This topic has been written about before by people with actual readership, but I want to make my voice known because I have had this conversation with a few pastors, and we are basically all in agreement. To the Great Commission Resurgence task force –
First of all, I realize that you are not charged with making the entire SBC become more great commission oriented. In fact due to the structure of our denomination, churches are not subject to anything that you actually declare. I also know that if there is to be a great commission resurgence in our denomination, it must be brought about by individuals in individual churches.
Next, I am praying for you. and Dr. Hunt. I hope that God directs your committee to truly affect the kingdom with your decisions. I hope that the convention in Orlando is as amenable toward your work as the Louisville convention was toward your appointment.
As I understand it, you are charged with evaluating our convention structure with the goal of determining whether or not we are optimally organized to carry out the great commission. I am on board with whatever you may choose to do. If you explain your position I would be willing to hear reasons for combining our mission organizations (although I believe it’s not a particularly good idea), or for renaming our convention, or for any number of other suggestions I just haven’t thought of yet. I truly hope that state conventions, local associations and churches are agreeable with whatever recommendations that the annual convention in Orlando passes.
There is one exception to my previous paragraph. I will never be able to consider currently non-cooperative program missions giving as cooperative program giving. Planting a church, co-sponsoring a church plant, sending an individual missionary, or digging a well in Bihar India are all great things and need to be done, but those things should never be considered cooperative program dollars because they are not cooperative. I cannot even think of another way to say that. The SBC is, by and large, a convention of small churches. The cooperative program is the only way that our small churches can have the sending power that we have. If we allow other giving to count as CP giving then we take the “cooperative” (and the strength) out of the cooperative program. In that case we might as well be independent Baptists.
Also, designated money is not cooperative program money. If money is given with the purpose of doing an end-around of the executive committee or leaving out a seminary or one of our agencies, then it is not cooperative program money. The reason for the efficiency of the IMB and NAMB is the coordination of all our agencies, Lifeway and Guidestone included. Maybe you will determine that the sending organizations are not efficient. Imagine how much worse it would be if everyone designated their offerings.
For simplicity, let me summarize my position. I support the work of the GCR task force and will prayerfully consider any recommendation you make. However, I will not be able to support considering independent mission giving to be cooperative program giving.
I welcome any comments. However, I am currently at M-fuge so it may take me a few days to get them moderated.