Who is More Lost?

January 27, 2010

After reading Ephesians 2:1 again for the umpteenth thousandth time it was like reading it for the first time.  Ephesians 2:1–“and you he made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins”.  Do you realize that lost means dead?  It means that we were once dead and God, through the atoning blood of Jesus made us one with him and we were born again, and through the power of the Holy Spirit, we were raised from the dead to walk in a new life.  Excuse me while I shout and throw a hymn book. :)

We seem to have advanced the debate of a Great Commission Resurgence to deciding who is more lost.  If you remember Dr. Mohler made a motion at the 2009 SBC in Louisville that a committee be formed; ” concerning how Southern Baptists can work more faithfully and effectively together in serving Christ through the Great Commission.” (Item #12, P.57) This motion has produced debates that range from the state conventions being “bloated and bureaucratic at every level” to the task force being organized in order to find ways to keep younger pastors from abandoning the SBC.  Now, one on the GCRTF seems to expand this motion with the idea that a name change is needed in order to reach the lost.

It seems that some are using the lost and unreached people groups to promote a debate that leads to pet projects.  I am not against getting the Gospel to the lost and unreached people groups of the world.  I believe the mandate of reaching the unreached people groups is as much a part of the Great Commission as my Jerusalem. I have a scriptural conviction to  do all within my power, through the leading of the Holy Spirit and the cooperation of other Southern Baptist and Evangelicals, to see the mission accomplished.   However, since we began this debate on the Great Commission Resurgence we, as pastors, are now being presented with the argument that we are keeping 93% and the state conventions and the denominational structure fight over 7%.

The reason for the push back by some, either openly or privately, is there seems to be an elitism represented in the debate.  The presentation of the debate make some, because they do not buy into a direction being presented, appear as if they do not want to reach the lost and unreached people groups. How do we actively further this debate without making others, who are engaged in active outreach to the lost, appear they do not desire to reach their world for Christ?  Being the preacher that I am, I see three ways to bring about reconciliation in the debate.  First, we must all agree that we have the greatest missions sending organization in the world.  Part of this agreement means we must stop berating those who desire more information before agreeing to a total reconstructive effort.  Second, we must acknowledge that the State Conventions have their ministries and they do a great job fulfilling their ministry objectives.  Third, we must understand not everyone agrees with every item found in a state convention budget and stop trying to direct autonomous entities to do something we are not willing to do ourselves.

First, we must all agree that we have the greatest missions sending organization in the world. Let’s face it the International Mission Board and North American Mission Board are the greatest organizations we as Southern Baptist have put together.  Are there changes that could and should come about within these entities?  You bet there is!  Should only those changes that please me happen?  No, they should not! We as Southern Baptist should be open to changes and call for changes, but those changes are to happen through the Trustee structure.  Whenever there are private individuals that publicly push for change in order to satisfy his/her ego it undermines the fabric and unity of the  greatest missions organizations in the world.

Second, we must acknowledge that the State Conventions have their ministries and they do a great job fulfilling their ministries objectives. Let me first say that I do not agree with everything that happens in the North Carolina Baptist State Convention.  If you call Brother Milton Hollifield he will affirm that statement.  However, I remain a part of this great convention because I believe in what she is doing.  Could she do things better?  Yes she could!  Does she do everything like I would like to see it done?  No she doesn’t.  Does that make her a bloated bureaucracy? No, it doesn’t!!  Are there areas where belts could be tightened and more bang be given for the buck?  I believe everyone will agree there is.

Some have returned to calling our state conventions bloated.  Then we have other pastors calling on us to pressure state conventions to live off 50% of the income they receive from their churches.  Some pastors are leading their churches to give a mere customary amount in order to maintain the benefits of the state conventions.  In NC we have the Annuity supplement from our convention when we give $105 per month to Guidestone retirement.  The annuity supplement costs $640 per year and BSCNC uses the first $640 received from the churches in CP funds to cover that supplement. The reason our convention went to this system was that some churches were enjoying that supplement for their pastor and staff then giving only a token amount ($100-$500) to the CP.  (We have in place a system that will cover small church pastors whose annual budget is under $50K) Therefore, when a church shows $1000 given on their CP portion of their ACP in reality they only gave $360 to CP.  There is one megachurch pastor that is calling for a 50/50 split and his church only directed $55k to CP.  Don’t get me wrong they gave over 3/4 million $$ to other missions.  This church has at least 25 staff members.  With the formula in NC that means this megachurch gave $39k to the CP, if their Pastor and staff enjoy the Guidestone benefits.  From that $14820 went to Nashville and $7410 went to the IMB.  You say that is pitiful and I agree.  It started out at $55k and only $7k made it to the IMB.  That megachurch sent 27% to Nashville, but look at the amount they kept for their staff, in Guidestone benefits–39%. (That is if the staff participates in Guidestone)

Do I fault this megachurch for looking after their staff?  No, I do not because they are very much needed for that church to reach their Jerusalem.  I do fault the pastor for calling on the state convention to do something he is not doing with his church.  You can call it bad parachurch ministry all you desire, but you cannot call on another autonomous body to do something you are not leading your autonomous body to do.  But this also begs another point.  If we cut back our staff in order to meet a financial objective where did we just place the will of God?  In reality the will of God took a back seat to the financial objective of making sure we get the money to another group of people. One can see this debate exposed with this statement: “if we heard about the great need in Kentucky while also hearing about the even greater need around the globe, we would undoubtedly vote to send a greater percentage of our money towards this greater need.” Thus, those lost people, we cut staff to reach, have become more lost then those I am called to reach in my Jerusalem. Why?  There is a greater need of reaching lost people around the world than there is of reaching lost people in the hills and hollers of Kentucky.  Lost is lost whether you are in Tibet or Taylor Mill.

Third, we must understand not everyone agrees with every item found in a state convention budget and stop trying to direct autonomous entities to do something we are not willing to do ourselves. The example above is just one such church.  We have another pastor, in our convention, publicly calling on his fellow SBC pastors to petition their state conventions saying that all state conventions should give a 50/50 split.  I would like to congratulate those state conventions that have achieved a 50/50 split and encourage all state conventions to make that a goal.  However, some serious concerns are raised when a pastor, whose church is giving $11k to the Cooperative Program out of a $400k undesignated budget, calls on the state convention to go to a 50/50 split.  Why should this concern me?  What another church chooses to give is that churches decision and I applaud and affirm their autonomous nature and decisions.  However, one cannot call on their state convention to live off of 50% when the church sends a mere 2.75% to CP to be divided between the state and national convention.

If we are going to reconcile this debate we must begin treating others the way we desire to be treated.  We have the greatest mission sending agencies in all the world.  Could God get his work accomplished without the Southern Baptist Convention?  Certainly He can!  Could God remove His good hand from the SBC allowing us to implode?  Certainly He can!  Will God abandon the SBC?  According to Scripture, God reminded Elijah that there was a remnant that have not bowed a knee to Baal.  I know that is theology concerning the restoration of Israel, but it also carries over to us as Christians.  God always has a remnant.  As long as there is a group that desires to fully serve God and get the gospel to the nations within the SBC, I do not believe one could find scriptural authority that would say “God will not use the SBC.”

We must affirm our state conventions in the work they are doing.  Some state conventions are fat in some areas and others are slim in other areas.  That is the nature of the beast.  Are there areas in the convention that could be trimmed according to my analysis.  Certainly are!!! Are there areas in my church that a state executive believes I should do away with and send the money to missions?  You better believe it is.  There is always two sides to every coin.

We need to accept that we do not agree on the specifics of everyone’s suggestions.  What will the Task Force bring out?  Who knows.  We need to keep them in the front of our prayers as they are meeting this week and presenting their preliminary recommendations next week to the Executive Committee.  One thing is for certain.  When they bring the recommendation(s) to Orlando we will debate it and vote on it.  Whatever the outcome of the vote there remains a fact that no one can deny.  WE STILL HAVE A LOST WORLD THAT NEEDS JESUS!!!.  Let’s stop trying to determine who is more lost so we can get them more funds.  God has presented that people are lost we need to go after them.

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Bob Cleveland

***STAR*** <—Gold

Jedidiah Coppenger

For what it’s worth, I’d like to offer a few points of clarification. For starters, I believe that we need a Great Commission Resurgence AND I think we have the greatest missions sending agency in the world and our state conventions do great things. My Grandfather and my Dad were state execs and I take their (and other state execs) work very seriously.

Also, I believe that there is a greater need for money to go to the nations because their is little to no witness amongst tens of millions of people. You quote me as if I was saying that unbelievers overseas are somehow more lost than those down the street. That, of course, is absurd. As you stated, from Ephesians 2, lost is lost. My simple point is that the amount of money that we’re using to reach the lost (in whatever area) seems disproportional. That is, we’re using tens of millions of dollars to reach, in Kentucky for example, a couple of million lost folks. These folks, of course, are also surrounded by churches that are spending millions of dollars to reach them as well. This in contrast to the hundreds of millions of people who have little or no Christians among them and little to no money being spent to reach them. In light of this, I’d like to see a greater percentage of money go to reaching those people. Hope this makes things clearer.

