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.