National Baptist Convention USA, Inc.
*Number of pastors: information not available
Founded in 1886, the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. is the oldest and largest African American religious convention in the USA. In 1880, about 150 Baptist pastors met in Montgomery, Alabama, and formed the Baptist Mission Convention. In 1895, this convention merged with two other conventions to form the National Baptist Convention of the United States of America. The 1880 meeting and the formation of the Foreign Mission Convention was accepted as the origin of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Incorporated. The path to the formation of the convention was characterized by many previous cooperative efforts, and throughout its history there have been many ups and downs, triumphs and failures, splits and attempts at unification. The mission of the convention is to fulfil the great commission of Jesus Christ through preaching, teaching, and healing. The basic objectives and corporate purposes of this voluntary fellowship are: a) to unite National Baptist churches, district associations, and state conventions in Christian evangelism; b) to promote home and foreign mission efforts; c) to encourage and support Christian education; d) to publish and distribute Sunday school and other Christian literature, music, and other works of art and religious expression; and e) to engage in any other endeavours deemed fitting and proper in order to advance the cause of Jesus Christ throughout the world.
The nature of this convention is defined by its ideal of voluntary membership and participation at both the organization and individual member levels. As such, the convention does not have administrative or doctrinal control over any of its membership; these matters are left for the attention of local organization and church authorities. The strength of the convention lies in its ability to harness and coordinate and network the resources and efforts of its membership, to accomplish goals greater than those that could be accomplished in isolation. For this reason, the convention has enjoyed the devoted participation and support of many churches and individuals throughout its history.
The president of the convention is elected by the member churches every five years during the Annual Session. The current presidency is placed under the biblical mandate of "Jesus Christ Only, Always"(I Cor. 2:2). The convention is governed by its board of directors, which is comprised of the officers, the presidents from each of the states and territories represented by constituent members of the convention, representatives from each of the boards and auxiliaries of the convention, and members-at-large. Matters of importance to the convention are taken up and acted upon by the board of directors or designated subgroups thereof. The major business meeting of the boards, auxiliaries and member churches of the convention is the Annual Session, which draws 10,000 or more delegates. The mid-winter board session is a second, smaller annual business meeting, with some 3,000 persons. Two other important annual events are the Christian Educators Conference of the Sunday School Publishing Board, also with some 3,000 participants, and the National Baptist Congress of Christian Education, which brings together 35,000 or more delegates and is the largest of the four major meetings of the convention. These two meetings are open to participants who belong to churches that do not hold membership in the convention.
In 2005 a reunion of groups originally associated with the National Baptist Convention, USA, took place in Nashville, Tennessee. This included the Progressive National Baptist Convention, the National Baptist Convention of America, the National Missionary Baptist Convention, and the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc., itself. While the occasion did not mark the beginnings of organic institutional merger, it did indicate a renewed vision to promote and strengthen greater fellowship by "...working together on matters of common concern and addressing matters of public policy that affect the disenfranchized".