Finally, I do think we disagree about how things should change. You say, “However, one cannot call on their state convention to live off of 50% when the church sends a mere 2.75% to CP to be divided between the state and national convention.

If we are going to reconcile this debate we must begin treating others the way we desire to be treated.”

This seems to imply that churches and state conventions are playing on an even playing field. That is, they’re playing by the same rules. Well, like many other muddy statements, this deserves a yes and a no. Yes, we’re all called to love God and one another as we love ourselves. We’re all under Christ’s glorious kingship. But, we also need to answer no to what you’re saying here. Even though we’re all under Christ’s kingship, the church has priority in his kingdom plans (not denominations). So, denominations should not demand that churches do what they say first (give more to CP) if they want them to do what the churches want them to do (give more to international missions). It works the other way around (or it should).

Well, more than you wanted, but perhaps this will add some clarity.

Jedidiah

Tim Rogers

Brother Jedidiah,

Thanks for your response in trying to clarify some of my content. I believe you, as I, have tried to get the mud out so we can debate the issues.

First, your Baptist heritage is commendable. I, personally, do not have that type of heritage. I have had to work overtime trying to catch up on things that were common communication in your upbringing. My upbringing was from the perspective of a layperson in the pew and it is from that perspective that I find my thoughts flowing many times.

Second, you say; “In light of this, I’d like to see a greater percentage of money go to reaching those people.” While, I am aware that you referenced my link to your Part 2 series, I was also keeping Part 2 in context with Part 1. It was in Part 1 that you referenced the convention bloat that Dr. Akin used in his original language and it was there that you began the first point as Should We Change the Percentage of CP Dollars that Stay in State You see, Brother Jedidiah, we as a SBC cannot call on the state conventions to make changes in their giving structures and percentages. As autonomous churches we do that at the state conventions. The charge that seems to be presented in your point is that the SBC needs to tell the state conventions–we need more money. Let me take for example the latest talking point that made it round on the blogs–the name change. We here from many they desire more money to get to the mission field to reach UPG’s. Then we hear from the same group they desire to see the convention change her name. Does anyone ever stop to think of the $$’s in legal fees and research that will be needed to accomplish this feat? Those $$’s will come from CP funds given by the churches. What about those UPG’s then? Where is the argument for bloat then?

Second, is my implication that churches and conventions are on a level playing field. I will admit that you appear to have a great point. However, I do not believe I have implied that. The reason is that conventions get their funds from the same place the churches get theirs–the people in the pew. The churches may direct any or all of their funds to reaching the UPG’s. Some are calling for conventions to make the 50/50 split but their total missions isn’t even 10%. I was referencing the CP portion alone, in my post, and that is what the conventions are having to work around. One example Brother Jedidiah. It would be absurd for you to expect Guidestone to pay you a retirement when you only paid enough to get medical insurance coverage. In the same light it is absurd for churches to expect their respective state conventions to go to a 50/50 split when they are giving only small portions of their undesignated funds to CP and giving major portions of their undesignated funds directly to the UPG missions. We had something like that before 1925 and it was that type of giving that led to the near collapse of some of the entities.

Again, thanks for stopping by and I pray God’s blessing on your ministry.

Blessings,
Tim

Roger K. Simpson

Jed:

I think everyone agrees [except possibly for the state exec of KY] that the local church is #1. Your statement that the state execs should not be telling the local churches what to do is 110% right on.

The local church is boss!! After all — every dime that is spent by the local church, the states, or the national agencies comes from the guy-in-the-pew. The last time I checked, they don’t have many pews in the state convention building.

However, just because your state exec has a defective view and is trying to micro-manage the budgets of the local churches, does not necessarily mean that the state is running an operation that is “bloated and bureaucratic” or that the states are out-of-sync with the desires of a what a MAJORITY (which does not include you) of the what churches in KY are asking for. Given the diversity of the churches and pastors in any given state there will always be some programs in a given state that some people think are secondary.

The number of people that agree with you about changes that are needed the KBC may be growing. I recommend that the B21 guys (and others of like mind)who do not like the spending priorities with your state convention do something about it by going to the trustees of your state. Work to nominate trustees that share your vision. Go down to the state offices and look over budget line-by-line. Talk to the budget committee of the BoT of the KBC and attend their meetings.

I could be (and as it relates to KY I have no information) that the state BoT and state exec is in fact working to implement the BEST COMPROMISE of the conflicting demands of various pastors in the hundreds of churches in the state of KY.

I am just a lowly layman here in OK. I didn’t like some stuff that was going on with one of the SBC agencies so I went to the BoT of the agency and found out for myself what was going on. In my case my “complaints” regarding the agency were mostly based upon getting only one side of the picture and/or were problems that the BoT had recently resolved.

Jed, have you gone down to the KBC and tried to work with them? What happened when you went down there? Did they throw you out on the street?

If it would help to solve this impass I’ll personally come to KY and act as a bodyguard for you when you go down to the KBC offices and/or attend KBC BoT meetings. I’ll put my management skills to work in an attempt to help to mediate the dispute between you and the KBC.

All of this polarization has risks. I think it is possible to work out a settlement with the KBC over time that won’t result in blowing up the system or having groups of churches walk away.

If we don’t have cooperation then there is no reason for the SBC to exist.

Roger Simpson
Oklahoma City OK

peter lumpkins

Jedidiah,

A few things if Tim does not mind.

You rightly posses a passion which I hope, under God, we all possess: “a greater need for money to go to the nations because their is little to no witness amongst tens of millions of people…” Whether or not we’ve been perfect in either application or consistency, such has been the throb of Southern Baptists since 1845. Indeed such was the basic strategy for the CP in the beginning and ahs kept it together through the years. No substantial difference here.

In addition, I wouldn’t initially dispute your further assertion that “the amount of money that we’re using to reach the lost (in whatever area) seems disproportional.” Granted. It is. But I’m afraid it has always been. And, I’m also afraid it’s always going to be. (Honestly, I think this was one thing in Tim’s mind in his comments toward your own contribution to this discussion). The reality is, no single church spends missions monies (globally) proportionally to missions monies (locally). Now, granted there may be an exception to such a rule. For example, a “house church” may argue such proportion is precisely one of the reasons they are a “house church”–they can spend virtually all their monies globally and not locally.

Then, you rejected Tim’s point about a church giving such a dismal amount to the CP–which, historically in the SBC has been the “global” pool of missions monies–but then calling upon state conventions to live the 50/50 standard, by offering this: “Even though we’re all under Christ’s kingship, the church has priority in his kingdom plans (not denominations). So, denominations should not demand that churches do what they say first (give more to CP) if they want them to do what the churches want them to do (give more to international missions). It works the other way around (or it should).”

I don’t think you heard Tim’s point.

First, so far as I know, state conventions have not “demanded that churches” do anything so far as I know. If you’d point me in a direction suggesting otherwise, I’d be highly interested. What many people who deeply understand how the CP operates have suggested is, if you want more money to actually get to the mission field, the sure-fire way to do it is an increase in percentages. But I can’t see how giving information or stating an answer to a problem is to be interpreted as “demanding churches do.”

Second, the real kicker I think Tim was much too kind about is this: a church which gives token support to the CP and stands with the microphone telling thousands of other churches which have at times, given till it bleeds, is a sorry excuse for exhortation. Now, granted what he says may all be true. But like the guy with 4 divorces telling the other guy how to have a successful marriage, while everything he counseled was letter perfect, the moral authority required is completely absent, an absence of which yells, “Yeah… Right.” To perfectly illustrate, listen to the questions at the ‘townhalls’ the GCRTF has fielded. Scan the letters to the editor to your state paper. I bet you a week’s worth of starbucks some form of this question arises: “How can those on the GCRTF who give token amounts to the CP expect us to listen to their advice on how to spend the money better?”

Finally, the approach that the GCR ‘framers’ have taken–along now with advocates such as B21–creates a hairline fracture within the structural components of the Cooperative Program. Why do I suggest this? One reason mainly: by pitting state conventions on the one hand against mission agencies of the SBC on the other, a wedge has been inserted to the CP similarly to a wedge into a slab of wood. What’s completely lost in the entire discussion is, our way of doing missions is unified. By that I mean that there is no real division of CP giving. Hence, the state convention is the CP in no less sense as Nashville is the CP (as it distributes to all the national entities). What I’ve heard thus far in the discussions, frankly, lends itself as much to dismantling the state conventions as it does anything else. Now, that’s my impression thus far. Perhaps I’ll be proven wrong. For the kingdom’s sake, let’s hope I am wrong.

Grace. And thanks again for your thoughts in this discussion.

With that, I am…
Peter

Tim Rogers

Brother Roger,

The local church is boss!! You do realize that statement is a Landmark doctrine, don’t you? :) Just kidding.

