It's June 1st and we're just a couple of weeks away from the Annual Meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting this year in Orlando, FL. It's a good thing the SBC has finally ended the Disney Boycott of several years ago. If not, there would have been a lot of conflicted visiting families in the shadow of the Magic Kingdom this year - but I digress.
There is always serious business for the Messengers from the 40,000+ churches to consider at each annual meeting. Dr. Morris Chapman has said that the SBC in convention is "the largest deliberative body in the world". Tuesday afternoon's business session this year carries such weight, that I am sure there will be very few of the messengers found at any of the Disney attractions at that particular time.
The debate on the convention floor is often boring, sometimes interesting, and every now and again, pretty fiery. But I have always been fascinated in what is going on at the same time in the hallways and the exhibit area. The Convention Annual Meeting is always a time of reunion of old friends and great fellowship together. But it is also a time networking, schmoozing, and politicking. There are always fellows who are looking for a new place of service. Some, to escape bad, stagnant situations that they are presently enduring, and some who are looking to climb the ladder of success.
The week of September 11, 2001, I had opportunity to spend a few days with the late Rev. Dan McBride, whose work had been a wonderful source of delight to me for many years. This Texas Baptist had been in the Christian Education ministry for many years, but it was his humor and musical talent that had caught my attention as a very young man. Although somewhat dated now, the messages of this humorous songs about Baptist life (such as "Tiptoe Through the Tithers", "Righteous Indignation", "I'm Beginning to Sound a Lot Like Criswell", and "The Business Meeting Song") are a delight to every pastor who has been fortunate enough to come across them.
So, in light of the politicking that will be going on in the upcoming Convention meeting in Orlando, and in tribute to Dan McBride, with tongue planted firmly in cheek, I want to share the lyrics of one of his appropriate songs with you today:
I am climbing destiny's ladder with a self improvement plan.
I'm the guy who works and pursues the way that seemeth right to man!
And I hope you won't think it sinister, that I'm in the ministry.
My ambition is more professional, like medicine, or law, or dentistry!
So when I consider a move to a new church or residence,
I ask is this move conducive toward Convention President?
And if I can see advantage in the move potentially,
I figure it must be the will of the Lord, because it seems so right to me!
Every day occasions arise that ought to make your status grow.
Each denomination relation is a face that you should know,
All your knowledge of good theology won't get you any where.
It's applied political science that will write your name up there - in the Baptist Annual!
You should always be in the hallways at conventions when they meet.
Or maybe ask some prominent pastor if he'll join you when you eat.
It's the system tradition giveth and I'm sure you will agree,
That it must be the will of the Lord, because it seems so right to me!