Unity Through Transparency Agenda

March 1, 2016

Dr. Rick Patrick | Senior Pastor
First Baptist Church, Sylacauga, AL

The prerequisite for unity in the Southern Baptist Convention is the restoration of trust and transparency between denominational leaders and the people in our pews paying the bills. Unity is the goal of this agenda. Those who squelch all dissent by branding questioners as divisive or disloyal are not helping. Unity will result only from an open and honest conversation about the issues and concerns we simply must address in our convention.

1. Unveil the Great Commission Task Force proceedings now.

In 2010, the Southern Baptist Convention adopted the Great Commission Task Force Report. The Task Force sealed for fifteen years the proceedings upon which our long range plan is based. In response, messengers at the convention attempted to overturn such secrecy, but the motion failed. Task force leaders insisted that testimony regarding personnel matters required confidentiality for a time. Six years later, there is no compelling reason to wait any longer. No matter the discovery, the important thing today is that Southern Baptists no longer harbor any secrets. In the interest of full transparency, we should open these records now and not wait until 2025.

2. Report fully our church planting progress and partnerships.

The North American Mission Board must begin reporting annually on the progress of all our church plants. This report must include a numbered list of the churches planted by year, the location, pastor, baptisms, average attendance, annual budget, and all co-sponsoring groups (or individuals / churches affiliated with such groups, especially non-SBC groups) and any other denominations with which the plant is dually aligned. The report must indicate if each church plant remains active or if it has closed. Church plant reporting compliance will be a condition of our support.

3. Disclose the compensation for our entity executives.

At all levels of Southern Baptist life, sacrifices have been made in the form of lost jobs, reduced pay and downsized ministry organizations to reallocate more money for the nations. It seems only fair for the executive salaries of our entities to face similar scrutiny. The President of the United States earns $569,000 a year in salary, benefits and expenses. It is believed that a few of our Southern Baptist executives may have compensation packages higher than the President’s. Perhaps this should not be the case. Regardless, such information should be made public to assure good stewardship.

4. Investigate the Southern Baptist trustee board selection process.

Regarding our entities and institutions, the only genuine source of accountability lies with those chosen as trustees. Because each autonomous organization answers only to its own trustee board, the selection of trustees is crucial to prevent insider loyalties that would undermine legitimate oversight. What happens to this system when trustees feel greater loyalty to entity leaders than to Southern Baptist messengers? Do leaders provide input in selecting their own trustees? An investigation designed to evaluate our trustee nomination and selection process can only improve our accountability.

5. Remove Non-Baptist churches from the Southern Baptist Convention.

Rather than hiding these matters or looking the other way, two specific criteria will result in a church being considered Non-Baptist. First, churches will be considered to be Non-Baptist if they do not practice some form of congregational polity as defined in the Baptist Faith and Message. This is simply to say that, in certain cases, the entire congregation votes on a matter, demonstrating a democratic process. Second, churches will be considered to be Non-Baptist if they do not require, as a condition of church membership, that a person has been scripturally baptized by immersion as defined in the Baptist Faith and Message. Southern Baptists must be baptized.

6. Fill Southern Baptist executive vacancies with Southern Baptists.

One might assume that leadership vacancies within our Southern Baptist entities would always be filled from the ranks of faithful Southern Baptists who have served our denomination well for a number of years, thereby proving their loyalty and commitment to our convention. Increasingly, however, those who identify merely as evangelicals are being hired in our entities to receive salaries paid by Southern Baptists. Let us now codify the previously unwritten rule that earlier generations never needed to state: “Hire leaders who are already Southern Baptist.”

7. Make the Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting meaningful.

Southern Baptists offer a variety of conferences, seminars, rallies and revivals for spiritual inspiration throughout the year. Such events are wonderfully designed to instruct, refresh and edify Christians. However, Southern Baptists only meet once a year for a day and a half to conduct our business and address our problems. Unfortunately, these meetings are now so scripted, and the rules for discussion so limiting, that most matters of substance coming from the floor are simply referred or declined. The business that is accomplished is typically routine and initiated by those on the platform. Let us form a Messenger Participation Committee to recommend measures that will improve the level of meaningful messenger involvement at the Annual Meeting. Messengers deserve to play a genuine role in setting the agenda for the Southern Baptist Convention, rather than simply lifting their voting cards and rubber stamping the predetermined decisions of a small group, while having their own concerns referred or declined.