Seriously, I do believe the KY State Exec would totally agree with that statement. Also, at no place has the Ky State Exec presented a defective view. Neither has the Ky State Exec presented in any way to imply that he is trying to micro-manage the budgets of the local churches.

You have presented some great insight as to how one should involve him/herself in the process. Why not try doing that on the national level? I believe you would see some great changes. Plus there may be a Great Commission Resurgence come from that type of involvement.

Blessings,
Tim

William

I’m not presuming the opposite Tim, but why “must” we acknowledge that state conventions are doing a great job? Is there not a place where one can legitimately maintain that an average of 19 cents on the Cooperative Program for the International Mission Board is the best way to spend a CP dollar?

Would it be more acceptable if one said that the state conventions are staffed by wonderful people who are indeed doing a great job but they should do a great job with less of the CP dollar?

Tim Rogers

Brother William,

Have you not noticed that the GCR debate has presented the state conventions as the cause that UPG’s are still UPG’s?

There are great ministries going on in the state conventions. When was the last time that you heard anyone from the GCRTF compliment the state conventions on the work they are doing without it being a token supportive word trying to lessen the harshness of the “bloated bureaucracy”?

Blessings,
Tim

Robert Reeves

Great and timely discussion. I have the privilege of serving the Kentucky Baptist Convention as communications director and truly appreciate everyone who is expressing an opinion as part of the GCR conversation no matter where their sentiments may lie. I love the passion that people are showing for missions and feel that God will use what we learn from each other in this discussion to come to a better understanding about how to fulfill the Great Commission.

Just to clarify on one point in this thread, the churches are definitely in first place in Kentucky and we have a very transparent system in our state convention in which Kentucky Baptists make the call about priorities and funding allocations. (For more details, check out my post on this topic at http://www.greatcommissionkentucky.com/2010/01/baptists-do-know-how-cp-gifts-are-allocated/)

These priorities change as the needs change, though, which is why Kentucky has been incrementally increasing the amount it sends for SBC missions and ministries for the past several years. I expect this to continue at an even greater pace as Kentucky Baptists hear the cries of the lost people of our world.

Right now, in fact, our state has its own Great Commission Task Force which is looking at everything we do in light of Jesus’ command to reach those both across the street and across the world. Our task force will bring a set of recommendations to convention messengers at our next annual meeting.

We certainly encourage the active involvement of all Kentucky Baptists who have an interest in serving on the Mission Board or in other capacities. Most Mission Board members are elected at the association level and most associations are actively seeking people who want to serve. We also encourage churches to send messengers to the annual meeting. I am sure this applies to all state conventions.

If I can help anyone get more information about how the state convention works in Kentucky or how Baptists can plug in, I’ll be happy to share!

Robert Reeves

I’m afraid closing the parenthesis on the link in my previous comment caused it to break. Here’s the corrected link:

http://www.greatcommissionkentucky.com/2010/01/baptists-do-know-how-cp-gifts-are-allocated/

Steven Meyers

Can i ask a question. Why all the negitivity toward the GCR when they have not reported anything officially? Am i missing something. I have been reading blog after blog. Not just on this site but on many others as well (want to be fair). I hope and beleive that they have the best interests for the convention and more importantly the Gospel at heart. (though i might end the end find some disagreements with them).

“I bet you a week’s worth of starbucks some form of this question arises: “How can those on the GCRTF who give token amounts to the CP expect us to listen to their advice on how to spend the money?”– who are those on the task force to whom you are refering? And you just raised the question so does that mean you win the starbucks? lol jk.

“Now, one on the GCRTF seems to expand this motion with the idea that a name change is needed in order to reach the lost.” Needed? is that the best choice of Words here. I do not think that any Gospel minded Christian is going to agree that Changing the name of the SBC is “needed” to reach the lost. Though a change might change up a few things (maybe)? Jury is still out on the issue.

Personally I am glad that he GCRTF has raised questions within the sbc. It makes us think. Allows for us to get out of the box and think about the way we have been doing and are doing things (Some bad and some good).

“Finally, the approach that the GCR ‘framers’ have taken–along now with advocates such as B21–creates a hairline fracture within the structural components of the Cooperative Program.” What is the facture. Have they forced a hand that had caused this facture? Does not our bickering and arguing about names changes and money spending amoungst ourselfs cause a fracture in the convention when we stand stubborn that ‘we’ are right and ‘they’ are wrong. We all have opinions do you think they cause a structural fracture. If so then we are all guilty of that fracture.

Lastly these ‘framers’ you talk about. Are you refering to Dr. Akin and Dr. Hunt and Dr. Greer…ect. If your going to accuse them of Fracturing the convention would it not be best to just use their names because we know who they are. Sorry that might have been to blunt. My appologies.

Thanks for all the posts. I enjoy reading them.

Steven Meyers

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peter

Stephen,

Why you weaved quotes from Tim’s main post together with quotes from my comment in the thread is your call. Know on this side, however, it comes across as very odd.

Anyways, you query: “Can i ask a question. Why all the negitivity toward the GCR when they have not reported anything officially?” I personally don’t see why not.

Now may I ask one: if one produced “positivity” rather than “negativity” toward the GCRTF as you presumably mean (including the comment I left if you’d like), how would it look different than what Tim has produced? Supposing you are limiting your scope to the “official” word of the GCRTF, I am sure Tim (and I ) agree(s). In fact, Tim’s concern focused on public statements by TF members.

Furthermore, I’d like to see the links on the ‘blog after blog’. Do you mind sharing?

You quote me: “I bet you a week’s worth of starbucks some form of this question arises: “How can those on the GCRTF who give token amounts to the CP expect us to listen to their advice on how to spend the money?” and then ask, “who are those on the task force to whom you are refering?”

Filling in the blank with names adds nothing to my point. Go back to Rogers and move forward from there. GCRTF members have been repeatedly pounded for what many believe is ‘token’ giving to the CP. If I am correct, the application I drew is obvious.

In addition, you suggest you’re personally glad the GCRTF has “raised questions within the sbc” because, you conclude, “It makes us think…[and]…get out of the box…” Granted. Why, if I may ask, do I get the feeling you do not share the same gladness for those of us who have chosen to raise questions concerning the GCRTF?

Even more pointed, would you classify as “negativity” Dr. Akin’s continued use of state conventions as “bloated bureaucracies” or would such a metaphor be positive?

Again, you quote me: “Finally, the approach that the GCR ‘framers’ have taken–along now with advocates such as B21–creates a hairline fracture within the structural components of the Cooperative Program.” and ask, “What is the facture?”

I carefully pointed out what I meant by the ”hairline fracture,” Stephen. Please refer to my original comment. And, what I suggested had nothing whatsoever to do with exchanging different opinions.

Finally, Stephen, when it’s necessary to use names, I have not been reluctant to do so. I especially use personal names if I’m using a direct quote, or if my using it breaches no personal confidences. However, it’s common practice to not use personal names when ideas are being discussed, especially when no one specific name is an exclusive originator of it.

I hope this has been helpful. Grace for your evening.

With that, I am…
Peter

Steven Meyers

Peter,

I have read odder things on this site before.

“Anyways, you query: “Can i ask a question. Why all the negitivity toward the GCR when they have not reported anything officially?” I personally don’t see why not.” …Your right you are entitled to your opinion. Aren’t we all?

I did quote you “I bet you a week’s worth of starbucks some form of this question arises: “How can those on the GCRTF who give token amounts to the CP expect us to listen to their advice on how to spend the money?” And i Answered that you get the starbucks. A joke Peter, a joke. “who are those on the task force to whom you are refering?” This quote was refering to those who give “token amounts”… names of individuals. It was a question that does have to do with you point.

You said: Filling in the blank with names adds nothing to my point. Go back to Rogers and move forward from there. GCRTF members have been repeatedly pounded for what many believe is ‘token’ giving to the CP. If I am correct, the application I drew is obvious.” Not so obvious. Do you have figures that support these allegations? That would make it obvious.

You Said: Why, if I may ask, do I get the feeling you do not share the same gladness for those of us who have chosen to raise questions concerning the GCRTF?” Well if that is your feeling? I have asked questions too. Lets take the Name change issue for example. I constantly am torn between the sides. But I do not share in the gladness of always seeking to be negitive toward the TF. They are doing much good. Could you write a little about that.

“bloated bureaucracies” My question would be is there any truth in the comment before I make a decision about whether it is a good metaphor or not.

Concerning the hairline fracture. It again is, quote,”… my impression thus far.” So it is a potential problem that you see. Your impression. The fracture has yet to be established? If no, why place in the minds of readers that there is one?

You cleared up a few things but others are still left fuzzy.

Oh those sites that i have been reading. What do you want them for? I have been reading alot of sites. Between the times. SBCimpact. SBCvoices… ect. And even your series on Name Change.

