Great Commission Resurgence and the Local Rural Church

If you are a Southern Baptist you should go here and read the document that underlies a strong movement within the S.B.C called the Great Commission Resurgence.  At it’s core this movement is about moving Southern Baptists to be singular in it’s purpose of sharing the Gospel.  I am all in on this point.  As of this writing 2226 people have placed their signature on the document.  It has widespread endorsement.

One of the ways that the GCR seeks to streamline our commitment to the Great Commission is by rethinking our current structure.  Admittedly we have waste at all levels of our current structure.  The waste is never intentional and it is not malicious but is waste none the less.  We waste resources in duplication of services.  In many instaces the local association is doing what the State Convention is doing and the state convention is doing what the mission boards were designed to do. . . thus the need to “restructure”.

Please take a moment and read what the G.C.R. has to say about Convention Structure

IX. A Commitment to a More Effective Convention Structure. We call upon all Southern Baptists to rethink our Convention structure and priorities so that we can maximize our energy and resources for the health of our local churches and the fulfilling of the Great Commission. (1 Cor. 10:31)

At the midpoint of the 20th century the Southern Baptist Convention was a denomination characterized by impressive institutions, innovative programs, and strong loyalty from the churches. But the denomination has too often failed to adapt its structure and programs to the changing culture. We are frequently aiming at a culture that went out of existence years ago, failing to understand how mid-20th century methods and strategies are not working in the 21st century.

Some  of our denominational structures at all levels need to be streamlined for  more  faithful  stewardship  of  the funds entrusted to them. We must address  with  courage and action where there is overlap and duplication of ministries,  and  where  poor  stewardship  is present. We are grateful for God’s  gift  of  Cooperative  Program  dollars  to  both state and national entities.  Both  state and national entities must be wise stewards of these funds, and closely examine whether the allocation of Cooperative Program dollars genuinely contributes to Kingdom work or simply maintains the status quo. We are grateful for those churches and state conventions that are seeking to move more  Cooperative  Program  dollars  beyond  their  respective selves, and encourage this movement to continue and increase in the days ahead.

We must take steps toward simplifying our denominational structures in an effort to streamline our structure, clarify our institutional identity, and maximize our resources for Great Commission priorities. We should ask hard questions about every aspect of our Convention structure and priorities and pray for God’s wisdom and blessing as we pursue wise answers to those questions. We must be willing to make needed changes for the good of our churches and the spread of the gospel. We believe that North American church planting, pioneer missions around the globe, and theological education that starts in the seminaries but finds its way to our local churches are three priorities around which Southern Baptists will unite. Our denomination must be restructured at every level to facilitate a more effective pursuit of these priorities.

Question:

What part of our convention structure positively impacts your local rural church the most.  What part of our convention strucure helps your local church fulfull the Great Commission?  Is it the state convention, the local association, or the entities of the S.B.C?  If you had to “streamline” the convention structure. . . how would you do it?  Be polite and constructive in your comments please. I will tell you my opinion later.

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Published in: on May 15, 2009 at 12:12 pm  Comments (5)  

5 Comments

  1. I agree that there needs to be some reorganization and streamlining of the agencies and conventions and associations. I personally would love to see our association do more. Some of that will come with different leadership and quite frankly younger leadership. Same old same old is getting the same old results. I don’t see an impact of any of the agencies in our church. Other than promoting the Easter, Christmas, and State offerings. I don’t see what we are giving coming back around to serve our community.

    This document just seems like good ideas with alot of people agreeing to good ideas. I will be more impressed with action plans and real vision. I think alot of time is wasted discussing and not doing.

    • Christy,
      I believe the local association has the greatest ability to aid the church in an Acts 1:8 strategy. Unfortunately, the association is often underfunded and is sometimes poorly run. I am blessed to serve in an association that works hard to aid our churches in carrying out the Great Commission. Duplication and waste of cooperative program dollars seems to happen when associations, state conventions, and SBC entities do not have clearly defined goals in aiding the local church fulfill her mission.

  2. This is a big and complicated topic. I think it is one that will need to be approached with great openness. I think it will look different in different regions because the context determines so many of the needs. However, I think one principle would be to get many “ministries” back into the hands of the local churches and focus Denom. structures and monies on the coordinating, empowering, and the developing of explicitly gospel missons.

    • Perry,

      As usual you say exactly what I would like to say and you make it sound so good.

  3. My guess is that(in general) most State Conv. will need to downsize. Then, a significant structural change at the Nat’l level. I am thinking it would have to be as major a shift as it was back in the day when we first structured ourselves after GM and others. (Don’t ask me what the best changes would be) However, I don’t think these changes alone will be significant enough. I believe that we will not find the gospel effectiveness that we desire if we do not have a revival of the Association. This revival will look different in different locations. I think the future will have fewer geographically based associations. I see many mergers of existing Assoc. forming more Regionally based Associations. Whatever the look, I don’t see us being a relevant force without the revival of the Associations.


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