Because we are often asked questions like, “What is the Arkansas Baptist State Convention?” and “What exactly do you do?,” we would like to offer a little explanation. You might be surprised by the ways you are already connected with us!
First, what does ABSC stand for?
Arkansas Baptist State Convention, but a few years ago we re-branded our logo to Arkansas Baptists to better reflect who we really are—not an institution, but people (God’s people!) working together to take the Gospel to all nations, beginning with Arkansas.
What is Arkansas Baptists / the Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC)?
This question is a little difficult to answer, but to begin…
The ABSC is best known as the family and network of Arkansas Baptist churches, agencies, and institutions around the state that have chosen to cooperate together to advance the Kingdom of Jesus. At present, this includes 1,544 churches, Arkansas Baptist Children’s Homes, the Arkansas Baptist Foundation, Arkansas Baptist News, Camp Siloam, the Executive Board, Ouachita Baptist University, and Williams Baptist University.
How exactly does everyone cooperate together? What joins us?
While the very nature of Arkansas Baptist churches, agencies, and institutions is to partner with one another to do Kingdom work, the tangible element that connects us all is known as the Cooperative Program (CP). The Cooperative Program is how 45,000+ Southern Baptist churches collectively give to and support missions work.
WATCH OUR NEW CP EXPLAINER VIDEO!
The local church decides what percentage of their overall tithes and offerings will go to these cooperative missions, and that percentage is then sent to the Arkansas Baptist State Convention Building to be distributed* to Arkansas Baptist agencies, institutions, ministries, and missions.
So, when you give to your local church, a percentage of your giving will support the variety of Arkansas Baptist ministries from the Arkansas Baptist Children’s Homes to Williams Baptist College, as well as Southern Baptist missions and ministries in our nation and around the world! We have lots of testimonies about how your support is making a difference for the Kingdom, check them out here: absc.org/cpshare.
*The distribution of Cooperative Program giving is also decided by messengers from the local church; this is voted on at the Annual Meeting of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention.
So if the ABSC is more than just a building or corporate headquarters, why is there an Arkansas Baptist State Convention building in Little Rock?
The Arkansas Baptist State Convention office—commonly referred to as the Baptist Building—houses the offices of the Arkansas Baptist Children’s Home, the Arkansas Baptist Foundation, Arkansas Baptist News, and teams of the Executive Board.
Also, when Arkansas Baptist churches make financial gifts to cooperative missions through the Cooperative Program, churches send these gifts to the Baptist Building. Here the Executive + Administrative team (of the Executive Board) serves as an accounting office and manages the distribution of Cooperative Program funds.
Who is the Executive Board of the ABSC? What is their purpose?
The Executive Board is a body of trustees from local Arkansas churches. These trustees are nominated by a committee of Arkansas Baptists and approved by messengers to the Annual Meeting* (see last question, below).
The Executive Board oversees the work of Executive Board employees—the five ministry teams that exist to serve alongside Arkansas Baptist churches and connect them to Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) missions and missions strategies. The five teams of the Executive Board include: Church Planting, College + Young Leaders, Evangelism + Church Health, Missions, and Executive + Administrative.
While each team specializes in different ministries, the Executive Board is guided by three essential intents:
- Revitalizing churches.
- Focusing evangelism partnerships on underserved, unengaged, and unreached peoples with little or no access to the Gospel.
- Reaching the younger generations with the Gospel.
Does the Executive Board have authority over Arkansas Baptist churches?
No, they do not have authority over Arkansas Baptist churches. Each church is autonomous. See here the Baptist Faith and Message (2000).
I’ve also heard the Arkansas Baptist State Convention referred to as an event that people attend. Is that also Arkansas Baptists?
Yes! Once a year, Arkansas Baptists gather together to celebrate and share what God has done in the areas of church planting, ministry, missions, Christian higher education, and much more. While we commonly refer to this event as the “Annual Meeting,” it is also known as the “Convention,” or the “Arkansas Baptist State Convention.”