We Endorse the CP Resolution From the Louisiana Baptist Convention

The Steering Committee of the SBC Majority Initiative announces that we unanimously endorse the Cooperative Program Resolution as written by the Executive Board of the Louisiana Baptist Convention. Here is the complete text of that resolution:

On Cooperative Giving, Our Common Method For Reaching the Peoples of the World with the Gospel

WHEREAS, these are unprecedented times of globalization, communication, declining Western Civilization, and a great opportunity for sharing the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and shining the light of the Gospel; and

WHEREAS, these times call for an unprecedented level of cooperation to accomplish the goal of bringing the Great Commission message to every people group in Louisiana, North America and the world; and

WHEREAS, the recently adopted Great Commission Resurgence Report adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention was an attempt to refocus the energy, creativity, leadership, institutions and financial resources of Southern Baptist churches and entities on the task of reaching people who have never heard the Gospel; and

WHEREAS, the Southern Baptist Convention’s history includes several decades of churches attempting to resource its national and global mission endeavors independently before discovering a cooperative missional model that has become the envy of the evangelical world, a model that has 1) developed an unprecedented international strategy for reaching generations with the Gospel, 2) leveraged the personnel and financial resources of churches working through their respective state conventions and associations to permeate unreached demographics in North America, 3) created the means by which each state convention determined the most appropriate strategy for coordinated Gospel outreach and collaborative church planting, 4) provided superb theological education for leaders who would lead for generations the convention’s churches and its entities, 5) established a moral and religious liberty lifeboat in the midst of a culture drowning from its wicked choices; and

WHEREAS, the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Orlando, June 15, 2010 voted to adopt the Great Commission Resurgence Report that refined the strategies of the convention but only after the report was amended by a nearly unanimous vote to state unequivocally that Cooperative Program giving is the preferred method for funding the Southern Baptist Convention’s ministries and that designated giving is not a substitute for Cooperative Program giving;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the Louisiana Baptist Convention Executive Board meeting in Woodworth, Louisiana, September 28, 2010 acknowledges the value of concerted, cooperative ministries of our churches to reach the peoples of our state, the nation and the world; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we are concerned about the strength and vitality of our coordinated strategies, ministries and institutions being diminished by the independent model that proved to be a failure decades ago; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we encourage Baptist conventions and boards to select leaders for their entities who have demonstrated strong support for our cooperative missions model; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we want to express our gratitude to Dr. David E. Hankins, executive director-treasurer of the Louisiana Baptist Convention Executive Board, for his courageous expression in his Open Letter to the North American Mission Board Trustees that raised concerns about that entity’s new president whose church leadership reflected a lack of support for cooperative mission giving; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we are grateful for Dr. Hankins and his staff for their public and private advocacy for the Acts 1:8 model of simultaneously reaching the lost in our local areas, the state, the nation and the world through the Cooperative Program; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that we embrace the Cooperative Program model as the most accountable, effective, efficient and compelling method for fulfilling the Great Commission of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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23 Responses to We Endorse the CP Resolution From the Louisiana Baptist Convention

  1. “..become the envy of the evangelical world…”?

    I’ve been in several other evangelical denominations, and never once heard about the SBC’s Cooperative Program, or saw any trace of envy, while there.

    I am all for support of the CP, however. Our church is still at 10% off the top to the CP.

  2. lesliepuryear says:

    Bob,

    Yes, Bob, his statement is true. No other protestant denomination fully funds its foreign missionaries. No other protestant denomination supports so many ministries through the cooperative efforts of all of its churches.

    Les

  3. joe white says:

    Subtract the “further resolved” clause praising Dr. Hankin’s open letter and I really like this resolution. I especially like the second Whereas… “WHEREAS, these times call for an unprecedented level of cooperation to accomplish the goal of bringing the Great Commission message to every people group in Louisiana, North America and the world.”

    I guess my question is this… If the “goal” is to bring the GC to “Louisiana, North America, and the world”… then why does the LBC (and many other state conventions) keep almost 2/3 of all CP gifts in state (1/3 of the goal)? Why must the unreached and underservered also be underfunded? Where in this resolution is it resolved that the LBC is going to take the “unprecedented level of cooperation” and begin to forward on more money to North America and the World?

  4. Greg Alford says:

    Joe… AMEN!!!

    Sounds to me like these men are more interested in “Protecting their own turf” than any “unprecedented level of cooperation”.

    Grace Always,

  5. lesliepuryear says:

    Joe,

    I guess the same question can be asked of why do we give $43.8M to seminaries who have the capability of being self-sustaining organizations. If you’re serious about getting more money to missions, let the seminaries reduce the money they get from CP and add to what IMB and NAMB gets. I don’t hear you calling for that to happen.