Praise God we all don’t always have to agree with each other to be able to serve a Mighty God.

Steven Meyers

Tim Rogers

Brother Steven,

I am at a loss. Can you direct me to what I said in the post that you would classify as a negative comment toward the GCRTF?

Blessings,
Tim

Daniel

“Thus, those lost people, we cut staff to reach, have become more lost then those I am called to reach in my Jerusalem. Why? There is a greater need of reaching lost people around the world than there is of reaching lost people in the hills and hollers of Kentucky. Lost is lost whether you are in Tibet or Taylor Mill.”

I’m afraid you have confused an argument grounded in differences in people’s access to the gospel with one grounded in supposed differences in degrees of lostness. The point is that there are many thriving churches on the ground in the southeastern US who are tilling the soil among the lost. Disciples are made in thriving local churches. To the extent we have thriving local churches on the ground in the southeastern US (there are many) and there are not such churches around the world, we should be willing to make corresponding changes in the way we invest our Great Commission dollars. Thus far in what I’ve read and heard on the GCR (quite a bit), no one has argued that the lost in North Carolina are less lost than those elsewhere. They have argued that the opportunity to hear the gospel, meet a Christian, find a thriving church, or be given a Bible are much greater in NC than in many other places in the world.

As a state convention succeeds in its territory, it should, logically speaking, demand fewer resources, not more. This is because the churches she serves are becoming increasingly healthy and equipped to take ownership of their Jerusalem and Judea. A state convention stepping up to send more $ to the SBC is a state convention that has done its job exceptionally well and is now able to send more out of state that she retains.

Roger K. Simpson

Tim:

Quoting Jed, the issue between him and his state convention leadership is stated as follows:

>—-
So, denominations should not demand that churches do what they say first (give more to CP) if they want them to do what the churches want them to do (give more to international missions). It works the other way around (or it should).
>—-

In this instance, I agree with Jed. I believe that the view that denominational entities (such as state conventions) have precedence in determining budget priorities independent of the aggregate view of the local churches is 180 degrees out of phase with Baptist polity. That is why I used the term “defective” to describe such a view. The question remaining is: is this, in fact, happening in Kentucky?

I apologize for my use of the term “micro-manage” in my previous comment. I try very carefully to not be inflammatory but I admit that equating an “upside down view of Baptist polity” by a denominational entity with a denominational entity “micro-managing” local church giving is over the top.

In my view the key issues are these:

(a) to what extent are the states making their budgets in a way that is out-of-sync with the will of the majority of the churches in their state?

(b) to the extent that some group in any given state would like to amend the budget allocations used by their state conventions, are they effectively using the mechanisms at their disposal to implement change?

(c) to what extent are a set of SBC-wide task force recommendations going to be the template for negotiating a settlement between various parties in a given state relative to state budget allocations? How will recommendations made by the SBC-wide task force be reconciled with the recommendations of similar task forces set up by individual state conventions?

Roger K. Simpson
Oklahoma City OK

peter

Stephen,

A) I got your joke, But look again, Stephen; I wasn’t referencing your joke. I answering what I took to be your serious question: “who are those on the task force to whom you are refering?” My answer whether or not you accept it is, the answer is irrelevant to the point I made. My ‘starbucks’ statement directly refers to questions proposed by attendees at the ‘townhalls,’ questions the GCRTF has fielded from others, not me (also state paper letters to the editor). To query to whom *I’m* referring is absurd. But, if you’d like to know to whom the others I mentioned referred, I suggest you watch the Rogers Q/A, read the subsequent articles in state papers, and letters to the editor. It’s public information, not privileges.

B) “Do you have figures that support these allegations? That would make it obvious.” See above. Yet, for the record, I have figures for all the TF members. Again, not relevant. If you want those figures, both the Alabama Baptists as well as BP printed missions giving for each TF member. Hence, public, not privileged.

C) “Lets take the Name change issue…” Let’s not. I haven’t mentioned a name change in this thread. Hence, it’s irrelevant to our exchange.

Nor have you, Stephen, offered one slither in implicating Tim, and now, apparently me, as being “negative.” On the one hand, the GCRTF makes you “glad” for raising questions as it does, for “It makes us think…[and]…get out of the box…” which, apparently for you, is positive. On the other hand, because Tim (and I, of course) raises questions of the GCRTF, it’s suggested he’s promoting “negativity.” From my side of the street, the double standard reflects a blinding glare, Stephen.

D) “My question would be is there any truth in the comment before I make a decision about whether it is a good metaphor or not.” Fine. Perhaps those who use it should offer the same courtesy to state conventions including the GCRTF. Yet this assertion was first made prior to the GCRTF.

E) “Concerning the hairline fracture.” Stephen, you completely botched your first attempt at my statement on the ‘hairline fracture’ by ignoring my words explaining what I meant by the image, but nonetheless asked a series of questions having nothing to do with my words because you ignored them. And, now you expect me to entertain yet another series of questions when you apparently did not bother to read what I said in my very first comment? Uh, ummm…Nah. Not today.

F) The sites. Here’s what you wrote, Stephen: “I have been reading blog after blog. Not just on this site but on many others as well (want to be fair).” And, you wrote it in the context of suggesting a barrage of “negativity.” My simple request was to point me in a direction of the “negativity.” Now perhaps you have your reasons why you do not feel “filling in the blanks” is germane to your point. On the other hand, you appeared pretty doggone sure my “filling in the blanks” above was germane. Interesting to say the least.

Anyways, while, I do not see how the two are the same, know you have my express permission to withhold all the “negativity” out there from these negative people who ought to find something good to say about the GCRTF.

Now, I’m convinced there’ll be ‘fuzzy’ things still. Unfortunately, unless you have a specific, relevant question of my words on this thread, it will just have remain ‘fuzzy’.

Good Day.

With that, I am…
Peter

James

Daniel,

Well said. Thank you for you insight.

As well as others for their posts.

James

Tim Rogers

Brother Daniel,

The analogy that Brother JD Greear used, I believe applies well here. It is bad parachurch when we are told that we need to get more money to an organization for them to handle the reaching of the UPG’s. Now, do not misunderstand, I am not against funding missionaries through the IMB. I am all for that and lead our church to give to CP, Lottie Moon, Annie Armstrong, local Association, local church missions (I am at present trying to organize a mission trip to Mexico) and other mission endeavors. Thus, when someone argues the statistical opportunity for hearing the gospel is greater in North America than in some third world country that is different than saying there is a greater need for the gospel. I agree with you that stastically speaking people have better opportunities of presenting the Gospel in North America than other countries. But, and this is part of my argument that has never materialized, I believe you will find it cost more to get the gospel to the people of North America than it does to get the gospel to people in an UPG. I know some may respond that it doesn’t cost one red penny for me to share my faith. That would be correct. However, a thriving church in NA costs more to operate and spends more in training. In Dr. Bart Barber’s post “If Heaven Ain’t Alot Like Dixie”, he says; “Moving from culture-at-large to church culture, a Cowboy Church movement has arisen largely because the standard Southern Baptist church culture has almost nothing Southern about it. The music is Rock, the marketing is Madison Avenue, the platform dress is Abercrombie & Fitch, and the A-V technology is Times Square.” My point is, look what we have moved to in order to just put on a Sunday AM Worship experience. His definition is one that most would probably say is a thriving Southern Baptist church.

As to the giving % of the state conventions. If you will go to this link you will find the state conventions listed and their various %’s. Something that I noticed was very interesting. There are 15 state conventions that began in 1925/26 collecting for the Cooperative Program. Of those 15 you will find only 3 state conventions (Tennessee, Baptist General Convention of Virginia, and the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware,) that began giving a 50/50 split. To be fair, South Carolina and Mississippi began giving a 55/45 split. The rest of the 15 original state conventions that began giving in 1925/26 began with a 60/40 split or less. If you look, you will find that many conventions that began in 1925 did not begin splitting the funds until some years later. You will also find that five conventions (Florida, Kentucky, North Carolina, SBCT, and SBCV), when they began the split began with at least a 50/50. Of those 5 only 2 are maintaining that split, or better (Texas and Virginia). What does this mean? I do not know, but I do know that we have some asking us to do something today that many conventions have never done.

Thus, Brother Daniel, your statement; “A state convention stepping up to send more $ to the SBC is a state convention that has done its job exceptionally well and is now able to send more out of state that she retains.” would indicate that you may believe that most of our state conventions have not done their job. I do not believe you are saying that, I am just pointing you to the data of which your statement may need to be re-worded.

Blessings,
Tim

Tim Rogers

Brother Roger,

I got so caught up in the links for Brother Daniel, I missed you. Sorry.

I believe it may surprise you, but I also agree with Brother Jedidiah’s statement. A state convention should not ask churches to give more if the state convention is not willing to give more. What many seem to forget, though, is the state exec. do not determine the % structure, that is the churches of that convention that determine that structure.

You have submitted some great questions and allow me to give you my perspective on these questions.

