Southern Baptists: 'No Name Change Decision Until 2012'

The Southern Baptist Convention’s decision to consider a name change will not reach any conclusion until summer 2012, an SBC official has told The Christian Post.

“The Baptist Council has just announced the formation of a study that will consider whether there would be any value in the name change, and if so, what the potential financial and legal implications would be,” SBC official said.

“It’s just the beginning point of the study,” he added.

The decision, which is said to impact the Church’s public image, is not likely to fall before June 2012 when the SBC will be gathering in Florida.

The SBC has more than 37,000 churches in the United States, according to its data. That is more than any other religious denomination, including the Catholic Church.

The proposal was announced during the first day of the SBC Executive Committee's meeting in Nashville on Monday.

"First, the convention's name is so regional," SBC’s President Bryant Wright told the Baptist Press. "With our focus on church planting, it is challenging in many parts of the country to lead churches to want to be part of a convention with such a regional name. Second, a name change could position us to maximize our effectiveness in reaching North America for Jesus Christ in the 21st century.”

Over half of all Southern Baptists in the world live in five Southern states: Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Alabama, according to SBC data.

The Monday announcement reportedly led some Executive Committee members to express concern over the possibility of a name change.

A proposal for a name change has come up several times over the past few decades.

The questions the task force will be addressing are: "Is there value in considering a name change? If so, what would be a good name to suggest? What would be the potential legal ramifications of a name change? What would be the potential financial implications?"