The Great Commission Resurgence: Hard Questions for the Southern Baptist Convention
Note: This post is for Southern Baptist’s, who like myself have signed our names to The Great Commission Resurgence commitments. These questions were developed in conversation with a few younger Southern Baptist pastors.
I usually stay away from writing on denominational issues. I think we Southern Baptist talk among ourselves enough, but I could not resist on this one. I am excited about the potential of a Great Commission Resurgence in the SBC.
We as Southern Baptist’s should always be willing to examine ourselves as a denomination. I agree and pray that the “Great Commission Resurgence” commitment should serve as the next step in the renewal of our denomination. But I have my worries.
1. In all honesty, I have concerns about our denomination as a whole. I have concerns when I consider our annual meetings; which seem to have very little participation from my generation. Is the annual meeting attendance a marker for denominational participation among younger Southern Baptists?
2. I have concerns about the allocation of our money through the Cooperative Program. How much of our money actually reaches our field workers?
3. Many Christian thinkers today are noticing the dramatic shifts taking place in culture concerning technology, social structures, community, and ideas. Obviously this has effects on “how” we do ministry. What ministries is our Cooperative Program funding, and are these ministries even effective in growing mature disciples of Christ?
4. I agree with the statement that “in order for the SBC to fulfill the Great Commission we must streamline current SBC structures.”
Is it possible that some of the SBC’s infrastructures must be completely abandoned? If so, would that mean we need to consider different approaches to cooperation among SBC churches?
5. In the statement concerning our “Commitment to Gospel-Centeredness” it is written that “Gospel-centered living will help ensure that the bloody cross of a crucified King is the offense to non-believers rather than our styles, traditions, legalisms, moralisms, personal preferences, or unhelpful attitudes.”
Take a minute to consider the “styles, traditions, legalisms, moralisms, personal preferences, and unhelpful attitudes” of the SBC.
Are we willing to be open for critique when it comes to our “styles, traditions, legalisms, moralisms, personal preferences” in the Southern Baptist Convention and make necessary changes?
As a convention we have passed some pretty embarrassing and legalistic resolutions that do nothing but cause a hindrance to the gospel of Jesus Christ going forward. To those outside the SBC we are more known for what we are against. Seriously, creating legalistic resolutions does nothing to draw people towards Christ, or create mature Christ followers. (Read Galatians)
6. I am grateful for our Southern Baptist Convention and what we stand for today. Obviously there are things that I believe we need to keep in check, which would be the case in every denomination. But here is my fear;
It would seem like many of the younger Southern Baptist’s are loosing confidence in our denomination and aligning with other associations because they are frustrated with the ‘bureaucracy’ of the SBC.
Let’s suppose that the SBC keeps moving forward and everything remains “as is.”
If we do not adopt, implement, and perpetuate a Great Commission mindset what will the SBC look like in 20 years?
I signed the Great Commission Resurgence commitment because I agree with what the document affirms. But, in order for these things to come about- we need to consider and answer the hard questions.