National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. Frequently Asked Questions
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) represents a broad array of concerns of the membership of the Convention. Where the Convention has established formal policy or position on the subject, that response is provided. However, there are many questions posed by the membership for which the Convention has no formal policy or position, and in those cases informal guidance is provided. Informal guidance is not to be interpreted as formal Convention policy or position, but is offered in the form of general guidance or resources to enable the local congregation to develop their own policies and procedures.
Convention Membership: How do you join the Convention?
Registering for the “Annual Session” results in the initiation or continuation of your membership with the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. Although attendance at the Annual Session meeting is not mandatory, your annual registration is required to continue your membership with the NBC, USA, Inc. Registration is offered year-round, however, you must be registered by December 31 of each year to maintain your membership status. For more information about registering, visit: http://www.nationalbaptist.com/meetings--events/annual-session/registration-information.html.
Convention Membership: What are the benefits of membership?
Membership Benefits & Privileges Include:
• Voting Privileges
• Eligible to serve in elected or appointed leadership positions
• Retirement, health, life, and disability insurance plans via the Ministers and Missionaries Benefits Board (MMBB) for pastors and staff
• Service Recognition for 50 years or more as pastor
• Church, District, Ministry and State Convention Websites
• Supporting the Ministries and Outreach of the Convention, including Disaster Relief, Home and Foreign Missions, Prison Ministry, and more
• Supporting Higher Education Opportunities for our Youth, including the American Baptist College and College Scholarships
• Participating in and supporting the continuing education and certification of Christian Leaders and Laypersons through the Congress of Christian Education
• National advertisement for your church, district or state convention events (free)
• National advertisement for your pastor and church staff searches
• Church, District, Ministry and State Convention Websites at a discount
• Ongoing Communication and Updates via the Website and Email Newsletters
• Opportunities for individuals and churches to serve and benefit from national ministries and mission
• Continuing, supporting and contributing to the legacy and growth of the largest and oldest traditionally African American Baptist denomination
Convention Membership: What are the rules members are required to follow?
The Convention supports the local autonomy of its churches to govern themselves, so it doesn't impose rules or regulations on its members. The churches/members in the Convention are essentially an assembly of like-minded Christians who share similarities in their worship, education, theology, and doctrines and in the case of the Convention, a commitment to social justice and foreign missions work. The Convention has a strong African-American heritage, however, we are seeing more and more diversity in our church membership.
We suggest that you familiarize yourself with Convention history, organizational structure and the Constitution to determine if the Convention is the type of organization of which you want to be a part. Reviewing the "Departments," "News," "Meetings," and "About Us" sections on the website would be helpful as well. Here are some links that may help you:
Mission, Constitution & Bylaws:
Convention Membership: If our church joins the local district association does that makes us a member of the NBCUSA?
The answer is yes and no. If your church does not join the Convention, then technically it is not a member of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. However, your church would be considered as being affiliated with the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. through your District Association only if the District Association holds an active membership with the National Convention. The same would hold true if you substituted “State Convention” for District Association. The National Baptist Convention encourages churches to hold membership at the District, State and National levels.
Convention Membership: Can individuals join the Convention?
Yes! “Memberships” are generally taken up during the Annual Session, every September. The Mid-Winter Board Session, provides an opportunity to support the Convention financially and to stand up and be counted through a process the Convention calls, “representation.”
To register as an individual, you should download and print the "Parent Body" registration form found in the Annual Session link under the "Meetings" tab located on the home page. You may register at any time.
Convention Structure, Policies & Procedures: Can you explain how the Convention works?
The Convention doesn't have a concise resource that responds to all of your concerns, however, most of your questions can be answered through various pages on the website. Visit: http://www.nationalbaptist.com/about-us/index.html
Moderators/Districts: Can a woman be a Moderator?
Yes. All churches of the NBC USA Inc. are autonomous which allows each individual local church to make decisions concerning their government. Therefore, since the Association is made up of the local churches, they to have the final decisions of whom their officers can be.
Matthew L. Canada, NBC, USA, Inc. President, Moderators
Convention Intervention in Local Church Affairs: Can the Convention help our church settle a problem we are having with our Pastor? Does the Convention offer assistance in resolving disputes?
The local Baptist Church is an autonomous body, governing itself. As such, not District Association, State Convention or National can come into that Church and dictate policy or procedure to it. It is the sole responsibility of the membership to resolve any disputes with the Pastor or any other members, according to the rules, regulations, guidelines or procedures established by that Congregation.
The church's constitution drives the official processing of all matters of dispute, especially those pertaining to the Pastor and the People. If your church's constitution does not provide for inviting representatives in from the national, state or district association for mediation purposes, then we doubt that the pastor will permit such an invitation.
The Convention may make itself available to mediate any dispute at the request of BOTH parties. This will uphold the biblical mandate of not taking fellow Christians to court before an unrighteous judge. Again, the Convention may mediate, not dictate! Current directories on the Convention website are available at: http://www.nationalbaptist.com/resources/directories.html
Clergy Support Services: What support does the Convention offer for novice female ministers?
The Convention does not offer specific support for female ministers at this time. However, there are many learning opportunities available to you through the National Baptist Congress of Christian Education Annual Session and your state and District Congress meetings. Check out the Young Ministers Division and Minister's Division at the Congress Session.
You may find these online resources/networks helpful to you:
Gifted for Leadership, an online resource especially for women in ministry (website, blog, Email Newsletter, support groups, etc.) sponsored by ChristianityToday.com. You may visit their website at this address: http://www.giftedforleadership.com
Another organization, the Hampton Minister’s Conference may also be able to offer you some support and guidance. Try to find out if there are specific resource people and/or workshops available to help female ministers w Here’s a link to their website— http://www.hamptonu.edu/events/ministers_conference/index.htm
Other places to look for information are:
• Jim Watkin’s website has a page devoted to resources for women in ministry: http://watkins.gospelcom.net/women.htm
• Women’s Ministry Network: http://www.womensministry.net/
• Assemblies of God has a website for support for female ministers: http://womeninministry.ag.org/
• American Baptist Churches website: http://www.abc-usa.org/
• American Baptist Women In Ministry: http://www.abwim.org/
• Christianity Today: http://www.christianitytoday.com/
• Sunday School Publishing Board: http://sspbnbc.com
• RH Boyd Publishing: http://www.rhboydpublishing.com/index.php
• Judson Press: http://www.judsonpress.com/