8. Create a funding source to allow a truly independent Baptist Press.

Although Baptist Press should not be free from the oversight of our convention messengers at the annual meeting, it should be free from any ties to our denominational organizations, entities or the Executive Committee, since Baptist Press is tasked with covering the news in these organizations, and any conflict of interest should be avoided. Let Baptist Press become an entity like the others, with a trustee board that understands it is accountable to the convention itself. The reporters at Baptist Press should be encouraged to ask the hard questions that Southern Baptists should be asking and would be asking if they only knew more of the details of the events taking place in our denomination.

9. Approve Southern Baptist financial stewardship standards.

Trustees at each entity are to keep expenditures in line with revenues within two budget cycles of any shortfall, meaning our operational budgets are to balance without dipping into reserves or applying asset liquidation. Whenever substantial liquidation takes place for any reason, even when operational budgets are in balance, entity leaders should make this liquidation a major point of emphasis in that year’s annual report. To protect donor intent, SBC dollars allocated to one entity should not be transferred to another entity. Any downsizing entity should institute a hiring freeze during the period of the downsizing. State conventions are urged to forward 50% of Cooperative Program receipts, churches are urged to forward 10% of undesignated receipts, and individuals are urged to tithe 10% of total income. These financial standards are simply goals and do not undermine any organization’s autonomy.

10. Require fairness in presenting all Southern Baptist views.

A committee should investigate whether our entities fairly represent the views of all Southern Baptists. Is the ERLC pushing an agenda to the left of most in the SBC? Does Southern Seminary push the minority view of salvation doctrine? Do many of our conference speakers oppose SBC ecclesiology? Are we publishing books that disproportionately represent certain doctrinal viewpoints? Do our church planters embrace proportionally the salvation doctrine of our sponsoring churches? Are we drafting new entity leadership from a cross-section of the SBC or systematically favoring a certain segment? Are we representing ethnic minorities, women, and those from smaller churches in a fair and balanced manner? In the interest of fairness, let us determine if our leadership is out of step with our membership by forming a Representation Committee to research the matter, report findings and propose solutions.

Conclusion 

It is our prayer that the unity desired by every well intentioned Southern Baptist will result from a genuine effort to take a good hard look at our present practices. We need to wipe a clean slate, write a blank check and press a transparency reset button in Southern Baptist life. By doing so, we can move forward together in a genuine spirit of unity

UNITY THROUGH TRANSPARENCY AGENDA SURVEY: I invite Southern Baptists to register their agreement or disagreement with each of these agenda items by completing this very short survey. Thank you.

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William Thornton

What I appreciate about Rick is that he is highly engaged in SBC life and wants to advance our common work. Some of his ideas, though, involve flinging himself headlong off of El Capitan. The survey is too simplistic. How about real answers, opinions?

1. Yeah. Fine. I’m with you. I don’t see what this would add to any current matters. It may satisfy, or intensify, SBC conspiratorialists.
2. They already report some of this. A lot of this is overkill. Why do you want to know the budget of a church that might receive $1,000 from NAMB? How would you define “co-sponsor”? Any individual or church who gives any amount to the plant? You can check this out: NAMB under previous leadership was at least negligent and perhaps deceitful on church plant numbers.
3. Let me guess. You haven’t asked for the compensation of any SBC CEO (you want “executive” salaries, a far larger number). You haven’t asked your Alabama Baptist state convention for their executive salaries. You haven’t asked your newspaper exec for his salary. Spend $10 on postage and ask. Let us know what you get. Maybe you will get an executive level salary range. Maybe you will be ignored. Maybe you will be referred to trustees (in which case, spend another $10 on postage and write the chairmen). Maybe you will get numbers. At least show your followers here that you have attempted to obtain this and have been refused.
4. I don’t know how you would audit this. Lay out a workable plan.
5. The power to initiate this is in your hands. Who do you think it is that can remove churches? The SBC in annual session is the only body that can do this (at SBC level). You can make the motion. Make a motion to exclude a church that is non-congregational. I’ll support it. Make a motion to exclude a church that doesn’t require immersion. I’ll support it. There must be a vast number of these churches, since you are so concerned about it. Pick one or two to start with.
6. Fair enough. Several have drawn attention to this. It’s worth being scrutinized but trustees, alone, have the power.
7. I’m all for this. I just don’t know how to do it.
8. I’m not sure it would be worth putting money back into BP to make them a news org again. News sources are many these days, including SBC Today and other blogs. I doubt you could achieve independence anyway.
9. This is unworkable, especially the hiring freeze. The “donor intent” sentence, I suppose, is aimed at NAMB giving IMB $4 million? Not sure what the problem is here.
10. Yeah, sure. You lay out the parameters for “fairness.” I’m guessing there are 9 million versions of SBC “fairness”.

