SBC Elite power is brittle, and Nashville proved it

NAMB logo

NAMB prioritized turnout, entertainment over evangelism.

NAMB’s SEND Conference attendance 10,000 while NAMB’s Crossover had 92 participants.

In the Cold War, the Soviet Union exploited the defeat of Germany to create the satellite states of Eastern Europe. The result was a net drain on the Soviet economy and a weaker position versus the economic dynamism of the West. What looked to outsiders like a display of power was actually a display of the internal weakness of the Soviet Union. Instead of focusing on its internal needs, the Soviet Union spent decades supporting the satellite orbit—an orbit that disintegrated as soon as the Soviet will to use tanks collapsed.

There are lessons from this episode of history that should guide us now.

The election of Ed Litton as SBC President was accomplished with an unprecedented get-out-the-vote effort by the North American Mission Board. As the Washington Post reported, NAMB paid for church planters to attend Nashville and vote for Ed Litton. As we reported, NAMB utilized SEND conferences across the country to platform Ed Litton and make sure its Woke staff were in his corner.

What does this mean?

That Ed Litton and the Woke crowd of Southern Baptists are weaker than they appear.

The power is brittle. NAMB’s monumental effort proves it. Without it, the Conservative Baptist Network in its first year would have dominated the SBC Annual Meeting.

Just as the Soviets ignored key priorities to establish and maintain the satellite orbit, the North American Mission Board showed its priority is power. In Nashville, NAMB abandoned its Great Commission task to hold a party.

For today’s North American Mission Board (NAMB) a party & marketing are more important than evangelism.

Because of the COVID Pandemic, NAMB spent lavishly on a SEND Conference that attracted 10,000 to enjoy indoor comforts, concerts, and speakers. Also, because of COVID, NAMB minimized its Crossover evangelism work in Nashville. Only 92 participated in Crossover outreach.

The Baptist Message reported, “Despite registering 10,000 participants from across the country for the Send Conference, NAMB noted on its registration website for Crossover that ‘Due to the ever-changing nature of pandemic guidelines, we are not able to accommodate outside groups this year.’”

Also, “NAMB’s decision not to accommodate out-of-state groups in 2021 likely hurt the evangelistic outreach in Nashville.”

The Baptist Message details the sharp decline since 2010 of the Crossover salvation decisions.

The chart tells the story:

10-YEAR SUMMARY OF SALVATIONS

2010 — 1,940 (Orlando)
2011 — 1,131 (Phoenix)
2012 — 1,140 (New Orleans)
2013 — 582 (Houston)
2014 — 214 (Baltimore)
2015 – 345 (Columbus)
2016 – 556 (St, Louis)
2017 – 151 (Phoenix), plus 3,398 during Harvest America by Greg Laurie
2018 – 1,015 (Dallas), plus 3,214 during Harvest America by Greg Laurie
2019 – 364 (Birmingham)
2020 – pandemic
2021 – 176 (Nashville) 

NAMB’s focus on power over the Great Commission will lead to its decline

Just as the Soviet obsession with power led it on a course of wasting resources on an ill-advised arms race and creation of the satellite orbit, so to NAMB’s focus on marketing and power at the expense of its core mission will weaken it.

As Morris Chapman said in 2006, when entities and entity heads become engaged in SBC politics, it tarnishes the prestige of the entity.

“Why then should any head of an entity seize the opportunity any given year for public participation, aside from voting as a messenger, in the election of our SBC officers? To do so risks much good will and enormous respect normally gained over many years by individuals who have been elected to lead entities of the Southern Baptist Convention,” Chapman warned.

Why should churches support NAMB if it is going to engage in such naked partisanship?

This is the question that will be asked over and over in pews and pulpits across the Southern Baptist Convention. The best course is to stop giving to NAMB and modify CP-giving to make sure NAMB does not get the dollars to use against the interests of conservative churches.

If limitless money forms the sinews of war, denying NAMB resources to carry out its partisan goals will expose just how brittle the SBC Elite machine really is.