I’ve Read. I’ve Watched. I’ve Discussed. Now…(Parenthetical Note)

May 27, 2010

[UPDATE:  As of June 2 we have the answer of the Task Force. They are bringing the seven recommendations as a unified whole…Well, looks like I’ll be supporting a motion (maybe even bringing the motion) to divide the recommendations. :-) ]

Continuing, “sorta,” my response to the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force Final Report (GCRTFFR)…

Today I came across an excellent post by Dr. Bart Barber discussing his perspective on the GCRTFFR. It would appear he’s been reading my mind (maybe that’s one of the benefits of being part of the Baptist Identity ‘collective’).  I certainly find myself agreeing with his assessment of the situation.  I wholeheartedly recommend you peruse his post thoughtfully.

As I continue reading, thinking, and discussing, I am once again brought to a question for which I have neither read nor heard an answer thus far.  My question?  Just how will the recommendations from the GCRTFFR be presented to the messengers from the churches when we meet in Orlando?

Will this be a single report thus signifying a single recommendation comprised of seven parts?  If this is to be the case, I think it is an unwise approach.  Based on what I am reading from blogs and various state and national Baptist news sources, an “all-or-nothing” approach will negatively impact what I would hope to see be a significant consensus coming out of the convention meeting regarding our churches moving forward in cooperative ministry and a resurgent emphasis on our Great Commission calling.  I have read numerous accounts of those who will most certainly vote “NO” on the whole for their concern over even just one of the components.  I would hate to see that happen.

Will this be a single report from the Task Force resulting in seven separate recommendations brought to the floor of the convention?  I certainly hope this to be the case.  I believe a truly strong consensus for a Great Commission Resurgence could be built upon high percentage votes for the greater majority of these recommendations, even if our convention votes to not recommend one or two of the seven components at this time.  Upon a springboard such as this, I believe we could continue to work on those areas which at this point might be problematic for a portion of our convention as we forge ahead to penetrate the lostness in our world.

In my next post I plan to ‘wrap-up’ my response to the remaining components/recommendations from the GCRTFFR.

SOLA GRATIA!

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Tim Rogers

Brother Scott,

I agree with you, it would be best for our convention to place the report before the convention as seven recommendations. I believe we would have better consensus on the finalized vote of the seven different recommendations.

Blessings,
Tim

Dave Miller

I am pretty sure that the recommendations will be brought forward as a whole and will be voted that way.

Of course, a motion to divide the question will probably be made. That will be the first key test vote on the GCR. If the motion to vote separately on each item loses, the GCR will pass overwhelmingly.

Scott Gordon

Dave,

Are you certain of that last statement. From what I’m reading, a number of people would be willing to vote in the affirmative for 5 of 7 or 6 of 7 but will vote the whole thing out if it’s a package deal.

I’d hate to see that happen.

Sola Gratia!

David Worley

I would love to be able to vote NO on component #3. I really do hope that they’ll vote on each recommendation separately. I’m still undecided as to how I will vote on the whole thing. I’m leaning towards No due to component #3. But, I like the report overall.

David

Shannon

I find it crazy that the Great Commission is such a dividing subject. Oh, Maybe it is simply the love of Money that is dividing. When you hit peoples pockets they do crazy things, even when the majority resources are in the wrong place and still ineffective.

Take Georgia for example (which Dr. White is on the task force so to some extent I am glad that he is behind these recommendations). According to the NAMB Map that they print and publish over 300 NAMB missionaries are located in GA. If the Great GBC is so great why do they need such a large number of paid missionaries when states in the north and northwest have very few? Sorry, I see those who will not move forward with such recommendations to be simply concerned about their pockets and denominational life rather than the Lost.

This may be a bold statement, but I see GCR as a great opportunity to move on to forward the Gospel cooperatively. Post Convention will be a lot of work, but according to Jesus the harvest is ready if we will simply position ourselves to be the workers in the field by moving resources accordingly. Just a thought.

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Scott Gordon

Vol,

I understand your concern about #3. I just am not certain I see the great danger so many see in it.

My desire to see the recommendations brought separately is in no way to be construed as advocating the rejection of any of the components. I will vote for the recommendations as a whole or individually. I just believe a stronger consensus could be built around higher percentage votes for each individually than with a 60-40 vote for the “all-in-one” package approach.

Gotta go. Pastor duties just called once again. Later.

David Worley

Shannon,

I’m not sure exactly what you’re trying to say. We’re all for the Great Commission. Some of us have a great concern that reporting our giving to missions the way the Task Force is recommending will lead to societal giving…which is absolutely not the best way to support missions. It’s being done now, and it’s been done before; and it just is not the best way to support the mission work of the SBC…in my opinion.

I still have many questions as to why this subject was even brought up by the Task Force? Why did they make this such an issue? Why?