(a) to what extent are the states making their budgets in a way that is out-of-sync with the will of the majority of the churches in their state? I believe I answered this in the paragraph above. The state execs are not the ones calling for this % structure it is the churches of the state.

(b) to the extent that some group in any given state would like to amend the budget allocations used by their state conventions, are they effectively using the mechanisms at their disposal to implement change? That is a great question. Here in NC we fought for many years trying to get back to one giving plan. It was the political machines within the convention, some of it was tied to the state execs, but most of the politics was structured through the elected leaders that kept the budget structure in place. We found that if we would present the motion calling on the Budget Committee to make the changes then the motion would be debated and if passed the Budget committee would bring back the changes.

(c) to what extent are a set of SBC-wide task force recommendations going to be the template for negotiating a settlement between various parties in a given state relative to state budget allocations? How will recommendations made by the SBC-wide task force be reconciled with the recommendations of similar task forces set up by individual state conventions? I believe this question will be dealt with in an autonomous environment. No SBC Task Force will present any recommendation that any state convention has to follow. As a matter of parliamentary procedure it may be ruled out of order because it would be against our polity to make a recommendation to another autonomous body.

Blessings,
Tim

Daniel

Tim,

My concluding statement is not a suggestion that states conventions have not done their job. It is a contention that many states in the South HAVE done their jobs well. As a result, they can trust the churches on the ground to be the means of making disciples in their state and send more resources for the establishment of thriving churches in other places. My contention is that, particularly in the south, states have done well at getting good, gospel-centered churches on the ground. Are there still pockets of need? Certainly. Are the pockets worthy of keeping 62 percent of CP funds and sending along 38 percent? I cannot see how.

The reason it made sense to keep more CP $ in 1925 was because the state conventions were, themselves, functioning in virgin territory. There were people across the state without access to good, gospel-preaching churches. There were few churches on the ground to make disciples. 85 years later, in part because of the work of those conventions, thriving churches are now on the ground across these states, and those churches have the ability to take ownership of their Jerusalem w/o nearly as much state convention assistance.

Because the state conventions in the south have been successful, a committment to send more to the SBC would not be a suggestion that state conventions do not matter – it would be a celebration of 85 years of good work. Now, we release more resources to reach the nations – not because they are more lost but because they have far less access to the gospel.

I do not buy the argument that it costs more in the US for several reasons. There are ebbs and flows in cost around the globe. And, it always costs more to establish the beachhead than the hold ground.

There are several reasons why spending 37 times more to reach someone in North America verses the rest of the world cannot be easily justified.

1. This figure does not even factor in the funds that the churches spend themselves – the church the the place disciples are made. So, that\’s in the 10 billion range (not counting capital expenditures) before we begin to look at CP allocations. If I read you correctly above, I think I hear you saying some of those churches need to be more missional in their approach to spending/interating with various sub cultures – I agree! That does not justify keeping funds here though.

2. We already have vast resources on the ground in the US. We have buildings, Bible, computers, FaceBook, blogs, tracts, parking lots, parsonages, the English language (a lingua franca, in many, surely not all, places). Virtually none of these are in place in many international contexts. To be sure, not all are \”needed\” but there are \”start-up\” costs that have already been covered in the southeastern US that have not been touched in other parts of the world.

3. Once we look at CP allocations, there are the funds that state conventions spend, about 62 percent of all receipts, plus the funds spend by NAMB – some of which comes back to the state conventions in the south that are spending 62 percent!

If we really believe Jesus love the African as much as the average southerner, can\’t we at least achieve something close to a nearly equal investment of JUST our CP $ (not counting the 10B in the churches) for both reaching Americans and the nations? Right now, we spend $1.31/person to reach people in the U.S. and Canada and less that $0.04 to reach those living elsewhere. Again, that is just the CP calculus – we already have so many advantages here. Why do we spend so much here?

Daniel

There is an ontological difference between local churches and conventions. The church gives birth to the convention. The convention serves the churches. The convention cannot and should not make demands of the church for giving percentage because: 1) they have derived authority from the cooperating churches and 2) the church is ground zero of making disciples in that local church’s community – not the convention. The church in one community may need to keep more or less depending on whether they are rural or urban, old or new, etc. However, when looking at the statewide level, when the state has healthy churches on the ground in most communities, the disciple-making engine is in place – the local church. This means more $ may be sent to establish churches among the nations outside that state.

Roger K. Simpson

Daniel:

I agree with your logic 100%. I think many people do.

Like most things in the “real world” the devil is in the details. The task is to translate the requirement to have the states send more to Nashville (which funds the IMB) while at the same time managing operations within the state. And this is going on in the context that due to the economy the income that the states receive from the local churches is shrinking.

The job at hand is to do the “impossible” job of getting in the trenches at the state level and working with the BoTs of the states and/or the budget committes that the state BoTs have set up and actually working out a budget that over time increases the percentage of funds received from the local churches that goes to the exec committee for the SBC wide agencies — which includes the IMB and the NAMB.

Daniel, what state are you in? Have you been able to make any progress in terms of adjusting the budget of your state? What line items in your state budget do you see as those that should be cut?

What is you action plan to solve the problem you have raised?

Roger K. Simpson

Daniel

Dear Roger,

I am currently in NC, recently so. Most of my life in Virginia. I’m 31, and have only recently come to the place in my church where I am called upon to “lead” at least with respect to conventions. I have some thoughts on how the Lord may lead me to be a part of some significant changes in the upcoming years. With all of that said, there is no question that the difficlt part is actually acting on the rationale I’ve articulated earlier.

There are several areas that I personally think could be either phased out entirely or significantly reduced. Some of these things could be “returned” to the churches. Others simply are not needed in light of advances in technology. I won’t delve here into my specific thoughts, not because I’m afraid to, but because I believe we first need to agree that there is reason to pursue such changes – that the 35,000 foot level evidence suggests this is the case. I believe, wholeheartedly, that it does. And, I think I can make a compelling, theologically-grounded case for my position.

I should add that we should persue changes in a Christ-like manner. I don’t advocate just terminating a bunch of people. There should be an extended transition phase – take 15 years for an example. States in the South could create a roadmap to getting from 60/40 to, say, 40/60 by 2025. That is not a hard-and-fast suggestion, just an example of how a state may begin now to plan for and work iteratively toward some long-term allocation adjustments.

I believe the growing number of folks who are concerned about the current 62.5/37.5 allocation of CP funds (average) would be willing to continue with a unified budget approah if they knew the states they were supporting had a real action plan for reversing this allocation trend.

In everything this side of heaven, we have limited resources. We must hone the purpose of conventions and streamline accordingly.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment.

Daniel

Tim Rogers

Brother Daniel,

You said; “My concluding statement is not a suggestion that states conventions have not done their job. It is a contention that many states in the South HAVE done their jobs well.” However, in comment #16 you said; “A state convention stepping up to send more $ to the SBC is a state convention that has done its job exceptionally well and is now able to send more out of state that she retains.” Those two statement do not match up especially after I provided for you a link that proves there are only 2 state conventions (SBCT & SBCV)that began with a 50/50 split and have systematically increased the % they forward to Nashville. According to your statement #16 the SBCT & SBCV are the only two conventions that have done their job. Now, if you are going to hang your argument on the word “exceptionally” then we have a entirely new debate. Why? There is now a difference between state conventions doing their jobs well and exceptionally well.

I do not buy the argument that it costs more in the US for several reasons. There are ebbs and flows in cost around the globe. And, it always costs more to establish the beachhead than the hold ground. I do not desire to get into a debate over numbers with you. If that is where this debate is headed then I will go ahead and concede the debate right now. I know you are more astute with numbers and statistics than I and you know, as well as I, the old saying about making numbers say what you would like. That is not where I want this debate to head. However, your statement reveals a difference in your and my position. I pastor a traditional SB church. While I do enjoy some privileges that a new church start does not, it costs more for my family insurance than it does for a young family insurance. While a new church start pays for a Worship Leader, I have to pay for that same Worship Leader. Also, the beach head analogy does not compute. If we look at the Scripture we will see that we are told the Kingdom of God will advance and the “Gates of Hell shall not stand against it.” We are all on an established beach head. One other thing. Would it be your contention that the cost of living here in the US is much less that say in a third world country? That is what I mean when I say it takes more $ here in the US.

You also say we spend; “37 times more to reach someone in North America”. Is this figure coming from the study you authored that the GCRTF has?

This means more $ may be sent to establish churches among the nations outside that state. Brother Daniel, that is exactly what everyone would like. So, why do you not get in touch with those churches that send a token to CP and then gives around the CP, bypassing both the state conventions and the SBC together, giving directly to the mission boards so they can establish their own kind of churches overseas and in cities of their choices. Why don’t you explain to them that if they would give through the CP it would increase the funds that go to the mission boards thus sending more missionaries to the field and planting more churches?

