Church Webservants

If you’re interested in a church website, please consider Church Webservants as your provider. Charlie Waller is the person behind this enterprise. I’ve known him for several years. He’s served as a Southern Baptist pastor and wants to serve small churches with affordable websites. Give him a try for your website.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Candidates For Phoenix?

We’ve heard that current SBC President, Bryant Wright, is up for reelection in Phoenix and he will be nominated by David Platt of Alabama. Personally, I see no reason for SBCMI to run a candidate against him. It is customary that a first-term president will be elected for a second term. I see no reason to think it will be any different for President Wright. Besides, he has been as benign of a president as we have had in a long time, so it looks like it won’t hurt anything if he is reelected.

1st and 2nd VP are another story. We may want to run candidates for those positions. At this point, I don’t have any thoughts on who might run to represent SBCMI. Do you have any suggestions?

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I was asked this question the other day and not for the first time since the discussion surrounding GCR began.

If the SBC entities were to disappear, would the local Southern Baptist church notice?

Posted in Cooperative Program, LifeWay, NAMB, SBC, SBC Boards & Committees, SBC Majority Initiative, SBC NAMB, Small Church | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Of Small Churches and Rabbits

The Rabbit and The Elephant: Why Small is the New Big for Today’s Church shares an interesting analogy about church planting. This analogy points out that if one were to put two elephants in a room, it would take up to three years for them to reproduce whereas if you put two rabbits in the same room, it would be overflowing with rabbits very soon.

It is crucial now in this postmodern society for us to reproduce as quickly as possible. Small churches working together can make a difference. It is churches that start churches. For GCR to succeed, it is up to the small churches to work together to start new churches. We must multiply like rabbits and not elephants to reach the world.

Posted in Cooperative Program, NAMB, SBC, SBC NAMB, Small Church | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Externalizing the Problem

Southern Baptist Convention

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There is a technique in marital and family counseling for the members to identify the problem and separate the problem from the individuals. This is a technique known as “externalization” and is popular with narrative therapy. In the case with Great Commission Resurgence in the Southern Baptist Convention, there is a need to externalize the problem. In therapy, the problem once identified is addressed. The problem is the problem.

In GCR, there is a need to identify the problem. The problem is apathy. There is an apathy about personal evangelism and missions. There is apathy about the reality of Hell. There are other areas where apathy has infected. Until we address this issue, we cannot move forward. As we move into 2011, let us make the resolution to attack the problem and not people.

Posted in Cooperative Program, Revitalization, SBC | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

NAMB Has a Dialogue With Small Church Leaders

Here’s an article on the meeting.  I was pleased to be a part of this dialogue. We were very honest and transparent about our issues and the NAMB staff was very sympathetic and helpful. One of the main concerns was whether the NAMB people around the table would still be there in 2011. If not, then we just wasted two days of dialogue. We’ll see what happens.

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As NAMB goes, so goes the Southern Baptist Convention

NAMB goes, so goes the Southern Baptist Convention.

This statement is more true now than ever with Kevin Ezell as NAMB President. I have had the opportunity to hear Dr. Carlisle Driggers, retired Executive Director for the South Carolina Baptist Convention speak to this issue on several occasions. Our history as a convention has shown that it is NAMB which is the engine.

Read the rest via NAMB goes, so goes the Southern Baptist Convention from Baptist Talk.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Gloom, Despair, and Agony

It seems all the news about state conventions is gloom, despair, and agony. In North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, for instance, cutbacks are being made in budgets and staff. The Biblical Recorder reports of NC Baptists cutting their budget by $2.1 million which will be the smallest budget for them since 1999. Meanwhile, the Christian Index reports that the Georgia Baptist Convention has cut its budget by over $1 million to reduce it to 2000 levels. In South Carolina, the budget has been reduced by 8%. If this budget is approved, it will mark the first time since 1970 that the budget has been reduced in two consecutive years. All three state conventions are reporting staff reductions and reassignment to deal with the reduction in receipts.

As each of these articles point out, giving to the Cooperative Program has declined not only in gross dollars but also percentage of giving. Fewer churches are giving 10% or more to the Cooperative Program. Careful research will reveal that this decline did not begin during the current economic recession but was already occurring before 2006.

For small churches, the Cooperative Program has been the most effective vehicle for funding missional activities around the world. Whereas many small churches would find it difficult if not impossible to fund one missionary, in cooperation with other churches, missions are carried out. Also, the Cooperative Program funds the institutions which support the local church. It is the genius of our forefathers who had the vision to move from societal giving to the Cooperative program. The old model resulted in an inequity in the distribution of funds as those institutions with more persuasive speakers or wealthy patrons received more money. The Cooperative Program sought to redress this issue and while it is not perfect, it has been a reliable workhorse.

While budget cuts and staff reductions will help, they are only a short-term solution to a long-term problem. The downward trend of giving must be corrected at the local level. There must be a return to biblical stewardship by individuals. Tithing must be preached and taught in churches as a matter of discipleship. Then the local church must give more to the Cooperative Program. If this does not occur, a day will come in which the Convention will not be able to fund the International Mission Board much less any other institution at any level. That would be a day of gloom, despair, and agony.

Posted in SBC, Small Church | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

FREE Trip to Israel for TWO Small Church Pastors!

My friend, Micah Fries, is leading his church, Frederick Boulevard Baptist Church in St. Joseph, MO, on a tour of Israel in February (Feb. 14-22, 2011…to be exact).  They are giving away two trips to two pastors of churches averaging 250 or less in attendance… small church pastors.  What an incredible opportunity!!!

To ‘put your name in the hat,’ follow this link to Micah’s post which will then link you to the registration page.  Registration closes tomorrow night (Oct 15).

Sola Gratia!

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The Meaning of Cooperation

Robert Reeves, director of communications for the Kentucky Baptist Convention, has written a wonderful post entitled, “The Meaning of Cooperation.” I recommend it to you. Here’s an excerpt:

I think one of the discussion points at the forefront today does have the potential of bringing the Cooperative Program to an end if the view becomes pervasive in our churches. Essentially, this view, which has been espoused by some whose churches give relatively little to support missions through the Cooperative Program, is that a church should eliminate or decrease its CP giving if it disagrees with the allocation of the funds.

On the surface, this makes sense. We live in a very consumer-oriented society and we constantly make decisions based on our own personal tastes, preferences and passions. If a new restaurant doesn’t deliver the food to our taste, we don’t go back. If we prefer red over blue, we select red products. If our passion is cars or travel or clothes, we allocate our personal resources accordingly. As long as we have our spiritual priorities in order and are being good stewards of our resources, there’s nothing wrong with making these choices.

The problem comes, however, when we try to apply the same “me” oriented approach to a “we” oriented system like the Cooperative Program.

The genius of the Cooperative Program has always been that we, as Southern Baptists, have essentially agreed that we would work “cooperatively” to fund the missions and ministries that we have decided collectively are worthy of support. CP was never established to support only one thing. It was always intended to be a way of investing in a multitude of causes on the state, national and international levels. The number of different ministries we support through CP has long been a source of pride for most Southern Baptists.

I’m definitely concerned when individuals or churches take the approach that if CP funds are not allocated “my way,” I will not fully participate. It sends the message that they somehow know better than anyone else and flies in the face of the cooperative spirit. (This is especially concerning when these individuals or churches have never tried to participate in the process and make their voices heard. It’s kind of the denominational equivalent of the church member who gets upset with the pastor and stops giving without having ever shared his concerns in an appropriate way.)

Posted in Cooperative Program | 8 Comments