Monday, March 14, 2011
What is a traditional small church? In my definition, a traditional small church is a church which has less than 200 in Sunday morning worship attendance according to the ACP report and practices traditional ways of doing church: hymns, choir, piano, organ, suit and tie or at least business casual for men, dresses for women, "Sunday best" for children, preacher preaching at a pulpit, Sunday School, and traditional programs such as RA's, GA's, Baptist Men, and WMU.
Traditional small churches comprise the vast majority of the SBC (83% per latest ACP). However, these small churches, which are the majority of the churches in the SBC, are represented on SBC boards as a clear minority. The average SBC board representation of traditional small churches is 22%. The average SBC board representation of churches with over 1,000 Sunday morning worship attendance averages 30%. However, these larger churches only comprise 1.4% of all SBC churches.
Have traditional small churches been marginalized in SBC life? The facts clearly say "Yes." The majority of the SBC churches have the minority voice in every governing agency of the SBC. If this isn't marginalization of traditional small churches, then I don't know what is.
I have asked each of the past four SBC presidents to take steps to alleviate the inequitable representation of the majority of SBC churches and each president has declined to take any definitive action. Last year, I proposed a motion to the Executive Board to resolve this inequity, but they have refused to address it.
To me, for anyone to even hint that traditional small churches are not being marginalized in SBC life is the sign of someone who is not paying attention or who is not aware of the realities of SBC life.