There has never been a time in SBC life where more people are opining, discussing, suggesting, and scrutinizing things than today. I’m all for that. There has never been a time when there was more openness and transparency in SBC life than today…but there’s still a good distance to go on that in my view.

    Rick Patrick

    I hope you completed the survey, William. Yours is an opinion I value, along with all other Southern Baptists. And thanks for such a thorough reply. It sounds like you agree with at least a few of these. That’s a start. All of them, of course, require working out the details within SBC committees and boards. We can work together on the answers once we at least find common ground on the questions. Thanks again for engaging.

Lydia

“Make a motion to exclude a church that is non-congregational. I’ll support it. ”

Dever claims the 9 Marks CHBC is congregational. We have an entire generation of young SBC seminary trained pastors who think elected elders are congregational polity. Using the quasi Puritan definition, perhaps.

Again, because of indoctrination, definitions are going to be a problem.

    Andy

    Lydia, If you are going to exclude churches in which the congregation elects their own pastors/elders, and then those pastors lead the church, then that will exclude about 99% of SBC churches.

      Lydia

      “Lydia, If you are going to exclude churches in which the congregation elects their own pastors/elders, and then those pastors lead the church, then that will exclude about 99% of SBC churches.”

      No need to worry, I have no power.;o) I do disagree with your premise but chalk it up to your age. You have probably never experienced what I am referring to. Which is why the definition are so important. As our country leaned more bloated bureaucracy and oligarchical…..so have our churches.

        Andy

        I’m just not sure what you’re trying to say. Baptist churches have been electing pastors/elders to lead them for well beyond either of our lifetimes.

          Lydia

          “I’m just not sure what you’re trying to say. Baptist churches have been electing pastors/elders to lead them for well beyond either of our lifetimes.”

          You are still stuck on the idea that adults need other adults to be in charge of them. It is the new normal, I fear.

          My parents would have thought that absurd.

          Lydia

          “I’m just not sure what you’re trying to say. Baptist churches have been electing pastors/elders to lead them for well beyond either of our lifetimes.”

          You still seem to be operating under the assumption that adults need other adults in charge of them.

          My parents would have found that absurd.

          How about the congregation debated and discussed then voted on hiring a certain someone to serve the church?

          This is a far cry from the need to get elder permission to annul a marriage to a missionary pedophile. And many other ridiculous practices we see today in the SBC.

          I was taught, for example, to trreat the pastor and janitor the same. We should be consistently the same person with both. People shared their resources and various expertise. .it was not as top down as we see today.

          It was healthier.

            Andy

            Lydia, I Still don’t really know what you point is, hopefully responding to a few of your points will show why:

            1. ” I do disagree with your premise but chalk it up to your age.” –> What “premise” exactly that you disagree with?

            2. “You still seem to be operating under the assumption that adults need other adults in charge of them.” –> I did not say anything like this.

            3. “How about the congregation debated and discussed then voted on hiring a certain someone to serve the church?” –> This is just another way to say the congregation voted to appoint a pastor/elder. What is it (that I actually said) that you disagree with?

            4. “This is a far cry from the need to get elder permission to annul a marriage to a missionary pedophile.” –>Agreed, I did not even hint at approving such things.

            5. “I was taught, for example, to treat the pastor and janitor the same. We should be consistently the same person with both. People shared their resources and various expertise…it was not as top down as we see today.” –> I agree with these as well, but “churches voting to elect elders” does not negate any of these.

            –> You put forth the idea that churches electing elders is not congregational polity, but “the congregation debated and discussed then voted on hiring a certain someone to serve the church.” These are two ways of describing the same thing, a church could use either language when selecting a pastor, and then either church could go down either a good path or an unhealthy path. But it would not be the “electing of the elder” that got them there.

              Lydia

              Andy, you are so focused on “lead” you actually think it means “serve”.

              It is just the tenor if the times.

                Andy

                “you are so focused on “lead” you actually think it means “serve”.”

                Lydia, If I run into someone who thinks that lead means serve, I will point them your way so you can debate them. But it’s not me, so I guess I’ll have to bow out as well. You seem to be debating someone who says different things than me.

                  Andy

                  I Suppose I should clarify. Elders both lead and serve, they serve by leading, and the should also lead by serving. If you really think leading has no place in the church then we have little to discuss, I suppose.

