Published April 8, 2010
I appreciate the hard work of the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force. The reason all Southern Baptists should prayerfully consider these proposals is because they can have unintended negative consequences. There are recommendations for some areas I am not familiar with where I will trust the work of the task force. There are others where I have some knowledge.
First, the task force calls for the establishment of the term “Great Commission Giving.” I am concerned [this term] will be placed beside Cooperative Program Giving in a competitive way, then churches could designate giving to one while by-passing or ignoring the other.
This would significantly hinder, over time, the total Convention work supported through the Cooperative Program. Further, our Convention will be greatly harmed if Great Commission Giving is ever used to determine one’s financial commitment to the Cooperative Program.
Another concern regards the changes proposed for NAMB. While I am not ready to say that reorganizing into seven regional offices will or will not better serve Southern Baptists in efficiency and effectiveness, I do question the wisdom of assigning IMB the responsibility of reaching people groups here in North America.
Reaching people groups in our homeland will be different than reaching the same people groups in other parts of the world. It seems at least a reasonable possibility that assigning the IMB the responsibility for reaching people groups here at home would distort their focus and result in IMB being less effective.
Why not charge NAMB with the responsibility to reach North America? If we are trying to make
NAMB more regional (smaller is better), then why make the IMB larger by adding North America to their charge?
I am confident we could find in every SBC agency changes that could be made to be more effective, but it appears that the focus of the task force was primarily the Executive Committee and NAMB. Can IMB improve in reaching people groups outside of North America? How can our seminaries be better utilized to reach our world for Christ?
After all is said and done we must realize that these proposed changes will not likely alter the current decline in our baptisms. While we need to evaluate and strive for the best structure and administrative procedures possible, I am convinced these types of changes will not bring back the anointing of God upon our churches and Convention.
Hopefully, the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force will ask this question: Do our agency heads and SBC leadership now work together in harmony? Or have we, as Southern Baptists, become disjointed and busy building our individual kingdoms to the detriment of building the wider Kingdom of God?
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