David

Shannon

The thing is we have already moved that way (towards societial giving). We just, using accounting terms, “code it” differently in the budget. Jerry Rankin in a reacent blog reminds us,

“Those who are fearful of a societal method of giving seem to be blind to the fact that our support is already being eroded by societal giving.” http://rankinconnecting.com/2010/04/the-fallacy-of-societal-paranoia/#more-127

What’s the big deal. in the words of a pop culture guy, “Git-ur-done!” I think we can celebrate these other givings because they have done something that CP has not, personalization.

“Why do churches open their doors to these appeals and respond with funding? It is because it is a personalized appeal that provides an opportunity for involvement in something significant. There is accountability; they know exactly what their gifts are accomplishing. It has far greater emotional appeal than giving to a broad, generic program that is perceived to be primarily supporting administration of the denomination.” (Rankin)

Dave Miller

I have asked some people who ought to be in the know, Scott. They affirm that the recommendations will be voted on as one motion, if the intent of the committee is followed.

My point about the motion to divide the question is simply that it will be a test vote. If there is a majority to defeat the motion to divide, I think that will tell you that there is a majority for the GCR in toto.

Of course, i am not a prophet, nor the son of a prophet.

Tim Rogers

Brother Shannon,

You are correct that Dr. Rankin has pointed us to areas that we have designated giving for special projects. However, I am not sure we can say that we are in a “societal giving” mode. While our entities have brought us to our attention other ways of supporting individual pet projects of the entities we as a convention have not moved toward societal giving.

Brother Dave,

If this is presented as one recommendation with no way of dividing it, the recommendation may pass, but it will be by the smallest margin. I do call on our leaders to present it as individual recommendations so the convention can affirm the parts they do like and have a chance to remove the parts they do not like.

Blessings,
Tim

Tim Rogers

Brother Shannon,

One other thing.

“Why do churches open their doors to these appeals and respond with funding? It is because it is a personalized appeal that provides an opportunity for involvement in something significant. There is accountability; they know exactly what their gifts are accomplishing. It has far greater emotional appeal than giving to a broad, generic program that is perceived to be primarily supporting administration of the denomination.” (Rankin)

It this is about personalization then why are those desiring personalization now wanting credit, for their personal giving? That is the main reason all of this has come about–people want the SBC world to give them credit. Here is another question. What is “cooperative” about one church giving $1 million to plant churches in a people group in a particular country but that people group is dying because of medical needs? But, that $1 million will not be used for medical needs because it has been designated to plant churches. That is not cooperative giving.

Blessings,
Tim

Bart Barber

Shannon,

in response to Rankin’s horrible article:

1. I don’t know why pastors get so worked up about designated giving in their churches when there’s ALREADY designated giving in almost every church. Those churches really ought to just get rid of their budgets and live entirely on designated gifts, because people like the personalization and control of being able to control EXACTLY where their money goes.

And surely there’s somebody somewhere who will designate their gifts to something so rewarding as the electric bill. And if nobody wants to support the electric bill, then we probably don’t really need electricity in the first place.

2. I don’t know why the FDA gets so bent out of shape about keeping E. Coli out of food. Don’t they realize that every human body ALREADY has E. Coli inside it? That E. Coli COMES FROM the human body? In fact, if these paranoid zealots were to eliminate E. Coli, as they seem to desire, all human life would end. E. Coli is actually a GOOD thing. We should have plans in place to develop it as a food additive!

SATIRE ENDS HERE

The point? It is a fallacious argument to assert, as Rankin has, that just because something exists, has some usefulness in some way, and cannot be eradicated, that those who wish to contain it and prevent its unchecked growth are wrong.

Bill Kraft

I hope GCR passes because if it does my church will cut CP and keep more of the money reaching our local community.

Don’t be fooled the GCR is all about getting the Seminaries more $.

Bart Barber

Uh…..Mr. Kraft…..

Can you show me how the GCR gives any more money to the seminaries? The seminary budgets remain the same, don’t they?

?????

Or is this bitterness coming out of your heart rather than thinking coming out of your head?

Christiane

Are the seminary budgets and the salaries and expense accounts of the administration and trustees available for all Southern Baptists to examine?

If so, then people like Mr. Kraft could donate possibly with more confidence.
If not, then that could be changed so that people who are uncomfortable with the extravagances of some, could be reassured that their contributions were not going to contribute to extravagances fpr a few at the top, instead of for the purposes of furthering the Gospel.

Just some thoughts about what might help people like Mr. Kraft.

Tim Rogers

Christianne,

In all due respect. When you become a SB then you have the right to request all seminary budgets open for inspection. I do not mean that in a mean spirit but just stating this discussion is between SB. As SB we have a Trustee system that oversees the administration of the seminaries. To my knowledge we do not have any seminary that with holds that information from her Trustees. Thus, Mr. Kraft should not fear the seminary budgets.