              Lydia

              Andy, on your last point, it really depends on what has been taught/indoctrinated at the church. People believe all sorts of cognitive dissonance. Ruling elders who don’t rule. Congregational polity along with human mediators at 9 Marx and so on.

              Sime People believe socialism is justice. Some folks believe all white people are racist and don’t know it. Some believe leading is serving. (More like self serving)

              It seems a fruitless discussion. Sorry I started it. The days of individual responsibility are over. We now need gurus

              Les

              Lydia,

              I don’t think you portray Andy correctly. But anyway, lead or serve? Both are required according to the scriptures of elders/pastors. I see it every Lord’s day at my church. We have a severely physically handicapped man who absolutely loves Jesus and loves to be in worship each week. So the elders and deacons formed a team of volunteers that includes elders, deacons and non ordained pew sitters to take turns each week driving to the facility where Jack lives, picking him up, bringing him to the service, and caring for him the entire time. Different elders are involved each week.

              Care includes wiping the dribble from Jack’s mouth, trips to the restroom where full involvement is required for him to be able to relieve himself, etc. Sister, this is serving. And elders are doing it every week. Whatever scant exposure you have had in your ground zero bubble, you obviously don’t know about the many actual elders serving Jesus and His people. Unfortunately you project your fantasy “reality” onto the actual reality in vain attempts to denigrate the beautiful work of many, many servants of God.

      Les

      Andy, Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.

      I’m a good bit older than you and you are right on brother.

    Scott Shaver

    I have to say, Lydia, listening to the perspectives disclosed thus far on this thread by both William Thornton and Rick’s article, they follow almost point for point the demands, distractions and dialogue immediately preceding the CR. Slightly different kind of ball game, same rules.

Lydia

Would number 6 include the ERLC?

Did the Presbyterian Barnabas Piper became SBC when he was hired by LifeWay? Did Joe Carter at ERLC join an SBC church? I can’t keep up.

Wouldn’t be easy for people to just join a SBC church to qualify? Or perhaps, like Mahaney and McDonald, just join the SBC. Their churches don’t vote on such things.

    Rick Patrick

    You mention a few. There are others. One at NAMB. One at IMB. Executive leaders coming from non-SBC churches, or even serving at non-SBC churches while working in the SBC. The issue here is that they would have to be in the SBC “on the day they were hired.” We could also, however, stipulate that they had to be SBC “for a period of at least one year prior to their hire date.” Your other issue, being SBC in name only, is a good one as well. But this would at least be a start, because we would not be hiring leaders from outside our denomination, something we are doing right now.

      Scott Shaver

      Looks to me like IMB will be doing a lot of hiring outside denominational lines, kinda like ERLC.

      An advisory council member of TGP will nominated as next “SBC” president. Among his stated convictions reported by BP; “My generation needs to take personal responsibility for the agencies and the mission boards of the SBC and not just think of them as the SBC’s, but think of them as ours” (BP, David Roach 3-2-16).

      Who is “my”/”our” generation?

      Whatever plan for proportionality you guys come up with…..better implement fast!

        Scott Shaver

        Russelll Moore publicly endorsing this nomination by the way.

          Scott Shaver

          “Summitt” with what?….a three year history of CP giving?….up 230 percent last year over previous.

          HAAAAAA! Deep SBC roots.

            Scott Shaver

            And, of course, adding to the chorus line of support for this nomination would be Al Mohler, Danny and Jonathan Aiken.

            Obvious who the establishment (which forgot its history) candidate is going to be :)

            Hope “Trads” have denominational funeral plots picked out.

        Lydia

        An advisory council member of TGP will nominated as next “SBC” president. ”

        James McDonald?

          Rick Patrick

          J. D. Greear

            Lydia

            J.D. Greear, lead pastor of The Summit Church, Durham, N.C. Church’s CP giving for 2008: $55,500, or 1.77 percent of undesignated gifts/offerings of $3,139,456. – See more at: http://www.thealabamabaptist.org/print-edition-article-detail.php?id_art=11884&pricat_art=1#.dpuf

            GCR task force member as in lockbox?

            Max

            Is this the same J.D. Greear who authored “Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart” a couple of years ago?

              Rick Patrick

              Yes, but I understand the worst thing about the book was its unfortunate title. It’s really about assurance of salvation and how you don’t have to keep asking Jesus into your heart OVER AND OVER AGAIN.

              My concerns with Greear are focused more on his CP giving record, his undue influence on IMB and NAMB appointments, and his associations with TGC and the YRR movement generally. It’s time for the convention to go in a different direction.