As I said earlier, I concede to you on the numbers end. So, as the numbers guru on this site, :) can you help me understand something? To get this figure you say would be “fair” to the mission field, what amount would it take for the state conventions to send forward to achieve such a goal?

Brother Roger,

Brother Daniel is in NC he is employed by SEBTS in the alumni office.

Blessings,
Tim

Tim Rogers

Brother Daniel,

You posted while I was commenting. So I will address the one area that you gave Brother Roger that was a question I asked.

You say; “States in the South could create a roadmap to getting from 60/40 to, say, 40/60 by 2025. That is not a hard-and-fast suggestion, just an example of how a state may begin now to plan for and work iteratively toward some long-term allocation adjustments.” Here is the issue. Could you give me $$’s that would be needed to achieve your objective? As we have been told, %’s do not pay the bills, $’s do. How much in terms of $$’s would you say each state convention would need to forward to Nashville in order to accomplish this goal of 40/60 by 2025.

Blessings,
Tim

Scott Gordon

What I see here, and on Twitter, are some wishing to chastise Tim for a semantic fuax pas rather than consider the heart of his concern. Straw men do not make arguments.

Another problem I see is a false dilemma being fostered in which it is merely the state conventions’ allocations of CP giving which limits the funding to our SBC missions agencies. I do believe that our state conventions should do all to increase funds being sent on to our national & international agencies. I ALSO believe that Tim has a rather salient point: Those on the TF as well as all leaders within our national convention need to step up and increase their giving through the CP! I was one of those in attendance at the GCRTF lunch in Rogers, AR. I am one of those to whom Peter refers who asked a question of those TF members present about the contradictions between their decrying the lack of funds for sending folks to the mission field while showing little value for the CP by their words from the platform and in the giving of their churches. I would personally like to see pastors Floyd and Hunt share with us that they have ‘heard the concerns of Southern Baptists’ and have upped their paltry CP giving from their respective churches in order to be part of the solution in funding our cooperative missions efforts. I would then like to see a wave of state executive directors (like our excellent ex. dir. here in MO) who would step up and commit to move their state conventions to move toward goals which would increase the movement of more funds to our national and international missions efforts.

The problem is not an either/or. It is both/and!

Sola Gratia.

peter

Tim (and Daniel),

I’ve been quite busy and had little time to consider the exchanges other than a couple personally directed at my own comments.

At any rate, Tim, as I’ve attempted to hear your conversation with Daniel, some thoughts came to mind. Daniel’s journey from viewing conventions as “bloated bureaucracies” to their doing their jobs so well I think is an improvement in public relations (not to mention the little descriptor dropped from the vocabulary ;^). Now if only some of the TF could learn from his example!! haha

On the other hand, it may have side-tracked him from actually addressing your point about the percentages beginning in the early 19th c. Who knows.

Anyway, who would not like to see S Bapt give more to IMB? Surely no one theoretically. The question is, how?

Daniel clearly thinks the rock-solid answer–perhaps the only answer–is to cut other denominational ministry commitments to do so. Indeed he apparently knows there’s enough waste and/or duplication in all these state conventions–conventions which deserve a hearty “well done”–to live off 40%, 30%, and, according to his paper, a stunning 25% of what they receive from churches. How he knows this he has not revealed.

Might one suggest SEBTS could live off 50%, 40%, or even 30% of what it receives from the CP? Surely it could–without the input of those who are close to what each budget line represents. Perhaps someone from say, another agency casts the idea that the agency in which he or she is serving the SBC is not being treated proportionally fair.

Suppose in the course of arguing such a point, he or she makes a value consideration that the agency he serves deserves more CP support and would propose another agency–in this case, SEBTS–which, for several reasons, needs to cut its own commitments to pay for the increase in his agency’s necessary need to expand.

All the numbers aside, Tim, in my view this is precisely what Daniel’s argument reduces to: a competitive tactic rather than a cooperative one. For him, because A proportionally deserves more than B, B just needs to suck it up. In fact, so much so, that B ought to, for a period of years, do away with up to 70% of its ministry vision. Problem solved.

I have to say, however, if this mindset takes hold, or becomes what Malcolm Gladwell dubs “the tipping point,” the soul of the CP will leave its body to rot. Congratulations & Welcome to the new and improved 21st Century Missionary Society Approach!

Of course, the societal approach was embedded with the competitive tactic not the cooperative one, which is precisely one of the reasons it was dumped for the CP.

State conventions of churches are not against more monies getting outside the respective state (remember they are all doing swell! ;^) What will pose tremendous difficulty for them is to insist they must cut their ministry commitments to do it.

For me, that is hardly different from the scenario above of one agency insisting another agency cut its fiscal commitments in order for it to receive some of its present share.

Grace.

With that, I am…
Peter

Roger K. Simpson

Daniel:

You are part of the future of the SBC! We need about a thousand people just like to you begin to become more involved in the working of the SBC — especially at the state convention level — in each and every state.

The task ahead is not easy! The job cannot be done in five minutes or maybe even five years! But is has to start somewhere.

As you say, we can’t just go in with a hatchet and start handing out pink slips. We have to streamline operations over time and offload stuff to various churches, or groups of churches, or “sunset” stuff over time so state convention resources can be re-allocated.

Just one example:

At my church in Oklahoma City (First Southern Del City) we hosted the BGCO “Women’s Retreat” a few months ago. It was on a Saturday. I believe that our church (in conjunction with a couple of other “larger” churches in the greater OKC area) could run this retreat so the BGCO does not have to spend resources — including staffing — on it. Some of the cost of running this retreat would be recovered from the registration fee that ladies who attend the event pay.

Multiply the above example across all states and across all opportunities for moving the locus of implementation and control back to the churches and then you are beginning to make a dent in solving the problem.

Here in OKC we have SBC churches on every corner. We have:

First Southern Del City — 59th and Sooner
Sunnylane — 29th and Sunnylane
Sooner Baptist — 15th and Sooner
Heavenly Heights — Sunnylane and 89th
First Baptist Midwest City — 15th and Air Depot
Country Estates — 15th and Midwest Blvd
Del View Baptist — 29th and Bryant
Beverly Hills — 59th and Shields
Southern Hills — 89th and Penn
Meadowood — Sooner and Reno
Soldier Creek — Douglas and 15th

I could go on and on — it is like this all over Oklahoma County. On average these churches are about 1 1/2 miles apart and the membership area from each church overlaps by 10 miles with other churches.

If churches wanted to do more for missions they could work out alliances to offload stuff from the BGCO.

Also they could send more dollars to CP via the normal channels through the state, and/or send dollars directly to the CP using a vehicle such as the Lottie offering.

The bottom line result of such changes is that churches would be spending more dollars and using more personell and facility assets in doing ministries that are “outside” the boundaries of their own geographical area. i.e. They are ramping up their ministries to Samaria and the utter most parts of the world and at the same time giving their own members more ministry opportunities.

I’m an old guy who is probably not going to be around to see this transition come to full fruition. I’m 66. I’m a retired microcode manager and firmware guy from Silicon Valley. I know I can’t do this stuff. I’m too abrasive and too impatient. It is up to you younger guys to see that change is possible, and that by working in the system this battleship can be turned around.

I used to manage a group of guys — some with PhDs from top engineering schools. Guys would come into me and complain about the environment they had to work in — some other group was sandbagging the operation. I’d tell them,

“You are looking at the boundaries of your job too narrowly. Go to work on this problem because if it is impeding your progress then by definition you have to share in the solution because it is your problem — if you need my help I’ll throw some furniture around.”

It is amazing what people can do incrementally over time when they align themselves with like minded people with a common mission and they are in a environment that is encouraging them to take ownership while giving them coaching behind the scenes.

I think these old Silicon Valley war stories apply in some way to the SBC right now. Old guys, such as Johnny Hunt, are saying “we have to turn this thing around”. People that are paying attention in the next generation of leadership in the SBC are going to be stepping up to the plate to implement change.

Right now most people in the SBC think the states are doing a fine job. They like the programs that the states are doing and think they are cost effective. The job is to look and what is going on with the states and identify the “low hanging fruit” where cuts can be made while keeping those programs where it makes no sense to spin them off or shut them down.

In any case the onus is on the local church — all of them in a given state — to drive change and step up and take ownership. We can just sit around and complain about “bloated bureaucracies” and expect things to magically get better.

BTW, as I write this the GCR task force is finishing up its marathon meeting in San Antonio. We will see what in a month or so what they see as SBC “action items”

Roger

Roger K. Simpson

In the second to the last paragraph of my last comment change “CAN” to “CAN NOT”

Daniel

Dear Tim,

I don’t know the amount for 2025. That is based on a number of factors going forward – inflation, donations received, etc. 60/40 in today’s dollars would get us from spending something like 37 times more for every man, woman, and child in America by comparison with everyone else to somewhere around (from memory…it’s been a while since I ran the numbers, I think it comes to 7-8 times more). That would certainly be a great step in the right direction.