    The only funding state conventions receive is from CP and state offerings. Seminaries can generate their own income; state conventions cannot.

    I, for one, am not willing to sacrifice the great work our state conventions are doing to reach the lost in their states while seminaries can and should have adjustments made to what they receive from CP.

    Les

  6. Bart Barber says:

    Les,

    The seminary cuts sound like a good idea…to people whose days of paying seminary tuition are behind them.

  7. Jon says:

    It does seem that the state conventions are being looked at as lumbering dinosaurs. It is very possible that the SBC as a whole has this problem but the only solution given is for the local church to give more money and have a lesser voice.

    I will not lead the church I pastor in this direction. The time has come for the national convention to begin to appreciate the local church for more than the sacrificial money we give. If things keep on the path they are going I wonder if the CP will be great commission effective. Not because of the CP and its design but because of the lack of cooperation among SB’s beyond the dollar.

  8. lesliepuryear says:

    Bart,

    If we’re going to cut fat to get more money for missions, why should the seminaries be exempt?

    Les

  9. Les,

    Let’s say we cut out all support for seminaries. What would that do to enrollment?

    I believe you already have the testimony of a student there.

    If enrollment takes a hit, what does that do to income? What would that do to staff and faculty?

    A simple examination of the laws of demand would indicate what you’d propose there would be fatal to our seminary system.

    Did you attend an SBC seminary?

    • lesliepuryear says:

      Bob,

      Yes, I graduated from Southwestern Seminary in Ft. Worth, TX.

      You’re a business man and I think you understand how to run a business in a manner in which it will be profitable. I agree that if seminaries are continued to be run as they are today, they will fail. But can they make cutbacks and gain greater economies of scale? Yes, I think so.

      The SBC is asking the state conventions to cutback drastically. Why should the seminaries be exempt?

      Personally, I think this would be good for our seminaries. According to the 2010 Book of Reports, every seminary lost money in 2009 except two: Golden Gate and New Orleans. Midwestern lost $229K, Southeastern lost $5.4M, Southern lost $13M, and Southwestern lost $33M.

      I think it’s time to take a good long look at how our seminaries are run and how they can be better run from a business perspective. It appears that academicians are not very successful in running a profitable enterprise.

      Les

  10. Greg Alford says:

    In the Southern Baptist Convention… Who is task with the “Great Commission Responsibility” of training and preparing the next generation of Southern Baptist Pastors, Evangelist, Missionaries, and Church Planters? I think the answer here is our seminaries and not the state conventions.

    If ask to choose between supporting our seminaries or the state conventions… I am confident that the “Majority” of our SBC churches value the work of our seminaries in fulfilling the “Great Commission” and will choose accordingly.

    Grace Always,

  11. Greg Alford says:

    Here’s the bottom line… The State Associations were once a necessity, but in the modern age “Middle Management” in almost all organizations has become obsolete… and the truth is; there is absolutely nothing that the state conventions are currently doing that could not be more effectively divided up and done by our Local Associations, the IMB, and NAMB.

  12. Howell Scott says:

    What this comment stream clearly indicates is the two completely different languages that are being spoken right now in the SBC. We have group who speaks about CP in terms of “business models,” “middle management,” and “opportunity cost choices.” They see State Conventions as “bloated bureaucracies” that simply need to get out of the way so we can be more effective at fulfulling the Great Commission.

    Let me ask folks here a question that was posed to one of the establishment leaders back over the summer: “What part of the Great Commission do you not believe in? Now of course, this leader was taken aback and got all huffy when the question was asked. Last I checked my Bible, there was not only Matthew 28:18-20 but also Acts 1:8, which talks about the importance of sharing the Gospel starting in your own backyard and then moving out to the “ends of the earth.” But, even if you only look at Matthew 28, the Great Commission not only includes evangelism, but discipleship as well.

    If you think that a more centralized, controlling national SBC can do a better job without the State Conventions, then you also probably think that the current federal government in Washington, D.C. is doing a stellar job. Give more money to an increasingly out-of-touch ruling class within the SBC? Not a chance! If you understand what I just wrote, then we are speaking the same language. God bless,

    Howell

    • Greg Alford says:

      Howell, Someone in leadership got all huffy when you ask them “What part of the Great Commission do you not believe in?” For the life of me I can’t imagine why anyone would have been offended by your intentional offensive question (Sarcasm intended!)