                Max

                “It’s really about assurance of salvation and how you don’t have to keep asking Jesus into your heart OVER AND OVER AGAIN.”

                Oh, so the book targeted Pentecostals?

                  Scott Shaver

                  LOL…..good one Max!

                  Actually, the book was a subtle display of disgust and suspicion with traditional baptist altar calls/invitations based on unsubstantiated and biased perspectives.

                Scott Shaver

                I understand that Greear is also the jerk who went after TWW.

                Looks to me like the convention has already gone at least two different directions since 1989.

                Perhaps now they need to go broke.

              Les

              Max, I’m not sure. Have you read that book? What’s it about?

              Tyler

              Yes, the one that David Allen endorsed and Paige Patterson endorsed and wrote a forward too.

                Max

                Oh, then it’s OK if Dr. Allen gave it a thumb’s up. Just a bad title.

                  Scott Shaver

                  Or Dr. Allen was overly gracious in his critique.

                  I have no problem with the “transparency” of the agenda at hand. Mohler now has all His right BOYS in the RIGHT PLACES to go ahead………

                  AND DO THAT CALVINIST THANG.

                  Russell Moore is no longer an “evangelical” and a surprising number are about to find ourselves no longer “Southern Baptists”. This time won’t be by force but by choice.

                  What a difference a week makes :)

                Lydia

                Not the same as promoting, partnering and endorsing the vulgar and unethical bully, Driscoll. Is it?

                  Scott Shaver

                  Lydia:

                  Perhaps Moore and Mohler should take advice from Mahaney and Driscoll on how to deal with TRUMP :)

Les

Rick,

Of course I’m not currently in a SB church, as is true for other commenters here. But I do have many friends and family and some partners in SB churches. And I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express once or twice on that last couple years. :)

Overall I think you have good ideas here. As William pointed out, actually accomplishing some of them would prove difficult. One thing about Lydia’s 9 Marks comment, If CHBC elects elders and have at least some congregational involvement, then at some level they are congregational. It certainly might not be at the level you and others would like to be the standard, but it is some and apparently is how CHBC is set up. The congregation of that 150 year old church has congregationally decided to be led by elders. The congregation votes to add elders and remove elders.

Anyway, overall good points you are trying to make.

    Lydia

    “One thing about Lydia’s 9 Marks comment, if CHBC elects elders and have at least some congregational involvement, then at some level they are congregational. ”

    Is this sort of like when your senator actually visits the state where he was elected, he is just another resident doing resident things? :o). Doesn’t the air get thin up there?

      Les

      Lydia, no and no.

      Scott Shaver

      Lydia:

      Doesn’t a senator have to be elected? Instead of a senator why not compare him to a community organizer?

Bill Mac

1. Sure. It was a bad idea.
2. No problem.
3. OK
4. I’m OK with this but I’m not sure how it would work.
5. You are going to have to be more specific on this one. Some form of congregational polity is too vague. I have a feeling it will fail to exclude the churches you want to exclude. But if you get too specific, you are going to start stepping on megachurch toes (which are demonstrably elder-ruled), and we know that won’t fly in the SBC. I’m not opposed to this but I don’t see it going anywhere. I’m with William. Bring the names of some churches to the floor and move to have them removed.
6. Again, not opposed to this, but you’ll have to be more specific about where the cutoff is.
7. Good idea. Let’s abolish resolutions for a start.
8. Fine. I don’t read BP so I don’t really care about this one.
9. This one is too restrictive. I know what you’re aiming for here, but you are not allowing for any freedom to disagree about strategies for fiscal accountability at any level.
10. I don’t see this one being workable. I would sooner see the ERLC abolished than censored. I’ve never seen the value in it anyway. To accomplish this would require a level of hierarchy, power, and control that we’ve never had in the SBC.

Rick Patrick

There’s no way to hash out all ten items in detail in this space, but let me respond to both William and Bill on the “congregational polity” issue. I am not talking about churches where they at least have SOME congregational voting to approve certain matters. I have more in mind the concerns of Pastor Robert Hutchinson expressed here: http://bit.ly/1PiKpVH.

    Bill Mac

    Fair enough. It sounds like those two churches do not belong in the SBC. But as William says, someone is going to have to move to have them disfellowshipped.

Randy

Thank you Bro. Rick. I may take issue with few things but overall I agree with you on about 95% of what you wrote. I just wonder if anyone is listening. I hear complaints all the time that the SBC leadership is out of touch with the average SBC church. People are tired of hearing give, give, give when some denominational heads are making six figure salaries. This is all going to come apart if something does not happen to change things in the near future.