The 37 times more is based on current CP expenditures ($1.31/person in US and Canada v. $0.038 for everyone else). The calculus is a matter of simple mathematics. Actual expenditures in/for territories served divided by the number of people in those territories. Assessing expenditures on a per capita basis is a common practice for assessing the level of parity in funding between one data set and another.

Percentages do not pay the bills. They do, however, reflect priorities. Further, they do produce the current inequities in our missions allocations/investments.

I don’t think I’ve used the word “fair” in reference missions allocations. Equitable, perhaps is a better word. The difference of nuance is important in this case.

I still do not think I’ve made clear my point about state conventions. My original statement was a forward looking statement, not one based on the present. The point is this, if a state convention were to make steps to reduce the percentage of receipts they keep and send more to the SBC, this should not be seen as retreat or weakness but of a job well done. I’m being optimistic with the statement, hoping state conventions will begin to move in this direction. In other words, I did not have the present percentages in mind when making my statement. It was/is a forward looking statement. State conventions will not be suggesting they are worthless or anything of the sort if they move to send more to the SBC. That is what I intended with my statement. I apologize for not articulating it more robustly from the outset.

As for cost of living, this is undoubtedly higher here than in a 3rd world country on the face of it, but it is not quite that simple for an American who must enter the culture and learn it in order to be effective there (not to mention travel there, etc.). Also, there are places in Europe that are far more costly that most places in the US. There are important factors which add cost in an international setting: learning a new language (i.e. language school), infrastructure needs, travel, security, insurance, etc. These factors significantly raise the cost of planting thriving churches overseas. In fact, with your elaboration about your church, you help to reinforce my point. All those things that you must do to keep your church advancing in your community are things we are trying to just get off the ground with less than 2/100 of every dollar that goes into the offering plates across the SBC each Sunday.

Anyhow, I’ve enjoyed the discussion, and hope that I’ve clarified a few things.

As for Peter’s comments: I never used the term “bloated bureaucracies.” I did, however, used the term “government bureaucracy.” I continue to believe there are some elements of our convention structures, state and SBC, that could fairly be described as overly bureaucratic. Certainly, some levels of administration are needed in our conventions. It does seem to me, however, that there are some overlaps and duplications in our current system(s). In other words, this is a comment about the current system(s) which are, in some places, overly bureaucratic, rather than about the administrators/missionaries/etc. who happen to be working in those systems).

Despite some possible duplication/overlap, I believe state conventions have done good work over the past 85 years. I have believed this from the first time I published my CP allocations assessment. It is in part because of the states’ investment and success over the past 85 years that states can now confidently begin a systematic, progressive transition and release more funds to the SBC for the planting of thriving churches around the world. Where I came across as attacking state conventions was when I used the word “skim,” in describing the situation that states spend, on average, 62 percent of every CP dollar they receive. I was rightfully rebuked for this word choice and have apologized in person to several state directors and more formally here: http://www.gofbw.com/news.asp?ID=10661. Peter, to the extent that I know my heart, I am confident that your remarks are not reflective of my inner thoughts and disposition on this issue. This is the last I will respond to you publicly on this matter. If you wish to contact me privately, please do.

Roger: I just now briefly skimmed your comments, and I was largely in agreement with what I read there. What was most encouraging to me was your encouragement. I know I have blind spots, but I am confident that I am not just spitting in the wind – that I have something substantive to say about how we go about thinking about our missions investments. Some people have misread my words and my intentions. I am not interested in going back to a societal approach to missions. I am, among other things, trying to argue for continuing a unified approach by sketching a proposed rationale, grounded in theological convictions commonly held by Baptists, for how we cooperate going forward. Folks of my generation (and some older – more and more lately), I think will be willing to stay on board and perhaps even increase their giving over time if they see the missions investments going where there need for access to the gospel is greatest and to support the initiatives which are most directly related to this effort (i.e. the places where there are few or no thriving local churches both in the US and around the globe).

Scott, you are right. The challenge is both/and. I stated this much in my initial assessment of CP allocations back in August. There are some who say, if churches would just get back to 9 percent, everything would be okay. This is not true as long as state conventions continued spending 62 percent of CP receipts. The built in disparities in our missions investments would remain.

Dr. Bruce Ashford, a professor who teaches mission at Southeastern, told my class one day that there are still places in the world where one could walk for a month without ever seeing a church or meeting a Christian or having opportunity to touch a Bible. I thought this was a bit of hyperbole, so I pressed him on it after class. Turns out, he’s right . . . and, together, we can do something about it. I believe we should.

Just a week ago, I received a missionary update from a friend serving in NAME. Team members who were supposed to be arriving are no longer coming. Team members on the ground are being recalled. This is profoundly bothersome for me. I know we can do better. I believe I have articulated a sensible approach for moving forward. I hope the Lord will use it in some small way to bring more of our neighbors and the nations to Himself.

Thanks to all for the opportunity to comment and for patiently reading and considering these thoughts.

He is Risen!

Daniel

peter

Daniel,

Thanks. A couple of things.

First, you are correct; you never used the exact term “bloated bureaucracies.” For this wrong attribution I am deeply sorry.

On the other hand, Daniel, you did use a much more provocative term than “bloated bureaucracies” to describe your initial assessment of convention work; so provocative, in fact, you found it necessary to publicly withdraw it in a letter to the editor of the Florida Baptist, if I recall correctly.

And, know the single reason I have for mentioning this is the sudden shift from outright despising certain convention work to now praising it for a job well done! Personally, I think a sudden change of judgment about state conventions and their operation deserves attention when evaluating a person’s view.

Second, Daniel, you write: “Peter, to the extent that I know my heart, I am confident that your remarks are not reflective of my inner thoughts and disposition on this issue. This is the last I will respond to you publicly on this matter. If you wish to contact me privately, please do.”

As for not responding to me publicly, Daniel, I haven’t the least reservation. Each of us carry our own reasons for not responding to particular persons or care to exchange publicly about certain issues. Indeed there exists some folk concerning whom I have the same approach. So, know I fully sympathize and support your decision so far as this part of your statement goes.

However, the other part is completely unfair: “to the extent that I know my heart, I am confident that your remarks are not reflective of my inner thoughts and disposition on this issue.”

To give the impression, Daniel, that my commentary was more reflective of your “inner thoughts and disposition” than of your expressed argument in words on this issue is patently absurd. I neither stated, implied, nor presumed upon your inner world. And to make this conversation about me doing so, in a word, is cheap.

As for my assessment of your position, you are well aware I’m not merely clothed in subjective apparel. In evaluating your position, others much more capable of valuable critique of your study have not been silent.

For example, Dr. David Hankins who coauthored, with Chad Owen Brand, One Sacred Effort: The Cooperative Program of Southern Baptists (B&H, 2005), concluded your position on CP giving, and the numbers you are giving here represent a “meaningless comparison on a number of levels…fatuous…not connected to reality.”

As a recognized authority on the Cooperative Program history, Hankins further concluded from the study you published—the content of which is almost identical to what you are saying here, Daniel–fails to give “evidence that he [Palmer] understands the history and ecclesiology of Southern Baptists, which makes an honest conversation difficult” (//link).

I honestly regret posting this, my brother. However, to not only ignore sincere reservations concerning your view, but worse still, to recast the reservations others have into personal attacks reflecting more your “inner thoughts and disposition” than sincere discussion is, from my standpoint, entirely unacceptable.

Hence, whether or not you desire to exchange with me publicly I fully applaud. However, please do not leave the impression that you refuse to do so because I am more concerned with your “inner thoughts and disposition.” I decidedly am not.

Finally, in light of the above, I encourage every reader to reflect deeply upon the proposals Daniel offers here before climbing on board a vehicle, at least some experts have noted, is “not connected to reality.”

With that, I am…
Peter

Roger K. Simpson

Daniel:

The next step is energizing people on the ground in every state convention — mostly pastors in those states — that are [or will be]on the budget committees in each state — that share the vision of sending a greater percentage to Nashville over time.

I think Judge Pressler serves as a model. He barnstormed the country and got out the word. He worked for years building a team as he went along.

One thing is evident from Pressler’s book — change in the SBC doesn’t happen overnight. It requires a tremendous amount of effort over years.

Because of the autonomous nature of our state conventions, the work has to be duplicated in every state.

Time will tell who is going to be the “Judge Pressler” that is going to own this and drive it.

Roger

Daniel

Roger,

Thank you again for your encouragement. If the Lord uses me in 1/4 the way he used Pressler, I’d be delighted. If you are at the SBC in June, I’d enjoy meeting you. Have a good day.

Daniel

Tim Rogers

Brother Daniel,

Thanks for your response. At the length you went responding to everyone, I must say, we may want to speak with you about becoming a contributor here at SBC Today. ;)

Seriously, as I told you I am not a numbers expert and I concede the calculus to you. However, as Brother Peter points out there are others that have openly responded to your figures. Thus, we find ourselves with conflicting positions.

