Jerry Vines Blog
In my last blog I recounted my astonishing election as president of the Southern Baptist Pastors’ Conference. I was to preside at the Kansas City Municipal Auditorium Arena in 1977.
Our budget was huge--$9,000. We were very innovative with our stage—a flower arrangement, a pulpit, a piano and organ.Admittedly the rental cost of auditoriums has escalated considerably since then. Contrary to what some think, no honorariums were paid to Southern Baptist speakers or singers. And as you can see, precious little was available for the non-SBC personalities. What I learned about putting on a program that preachers and others would like served me well in the future years of our Pastors’ Conference at First Baptist, Jacksonville, Florida.
I had my pastor, John Tippett, Jr. and Homer Lindsay, Jr. on the program. Homer had graciously spoken only 10 minutes right before me the previous year, giving me a full amount of time. I also had evangelists Sam Cathy and Carliss Odom to speak. And, of course, I had R. G. Lee and W. A. Criswell. I had them out of respect and the pastors’ desire to hear Southern Baptists’ mightiest preachers.
R. O. Stone led the music, using his sons and several other outstanding musicians, including my wife, Janet. R.O. and I also sang. I always had wanted to sing at the SBC! It was a combination of Josh Groban, Rascal Flatts, Justin Bieber and Slim Whitman. I was offered several record contracts, but the call to preach was too strong!
The Conservative Resurgence was just beginning. Baptist Press and other convention outlets criticized me for using some non-Southern Baptist speakers. I had Stephen Olford, Clyde Narramore and Warren Wiersbe. If you’re going to take flack, that’s not a bad group for which to catch it.
Well, the pastors gave the $9,000 I needed to meet the budget. A minor miracle in itself. We had preaching and singing and shouting and weeping. And a glorious time was had by all.