The GCR Task Force emphasized that the realization of a GCR rises and falls based upon Pastors and Local Churches. And this is absolutely true for several reasons. First, the local church is THE chosen vehicle by which God is accomplishing His mission in the World. Conventions, though helpful in fostering the mission of the local churches, are not what God has promised the Gates of Hades will not prevail against. Second, our Baptist ecclesiology, which holds the local church as primary, promotes the idea that the headquarters of the SBC are the 40,000+ local churches. And we believe at Baptist21 that this is good and right. We hope this will become more and more the case and the air that is breathed among the churches and SBC partners.
Even though the local church is primary, convention mechanisms can be very helpful resources for the mission of the church. Again in a healthy system, these convention structures can foster the mission of the local church and help us do more together than we can apart (see Post 1 and Post 2 on “Y We R and Y We Think U Should B SBC”). Therefore, it is likely that there will need to be several more phases for a GCR to take root in all levels of our convention structures. Phase2 of the GCR will likely be involvement in the state convention and other local Baptist structures. There is still much to do to make sure our structures foster the advancement of the gospel to underserved and unreached areas. It has been rightly pointed out that too much money stays in areas where there is greater gospel access.
If we are to see more money leave the Deep South, we must be present at state conventions, be a consistent part of the process, vote on budgets, make motions, and more. Make your voice heard. So do something this October/November that may not be as glamorous as going to T4G, the Gospel Coalition conference, or Catalyst, take a day and go to your state convention meeting and vote on budgets and resolutions that reflect your churches priorities. If you are an advocate of the GCR go and vote on things that represent what was called for in the GCR Task Force Report that was adopted in June at the National Convention. Load up a van and take some friends with you. Make this a first step in seeking a GCR in our structures at all levels of SBC life. Let’s work to see the CP updated and restructured to be an even more effective, more strategic way for churches to spend their money for the work of the propagation of the gospel to the ends of the earth. Several state conventions are making significant strides in this direction. These moves are to be applauded. If you want the CP to reflect the priorities of the GCR where you live then a great first step is to go and vote on actual changes at the state convention that will make this a reality. Other measures may need to be taken, but this is a good first step.
As mentioned above, there are several state conventions that are setting examples that may be worthy of emulating. B21 is excited about 2 state conventions that have taken steps to move towards allocations advocated in the GCR report. Florida and Kentucky both formed GCR State Task Forces. Both of these states will vote on moving the state allocations to a 50/50 split of CP giving with the national convention and this a great step forward. It would be an exciting step if all our state conventions would consider this option. Go to your state conventions and push for these steps. The major way this can happen is by electing state convention presidents who will lead the charge. We believe these are some practical steps to see more resources getting to areas of greatest need. Another exciting example is the work of the Nevada Baptists, a frontier state to be sure, but nonetheless they are taking tough and creative steps to put in place structures that reflect the attitude of the GCR. There are several other states considering similar things as well, go and be a part of the change. Our SBC forefathers thought a convention of free churches cooperating together was a good way to pool our resources for the “propagation of the gospel.” Let’s be a part of this process as we hope to see the gospel propagated to the ends of the earth.
I agree with you 100%. We must see our state conventions get on board for the GCR vision to fully take hold. I’m planning on attending the North Carolina convention next week. While we don’t have any earth-shattering business that I know of to address, I’m planning on bringing a resolution from the floor expressing appreciation to the GCR Task Force in hopes that we will have at least some positive sentiment expressed at this year’s annual meeting. (I did submit the resolution, but it was rejected by the committee.)
In order to have a voice, we have to participate.
I just finished up my second term as President of the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana. I know that our state has over the past three years restructured many of our associations away from Director of Missions to state strategists in either church planting or church health. This has freed up more monies for ministry. Also,our survival rate for our new church starts is very healthy now compared to what it used to be.
Our state also has a goal of 50/50 and is increasing the percentage each year. We are currently at, I believe 37.5%, and we were recently told that our state raised their cp giving by percentage more than any other state convention.
I just share this to let you know that Indiana saw the need for restructuring before the GCR came about.
I recently encouraged and challenged our state to “trust” as we walk through these times of change. I based my sermon off of Proverbs 3:5-6.
We need to build trust between brothers and sisters in Christ no matter what our personal opinions may be on the GCR report and the changes to come. But ultimately we must trust in the Lord like never before knowing that none of this took HIm by suprise. Our trust cannot be in an old structure of how we do ministry, our trust cannot be in a new structure that we put in place, and our trust cannot be put in an established “cooperative agreement” with NAMB. Ultimately in the midst of all of this change we need to trust in the Lord with all our heart and lean not on our own understanding. I am excited to see what God is getting ready to do i the SBC for His glory!!!
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