Scott Shaver

Newsflash: Further evidence that those of us still in SBC pews aren’t listening any more to “trusted” leaders.

The scandals are epidemic across lines. SBC leading the pack.

http://www.christianpost.com/news/nrb-terminates-gospel-for-asias-membership-over-financial-accountability-issues-158590/

Greg Roberts

Somebody ought to make a motion that all churches strive to MATCH the current giving percentage of the SBC president to the CP.

    Greg Roberts

    PER THE Baptist press story : in 2013-14, for instance, it gave $96,000 directly to the EC, according to the 2015 SBC Annual. The BSCNC reported CP receipts of $54,000 from The Summit in calendar year 2014. Adding the two numbers together yields the $150,000 the church self-reported as “CP giving” on its 2014 ACP — a total amounting to 1 percent of undesignated receipts. WE NEED OUR HEADS EXAMINED

      Scott Shaver

      No need to have heads examined Greg:

      Just tell the bums to take their media-hype, their forums, seminars, mosh-pits and trademarked “gospel-centered” theologies and jump head first into the nearest lake with the whole lot.

      Nobody is forcing any of us to keep paying for while going along with this lunacy. Hit their wallets and their theologies will CHANGE. Guaranteed.

      That’s just how shallow they are.

        Scott Shaver

        Rick Patrick will be proud of me, at this point, for not assigning +/- analysis of the CR.

        I will throw out that the central strategy employed in that effort dealt with the organizational make-up of the “convention” and its entities based on the force and attendance by messengers to an annual (1) meeting.

        That meeting in recent years could have saved money for missions by renting out ELKS lodges in various cities based on the actual operational quota of messengers in attendance (All the rest is fluff and stuff, exhibit halls, book-hawkings etc).

        IMO, SBC “Trads” (guess I can include myself loosely in the category/label) are trying to squeeze and elephant through a key-hole by entertaining the idea of “change” in the current drift of what’s left (SBC) by trying to work through the annual meeting model.

        Ditch attendance all together unless you go for fellowship, vacation time etc without registering as a “messenger”. Go as an interested spectator/interested cleric/customer of vendors without operating as a messenger.

        On the home front (in your local church) start putting ALL mission monies into your local home and overseas mission projects (many already very evolved in doing this) and those in small churches are learning to partner for same in the revival of what looks like local and regional missions efforts at home and abroad.

        I must have missed the annual SBC meeting when God granted exclusively trademarked ownership of the GREAT COMISSION to a “denominational” collective.

        In fact, have always been under the impression that THE GREAT COMMISSION itself was in origin a local address to a local group of gathered believers.

        Our problem (denominational baptists) is that we’ve let the carnival barkers convince us otherwise.

        The old axiom that’s fueled a lot of this stuff is that “we can do greater things together”. Think about it in light of how small and accessible the world has become in this age. Does that old line really hold true anymore because the “together” group seems to keep getting smaller and smaller……tighter and tighter.

          Scott Shaver

          In keeping with the theme of this thread, local church, local-regional partnerships for missions, education, discipleship etc will add a WORLD of “transparency” and “theological consistency” to the efforts overall.

          God is pleased. Man is pleased. Folks come to and GROW IN Christ. What have you folks got to lose…..save your sanity in a denominational black-hole?

          Andy

          I think I found something Scott and I agree on. For various reasons, our church has been moving missions money away from CP and SBC avenues for years to other people and ministries that we know better. I suspect many other churches have been, or will do the same. I predict a small SBC in the future..but it will take quite a while for the leadership to make any big changes based on that…other than downsizing staff.

            Scott Shaver

            That, Andy, is probably a healthy thing in light of the current “evangelical” and “gospel-centered” environment of the denominational “SBC” right now. I can see a number of both temporal and spiritual advantages.

            The efforts at home and abroad by folks connected “personally” is accompanied by a tremendous amount of empathy and loyalty. The mission field does not become a corporate laboratory for adjusting to the “paradigm shifts” of western (American/SBC) religious culture…..many of the target areas don’t know what a “paradigm shift” is because they haven’t seen one in several hundred, perhaps thousand years.

            People are more likely to give, go and die for the cause because it’s THEIR cause for the cause of Christ. No disassociation through denominational politics, middle-men and cheer-leaders. Expenditures and accounting tend to get in line with the stated mission as well.

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