Inside Nashville

“We’re on our knees begging you for the info…we abhor the thought of not knowing what kind of excitement you had in Nashville. Why are you withholding “the goods” from your dear friends and family?”

Well, you as readers have spoken–loud. You really, really, really want to know what I did in Nashville and who I met, and you want to see all five of my pictures. As an imaginary emailer said:

“We’re on our knees begging you for the info…we abhor the thought of not knowing what kind of excitement you had in Nashville. Why are you withholding “the goods” from your dear friends and family?”

So, I shall attempt to convey to you what went on during my residence in the beautiful city of Nashville, Tennessee.

My first day, my Grandpa and I flew to Nashville from Baltimore. You can read my post about that flight here (sorry about the mispellings–I was typing fast. Thanks to they guy who allowed me to borrow his computer! I’m forever thankful!) After arriving, we traveled through Nashville to the hotel. I saw the stadium where the Titans had walloped the Raven’s earlier, and stared into the sky above to view the Batman Building (otherwise know as Bell South or Wayne Tower).

We arrived at the hotel, and met Mr. Carroll Reynolds in the lobby. After checking in, we rode one of six elevators to the 15th floor, and walked down the hallway to our room.

Two beds–cool. Fox News–double cool. Cool View–Nice.

We unpacked, and headed down to Damon’s for dinner. On the way we passed people (go figure), a weird bus with obnoxious people, and more people. Oh yes, we also passed CTV (Country Music Television for all you non-country listeners like m….oh never mind.)

Anyway, dinner was great, and so was my sleep that night. We slept in the next day, and headed down to the Southern Baptist Executive Building so I could have a tour.

I guess at this point, I’ll quickly tell you who I met (or saw or heard from), then move on to what went on during the meetings.

I met Robert J. Anderson, Jr., Conley J. (C.J.) Bordeaux, Sr., Martin F. Davis, Bryan Easley, Terry L. Fields, Melissa C. Gay (ate dinner with her), Kevin J. Hamm, Charles L. Hollingsworth, Randall L. James, Martin (Marty) Johnson, Randy A. Johnson, Martha B. Lawley (New Reader!!!), Nathan R. Luce (I believe I ate breakfast with him), Nancy W. McGuigan (ate dinner with her), Sing Oldham, Carroll Reynolds, Ida South, Clark Stewart, Royce Sweatman (breakfast), and Rob Zinn.

Quite a list. And that’s not all.

I also got the honor to meet Morris H. Chapman, President & Chief Executive Officer of the Southern Baptist Executive Committee.

I met A. William (Bill) Merrell, the Senior Executive Adviser at the very end.

In addition, I met Will Hall, Editor of the Baptist Press. That was quite an experience and opportunity.

And, as you all know, I got the amazing opportunity and privelege to meet, and talk to Dr. Albert Mohler, one of my favorite bloggers and radio show host. That was one of the best parts of the whole trip.

Now, on to the way things work.

First, the Southern Baptist Convention sends their resolutions to be approved by the Executive Committee. The executive committee then has very small committees called workgroups (if I’m correct). Whatever is approved by them then goes to a larger committee called a sub-committee. Whatever they approve goes to the full executive committe during the plenary session.

The plenary sessions were the best, becuase you were able to see everything that went on earlier in the day play out before the crowd and before the senate-like committee.

I think that the first night was best described by fellow writer Erin Curry who was present during the first night.

“The chief executives of Southern Baptists’ national entities stood across the stage behind New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary President Chuck Kelley to show their support when he reported to Executive Committee members Sept. 19 on the condition of the institution he leads.”

“We believe that if we give Baptists an avenue, Southern Baptists will rise to the occasion and do whatever we need to do to take care of our seminary, our three state conventions, our churches and our people,” [Rob] Zinn said.”

“In another sign of solidarity, Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, presented a check for $147,282 to Kelley and New Orleans Seminary for recovery efforts. The money was given by students and staff at Southeastern Seminary. Students at the other four Southern Baptist seminaries are doing the same.”

“You will never have an opportunity to promote the importance of the Cooperative Program perhaps again in decades like you’ve got right now,” [Robert E. (Bob) Reccord, president of the North American Mission Board] said. “Young leaders who look up to many of you need to hear you say why the Cooperative Program is important, that without that when this disaster hit, without the superstructure of the Cooperative Program provides, we couldn’t have done squat. But because it exists, we could be there within 48 hours.”

“And when Southern Baptists walked into the headquarters of American Red Cross, they got a standing ovation. I’m glad I’m a part of a people like that.”

As I look back on that night, it was awesome. I really was impacted by the words of those men who spoke. I was proud to be a Southern Baptist, and really saw the benefits of being part of a denomination: the cooperative program. We Southern Baptists talk about it all the time, and it was getting old to me–but after my visit I heard and saw first hand the benefits of thousands of churches working together for a common goal. It’s powerful.

I was able to meet all of these men without pre-conceived prejiduce. I only knew them for what I saw and heard at that meeting. I believe that was a good thing. They were all honest there. I was looking from behind the scenes, and I liked what I saw.

I saw men of integrity. I saw a system of thorough orderliness. And I saw Jesus at the center of everything that was done.

Each meeting was opened by a short devotional and prayer. Those devotionals were really awesome, and were great to listen to. I really enjoyed them. I wish you could have been there to experience it.

The sub-committee meetings I attended included discussion the salary structure, the bylaws, whether or not one woman should be required to be on every committee (declined by the way), the next convention location (Greensboro), the cooperative program, public relations, administration, and I believe a few others that were minor (if you memorized all the decisions and told me what they were, I can probably recall the meeting it was discussed in.)

It was all very fascinating. You would think that I would be bored going to formal meetings, but this was different. It was interesting, and made me want to listen. I had planned on taking notes, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I just wanted to sit back and take it all in for my first time. And I’m pleased that I did that.

So there you have it. About as much as I can tell you.

(If you’d like to know what exactly the Executive Comittee does and like to read formal documents go here Also on that site you can find the pictures of all committee members.)

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