However, in response to me, you said; “Percentages do not pay the bills. They do, however, reflect priorities. Further, they do produce the current inequities in our missions allocations/investments.” This is exactly what we have been saying all along. While 10% of undesignated gifts to the CP is not a standard that I believe we should suggest churches meet before someone from that church can serve on a board in the SBC, it still speaks volumes concerning their priorities. If a church give 2.75% of undesignated funds to the CP and then gives 8% to plant a church (that the church leaders would find the staff) through an SBC entity, it speaks volumes as to their priority. It says their priority is not cooperation. It is not “bad parachurch” to elect Prez of entities and pay them corporate exec salaries then expect them to get churches planted with the 5-10% we lead our churches to give through the CP. It is “bad parachurch” when leaders who give a small % of undesignated gifts to CP to then turn around and cry that we have missionaries not able to go to the mission field and we need to have a Christmas in August in order to get these folks on the Mission Field. It is “bad parachurch” to receive over $1M in the Christmas in August offering and then sit on $Millions in reserves. Couldn’t we have just moved one or two of those $M’s into the general account to place these M’s on the field that were waiting?

To conclude my thoughts, I believe my biggest concern lies in the fact we have people who give a small % to CP then call on us to give more. In the same thought stream they then turn around and blame the state conventions for their small %’s. Now you, as a denominational employee in another layer of the denominational structure, are calling on re-applying a formula for giving that will bring about more money to the institution you are employed. The formula is very easily applied that will increase the funds that each of our educational entities receive and that is to increase students. If students increase then the amount of funds received from the CP will increase. Of course another way of accomplishing this is to combine seminaries. That will create an increase in CP funds also. But I pray that isn’t something that is being bantered around.

Blessings,
Tim

peter

Tim,

One of the reasons concerned scholars like Dr. Hankins has for the numbers Daniel offers is the simplistic method used to produce them. In fact, I pointed this out to Daniel in a phone conversation with him several months ago. And please understand: I am no more a ‘numbers expert’ than you claim to be (in reality, probably less!). However, just a surface look exposes the glaring flaw, a flaw which prompted Hankins to dub his method “not connected to reality.”

Consider: to get the $1.31 we spend on people domestically, Daniel apparently added together state convention CP totals & NAMB (including AAO), then divided the CP total dollars by the total population of the U.S. and Canada. Hence, the buck thirty-one.

Similarly, global numbers were tallied almost the same way. IMB (including LMO) total CP monies received divided by the world’s 6.4B people (minus, of course US & Canada). The 3-4 cents is the result.

No one has to be a numbers’ whiz to see there is something that just does not look kosher here. Since it is so blaring in the global numbers, let’s use it as illustrative of my point.

First, a question: while global evangelism is and will remain a priority for Southern Baptists, who honestly thinks we are presently & strategically targeting all 6.4 billion people on this planet, and if we are not, the only reason is, we have disproportionate amounts in our missions giving between domestic and overseas?

Example: Suppose state conventions took to heart Daniel’s plan and, on average, kept only 30% of what they receive rather than the present 60%. Apparently, at least according to what I hear Daniel saying, this would be fully acceptable.

However, according to Daniel’s own method of calculating, if state conventions kept but 30% rather than 60%, the expenditures on global evangelism would rise from approximately 3-4 cents to approximately 7-8 cents. Does 8 cents per person place us in a position to profess we are much more concerned about global evangelism now that we’re giving 8 cents to reach people rather than 4 cents to reach people outside the US? I’m uncertain how.

But let’s be more aggressive–in fact, so aggressive it’s absurd.

Let’s suppose all Southern Baptist churches gave not 2% of their tithes and offerings to overseas evangelism, not 10%, not even a whopping 50% to global evangelism, as incredible amount as that may be. Let’s say every Southern Baptist Church (43k+) gave 100% of their total income to global evangelism.

Do you know how much we would be spending on missions overseas if Southern Baptists did so?

Let’s use Daniel’s formula and calculate: $10 Billion (roughly what total receipts are for SBs) divided by 6.4B population = $1.56. That’s right. According to Daniel’s scenario, if all Southern Baptist Churches shut down domestic shop and gave all receipts to global evangelism, it would equal approximately a dollar and a half we spent on each person overseas. Sadly, this is probably why some have suggested his plan has a blown fuse and cannot connect with reality.

The fact is, even if the IMB gained another $150m yearly–enough to fund a staggering additional 2,800 missionaries–there is absolutely no reason to believe that all or even most of the additional missionaries would be placed in areas not already being served in someway by other missionaries. It simply doesn’t work that simplistically. Strategy will always precede funds (or it should). And, strategy may dictate placing more missionaries in an area which is soaking up the gospel than sending missionaries elsewhere where no receptivity is available.

Indeed such a scenario remains the precise reason why just because we have no funds for say this couple or that to be commissioned as missionaries to a particular area does not dictate that, if all of a sudden IMB had the monies to send them, it would be them who would be sent. Strategy may call for another missionary elsewhere.

To add CP dollars and divide by the world’s population has to be judged, as Hankins implied, as not connected to what is.

Daniel is to be commended for his passion for evangelism and global outreach. Understanding how the CP works and mission monies are actually allocated and spent is another question altogether.

Grace, Tim. I hope in some small way I assisted your conversation here.

With that, I am…
Peter

Jared

All,

While indulging myself in the posts here I have viewed great arguments for cause and case. However, it seems we have a bit of a tif on our hands, with border line defamation(maybe a harsh word). Is there reason to refute someone in such a way as belittle them, even if you find fault in their statment, sources or not. If we are in fellowship with Christ I think the answer should be no. Sometimes with-holding one’s view on anothers is often the right thing to do especially if that one is going to regret posting their comment. This being said We could take Matthew 18:15-16 to heart here.

Jared

Tim Rogers

Brother Jared,

Thank you for your words. I presume you are referencing something you have seen written. Instead of me going back through all of the comments could you elaborate on your concern? Your challenge for us to return to Matthew 18 seems to point out that you have seen where someone has ought against another. I see a passion and nothing more. Can you help me with exact verbiage and comment #?

Blessings,
Tim

peter

Jared,

Unless I am mistaken, I take it the greatest gulf you indulged on this thread surely involves, at minimum, me. Therefore, I for one take your comment seriously.

Do know to appeal to our Lord’s words in Matthew’s gospel as applicable to a blog thread concerning which engagement and division is not only expected, it is encouraged, seems hardly fair to His divine intention. From my understanding of both blogs and Matthew 18, if were we to consistently apply it, blog threads would cease. Period. Not to mention one would be asking of a text a question it was not intending to answer.

Presuming you may have been alluding to any thing in my contributions on this thread as “border-line defamation (maybe a harsh word)”, I invite you, if so, to spell it out, brother. To my knowledge, the only mistake I made in my exchanges with Daniel was attributing to him as saying “bloated bureaucracies” when he actually said “government bureaucracies,” an attribution for which I immediately and without qualification expressed my sincerest regret.

Further, since, other than Daniel and Tim, I am the only one who logged “sources,” presumably my linking the Florida Baptist and quoting Dr. David Hankins exist on your radar as well. Assuming my source is precisely that toward which you were referring, all I can say is, so be it, Jared.

When it comes to the place when we question whether sources—-not irrelevant sources, not eccentric sources, not questionable sources, but sources easily available and widely, publicly accessible–are to be tapped to both illustrate and substantiate a view–not skewed to illustrate, not exploited to substantiate, but legitimately cited to illustrate and substantiate–…when we come to the place when citing legitimate sources like that is questioned, and such citing (assuming the citing mine) is interpreted as belittling at best and possible defamation at worst, we may be past hope for reparation in the Southern Baptist Convention.

Maranatha. Come Lord.

With that, I am…
Peter

Jared

Wow.

Daniel

Peter, I really appreciate your comments b/c you’ve done a better job than anyone else at showing me the way people may be thinking about my suggestions as they oppose them.

If Brother Rogers will allow it, I will prepare a somewhat lengthy response after the snow here in Raleigh melts. I cannot pass up on a good opporutnity to play with my toddler in such a great snow.

The one point you rightly hint at, is that the law of diminishing returns swallows up my model at some point. I am fully aware of that and have been from the beginning. It isn’t nearly so bad as your analysis suggests however. The 1.31 does not have to be surpassed to achieve greater parity in our missions investments (your spend the whole 10B illustration) – the 1.31 can also decrease. And, we, the churches comprising our conventions (see I do know Baptist polity after all!), can also alter allocations on the SBC side as well. Okay, that’s a preview of a forthcoming longer reply as time permits.

Daniel

Hello to all still reading comments here. I’ve had no opportunity to put fingers to keyboard of late, but I read a blog post this morning that does a good job of putting the current fiscal reality faced by our international missionaries in perspective. You may access it here: http://betweenthetimes.com/2010/02/02/when-words-aren%e2%80%99t-enough-a-report-from-the-field-part-1/

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