Are widows welcome to attend the annual meeting of the SBC? Of course. That is, if they have the coins to do so.
In the Story of the Widow’s Mite Jesus opened a window into the heart of those giving offerings at the Temple, forever correcting the false idea that the person who gives the biggest offering is the most generous, or the most godly, among the worshippers. “No,” says Jesus, “The widow who gives her last coin has the most generous heart. She gave out of her poverty putting in all she had” (paraphrase of Luke 21:1-4).
The SBC needs more widows, and other generous, big-hearted, Jesus-loving people participating in the annual SBC business meeting. We need those who teach Bible stories to 4-year old’s participating in the annual meeting. We need the door greeters, deacons who serve widows, and the widows whom they serve, to have a voice at the SBC. We need the missionaries on the “foreign field,” and the bi-vocational pastor who turns a wrench to earn a living, while shepherding the people of God to fulfill his calling, we need them to participate in the annual meeting of the SBC.
Plane tickets to Nashville to attend the SBC cost over $500 per person where I live. The convention hotel, the Omni, is over $300 per night if you go online to book a room. There are few bargains to be found. Car rentals and food … it’s more than a widow can afford, or a young pastor with three small kids, or a missionary on stateside assignment, or most people that I know.
If the meeting in Nashville on June 15-16 is typical, four to five thousand churches will send messengers. What if ten thousand or twenty thousand churches participated by sending messengers to a nearby, remote location, in Anchorage or Helena or Wenatchee or Syracuse or even Laurel, Mississippi? What if widows and teachers and shopkeepers participated in the SBC? What if loggers and mill workers and those who took vacation to do a mission trip instead of attending the SBC were enabled to participate remotely? These are the people giving their mites and more. It’s time we give them a vote.
It’s time we had transparency in how the money is spent and transparency in reporting results. It’s time we held leaders accountable and train trustees to understand that is their job. Hiding embarrassing information behind Non-Disclosure Agreements must end. And churches need to be empowered through remote-location participation at the SBC.
Now is the right time to do the right thing. Yes, we need more widows attending the SBC, and others who know the value of a coin, as they put theirs into the offering plate to support God’s church and send His missionaries to the lost in faraway places.