      So what you are saying is that State Conventions are a “necessity” in fulfilling the Great Commission? Really? I wonder if all those denominations, or the multitude of “Baptist Churches” who do not cooperate with the SBC, know they are not being faithful to the Great Commission by not giving their missions dollars to your State Conventions?

      • Howell Scott says:

        Greg,

        If you go back and read my comment carefully, you will notice that I did not say that “I” posed the question to the leader about what part of the Great Commission that he didn’t believe in. In the current world of SBC life and politics, a no-name pastor from NM wouldn’t be given the time of day by one of the establishment leaders. The question was posed by someone of equal stature. And, no, it wasn’t intentionally offensive, but it drove home the point to a person that did not want to be confronted with opposing facts.

        Are State Conventions necessary? Is the SBC necessary? But I would say they are mighty effective, although obviously not perfect. If I didn’t think that the SBC was the most effective way to partner together for the sake of the Gospel, then I wouldn’t be Southern Baptist. Thanks and God bless,

        Howell

  13. I am convinced the State Associations are the first line of help for the local church in fulfilling the Commission. I’ve told our State Director that, if the cuts in the “joint venture” funding affect the state’s ability to do that, then they’ll have to reduce the %age that goes to the SBC, and continue to do for local churches and local associations what needs to be done for them, here where they are.

  14. Oh, we’re against lots of things we’re for.

    🙂

  15. Doug Hibbard says:

    I’ll share my opinion on this:

    If I call, and have called, NAMB and ask for help about issues facing the small church I serve in a small, rural town, NAMB sends me a few brochures, a list of conferences to attend, and a book list to pick one or two from.

    If I call a seminary, they ask me to pack up and move, come get another degree, buy some books, attend a conference.

    If I call the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, somebody with experience with small, rural, tradition filled churches will talk to me at length, and if I need a live person present to help, they will come, talk, pray, preach, train, whatsoever we need to help us address the issue, whether it be small groups, children’s groups, youth, Sunday School, or planning a mission trip. As the solo pastor who knows that this church has to reach beyond itself, this is the help that will strengthen this church, that helps strengthen many churches like it, and keeps feeding missionaries to IMB and NAMB, preachers-in-training to seminaries, and funds to help with all of the above.

    So, whether I’m trying to help my church see the need to reach the nations or organize them to do so, there’s lot more help from the “bloated middle-management bureaucracy” than from the agile national boards. The local association? The small number of small churches can’t even support 1 full-time associational worker down here. Unless we pooled all the money that currently goes CP and LMCO, AAEO, and State Missions Offering, and split it about 50/50 between national and associational. But then, only 25% would go IMB, so there would be no improvement over the current situation (when you take the designated into account). It’s a wash, and by pooling resources, there’s more the state can do than the associations, because of a broader resource base.

    It’s the same basic principle all the way around: IMB is able to more stably fund missions than one single church, because they have the broad resources from 40,000 churches. Same with NAMB. Our state has about 1500 churches, and that helps them be stable in support of the local churches. While NAMB can tackle nation-wide strategy because of the broad base, there’s too many individual churches for them to provide specific help to. A state can offer that, but can’t quite offer a national strategy.

    There is a place and a value for all the levels of SBC organizations. After all, the lost are everywhere, some of them in our church pews, some next door to us, some down the street, some across this river, some across that line, and some over that ocean.

    And it’s not helping that we’re beginning to entrench on this issue. No lost person is worthy any less than the Blood of Christ, so each one is worth our effort to present the Gospel. We should be bludgeoning one another over whose heart for the lost or for the Great Commission is greater, simply over geography. And the sarcasm, even mine above, isn’t really helping, is it? Neither is the name-calling or generalizations about everyone: whether it be the “bloated” tag or labeling people as “only concerned about their jobs” or “neglectful of their own neighbors” or “SBC Elite.” There might be some validity in these claims, but they’re not as universally valid as we use them.

    Anyway, tomorrow, I will lead my church as we remember, again, the price paid for our sin. We’ll remind ourselves that the Blood is enough, and that the world needs to hear. We’ll notice the empty seats in the room, and we’ll also pause to recall those whose blood has paid for the existence of their churches, and this entire debate will fade, a whole lot. Ultimately, follow Scripture: be prudent stewards of God’s resources and spread the Gospel everywhere you are, and everywhere you can find someone to support that’s spreading the Gospel, do it. Otherwise, people will go to hell. Shouldn’t that be enough to drive us to our best, whatever it may be? To focus on what we can do, rather than on what other people aren’t doing?

    Sorry, it’s late. Fill in the blanks on that sermon, and if the shoe fits, wear it.

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