1. Will the GCR Live To Turn Fifteen?

March 31, 2016

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

In 2010, the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force sealed its proceedings for fifteen years—basically the life span of a long range plan—thereby preventing Southern Baptists from viewing the documents that informed the report’s creation. Citing concerns over discreet personnel matters, the materials were classified until 2025. That was six years ago.

Evidence is mounting that the GCR is unraveling. In January, Chuck Kelley, President of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, preached a chapel sermon on the topic, “Is This a Great Commission Regression?” It is a question many of us have been asking for quite some time. Is this really a direction that brings about a brighter future? Or has it set in motion a course that, though well-intentioned, simply does not work?

Missions Giving
Is the push for state conventions to move toward 50/50 splits really turning the tide in our CP giving or does it amount to little more than a trickle? Why are we emphasizing what the state conventions give to the national convention more than we emphasize what the church gives through the state or what the individual gives through the church? Has it really helped our missions giving effort to classify some of our gifts as Great Commission Giving? Or has it made no difference at all?

International Mission Board
Has the GCR resulted in more missions money being given so we can support more missionaries around the globe? Or are we reducing our missions force and drastically redefining the role of the missionary? Is our two percent threshold strategy paying off in advancing the spread of the gospel or are we seeing fewer baptisms on the field as we shift our focus away from the harvest mandate in favor of the frontier mandate?

North American Mission Board
Having reorganized as primarily an urban church planting network, are these church plants doing well? Are they growing and baptizing and seeing people get saved? Are we absolutely certain we are planting these churches in optimal locations? Is it possible the relationship between NAMB and some of our state conventions is as fractured as recent reports indicate?

GCR Evaluation Time
Isn’t it time that Southern Baptists stepped back and took a good hard look at the GCR to see if it has really accomplished what it set out to do? Is it working? Were there unintended consequences? Are we moving forward together? Has the GCR agenda brought about greater unity in the SBC or has it actually intensified deep-seated conflicts still begging to be resolved?

Transparency Agenda Survey Results
In a recent poll of SBC Today readers, we asked Southern Baptists to indicate if they “approved” or “disapproved” of the idea that we “Unveil the Great Commission Task Force proceedings now.” With 143 respondents, 81.82% approved of unveiling the proceedings. Why not give Southern Baptists the information we need to evaluate our Long Range Plan before it is too late?

Question One

This article addresses Item ONE of the Ten Item Transparency Agenda. You may READ the Transparency Agenda or COMPLETE the survey yourself. To read the articles reporting results from the other survey items, see the links below: