By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector
In less than two weeks, Nashville will be abuzz with Southern Baptists. More than 12,000 messengers are expected to register for the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention to be held June 15-16 at the Music City Center in Nashville.
Music City and Tennessee last hosted the SBC annual meeting in 2005 and 11,641 messengers registered for the event.
Attendance has dwindled at SBC meetings in recent years. Since 2000, only four annual meetings have produced more than 10,000 messengers — Orlando in 2000 and 2010, Nashville in 2005 and Greensboro, N.C., in 2006. When Southern Baptists last gathered in 2019 in Birmingham, Ala., 8,183 messengers attended. Last year’s annual meeting, again scheduled in Orlando, was canceled due to COVID-19.
There was some question as to whether this year’s event would take place in Nashville due to COVID restrictions still in place. On April 15, Ronnie Floyd, president of the SBC Executive Committee, announced the venue was being moved from the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center to downtown to “provide abundant space conducive to holding a meeting that is efficient, effective and safe for every attendee” while adhering to local COVID-19 protocols (See story). [Read more…]