Blessings,
Tim

Scott Gordon

Mr. K & Ms. C,

I believe Dr. Barber has clearly elucidated that nothing in the GCRTFFR makes no adjustments to seminaries in structure nor funding. Therefore, you comments are not germaine. If you all’d like to get back on topic, we’d appreciate that. Thanks.

Dr. B,

Nice response to Shannon, including the satire O:-)

Scott Gordon

Tim,

I also believe you are making the same point I was hoping to make in response to Dave M. I am praying for the strongest consensus in passing the recommendations moving our convention to a GCR. I would be quite concerned with a narrow, simple majority, 51-49 passage.

Shannon

Bart,
Thanks for the Sattire. It is encouraging to know that some SBs still know how to write it.

END SARCASM

The fact still remains that as Southern Baptist we give a lot of money to a lot of places that are Southern Baptist related, but are not counted as CP giving among the churches. My sole heart’s desire is for us to simply put our money where the LOST are and not where “our programs or gimmicks that have been ineffective” are. I believe one of the reasons SB money goes to these other places is because SBs have become ineffective on the large scale (we have seen this through the different declining figures).

If the GCR Recommendations are going to gets moving in the right direction then by all means let us move now rather than become like the other denominational counterparts that have continually declines and done nothing about it.

By the way David Platt wrote a great piece ( http://ht.ly/1QXVu )that I can relate to because I have a similar story and position about reaching the LOST.

Christiane

Hi TIM ROGERS,

No offense taken.

My purpose in writing is to ASK about how accountability is now operating, not to request a change. The ‘suggestion’ was for the sake of Southern Baptists who may have been ‘scandalized’ by the life styles of certain leaders.

Tim, for these people who ARE Southern Baptist, and who now are ‘uncomfortable’, knowing that it is wise to ‘give’ with discernment, any lack of open accountability as to salaries, paid expenses, and additional money gifts, would be a red-light. IF the leadership wishes to attract donors like Mr. Kraft to their cause, perhaps complete accountability of salaries and expenses would help to reassure such people about how their contributions will be used to further the work of Christ.

A suggestion only, meant to help.
My own Church has its own money difficulties, I assure you, so there is no judgment on my part, whatever your situation is.

Thanks for responding.
Christiane

David Worley

Shannon,

While I agree with you that much of what goes on in the SBC could be downsized, in order to actually get more money out to the mission field; I dont think that all the ministries of the SBC and the state conventions are “gimmicks and ineffective.” Are these gimmicks and ineffective ministries Southeastern Seminary? Southern? Are they one of the largest mission sending forces in the world, or maybe even the largest? Over 5,000 missionaries to foreign lands? Over 5,000 missionaries to N. America? Are these the “gimmicks and ineffective” ministries of the SBC that you’re referring to?

Or, what about the Tennessee Baptist Convention ministries? You know, the church planting? the Childrens Homes? where children from abusive homes are helped? led to Christ? Union University? Carson-Newman University? Could you tell me where these “gimmicks and ineffective” ministries are?

Again, I do agree that a lot of downsizing could take place, and probably does need to take place in many areas of SBC life, and also at the state convention level. Here in the TN Baptist Convention, there could be a lot of downsizing to take place. And, we’d be better off for it. But, there’s also many, many, many great things happening for the cause of Christ thru SB ministries and state convention ministries. And, unlike Brook Hills, most of the churches in the SBC are not big enough to do a lot of things that they can do. A lot of us smaller churches think it’s a great idea to cooperate with other churches of like faith and practice, in order to reach the world for Christ.

David

Bart Barber

David Worley is 100% correct.

Bart Barber

Christiane,

The sbc.net site contains the Business and Financial Plan for the SBC. There you’ll find that all SBC entities are obligated to provide the information you mention on request to SBC members.

Christiane

Thanks, Bart

Shannon

David,

I did not say that “all” ministries are gimmick and ineffective. To give an example. NAMB has spent thousands if not millions on this GPS initiative. Let’s see, maybe we can spend a bunch of money to repackage the idea that pastors are to lead their churches to visit their neighboros, share the gospel with then, and let see, oh yea, let’s baptize them once they are believers. Novel ideas. This is an example of what I meant by gimmick.

As far as small vs large churches. I have been serving in a congregation of 30-50. So I know small ( there were 25 a year ago). If we simply look at our community and figure out what it will take to reach them rather than sitting on programs from the 50s and 60s that make the chairman of deacons happy reaching the community.

All I trying to say is SB have spent a lot of money to do things should not be big budget items. And we are so comfortable in SB McChurch that we have forgotten the core of the gospel and what it
means to be Lost.

David. I’m with you. I have just gotten to the point where too many people are dying without Jesus around me and abroad to deal with petty stuff. I want to see SB continue to be a great force for Christ. The question is, will we make the necessary changes in a fast-paced changing world to stay that way.

David Worley

Shannon,

Amen, Brother. God bless.

David

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