I note in the foreword,
The Book of Reports exists so that messengers can better handle the business of the Convention. It is a record of the work of our denominational ministries. It provides Southern Baptists with the information they need to celebrate God’s work in and among us. It is a tool to enable Southern Baptists to faithfully pray for their Executive Committee, general boards, institutions, and the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. It is a record that informs Southern Baptists so that we can continue to hold our ministries accountable to their respective missions.
Here are some of the things you’ll learn from the Book of Reports:
- Our International Mission Board is resourcing missionaries and partnering with local churches, associations, and state conventions to reach the lost and plant Baptist churches among unreached people groups all over the world
- Our North American Mission Board is creatively and intentionally mobilizing Southern Baptists for evangelism, church planting, and various forms of kingdom service among the unchurched, underserved, and physically needy on our continent
- Our six seminaries are creatively providing well over 20,000 students, in dozens of different programs, at almost every educational level, with theological formation that is biblically faithful, distinctively Baptist, and ministerially practical
- Lifeway Christian Resources is publishing books, producing curricula, sponsoring events, and providing numerous other resources to help individual believers, families, and local churches to thrive spiritually and make a difference for the kingdom
- GuideStone Financial Resources is providing a variety of services that help Southern Baptists and other believers be wise stewards of their financial resources, as well as providing assistance for needy senior saints who have served the Lord faithfully for decades
- Our Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission is faithfully representing Southern Baptist values in the public square, equipping individuals and churches to offer a clear public witness to Gospel’s implications, and advocating for religious liberty for all people for the sake of kingdom advance and authentic human flourishing
This is only a general summary of some of what the Lord is doing in and through our denominational ministries. In the Book of Reports, you’ll find narrative summaries that go into far greater detail about various priorities, initiatives, and spiritual victories. I want to encourage every Southern Baptist, especially our pastors, to read through the Book of Reports in between now and the Annual Meeting in New Orleans. By God’s grace, there is much to celebrate.