Restructure Will Not Bring About Revival

Eric Moffett is the current 2nd VP of the SBC. Brother Eric is a small church pastor in Arkansas and he is also a SBC Majority Initiative supporter. Today, with brother Eric’s approval, we excerpt a portion of his recent blog post entitled, “Back To the Original Question.” We recommend Eric’s blog to you and this post specifically.

There are many aspects of the GCR that I rejoice about, despite my sincere disagreements concerning some of the recommendations. I rejoice about the specific calls given to churches and leaders concerning revival, Great Commission awareness and denominational service. I rejoice with the concern for reaching the nations with the gospel. I rejoice with the renewed effort to utilize the tools of Southern Baptists. Yet, I fear, we are giving into the belief that structure and policy change will somehow bring renewal to the work of Southern Baptists.

Changing the structure of convention work, removing the cooperative agreements, reducing staff at NAMB and changing CP percentages will never bring revival. We can streamline, shake up and move around the entire Southern Baptist Convention and still Great Commission fulfillment will not be guaranteed. We need to make sure, as things in our convention begin to change, that we do not rely on organization re-structuring to bring the presence of Holy Spirit. The weight of the Great Commission rests in the presence of each local church.

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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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B-52’s and the Cooperative Program

A B-52H from Barksdale AFB flying over the desert

The B-52 Stratofortress is an amazing aircraft. It has been in active service with the United States Air Force since 1955. In spite of technological advances since its introduction, it has been found to be a durable workhorse with a large payload. The plans now are to keep it in active service till 2040 which will mean it will have a service life of over 80 years when it is retired.

The Cooperative Program has been a reliable means of funding the missions of the Southern Baptist Convention since 1925. Like the B-52, it is still effective. It is the way small churches are able to pull together and use their resources to further the Kingdom of God. Before 1925, institutions and ministry partners had to rely on societies of benefactors and speakers for funding. Pastors tired of the traveling speakers who would show up before Sunday morning services to ask for permission to speak. Also, it created an imbalance in the funding of institutions.

David E. Hankins, Executive Director of the Louisiana Baptist Convention as well as the Louisiana Baptist Convention Executive Board overwhelmingly affirmed their support of the Cooperative Program in a resolution on September 28, 2010. The Baptist Press has an article with the full details. A former SBC president came to White Oak this past year and reminded everyone present that “every dollar matters”. That is true. Every dollar matters and every dollar given to the Cooperative Program is the most effective means of funding the Convention well into this century. Where there is a vision for missions, the dollars will follow. As it was reported back in 2006:

The recommendation revisions to be presented to the Executive Committee will continue to encourage Southern Baptist churches to increase the percentage of undesignated receipts given through the Cooperative Program.

Now is the time to increase the percentage of undesignated receipts, not reduce it or dismantle it.

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How To Get $43.8M More to IMB in the Cooperative Program Allocations

There has been much discussion in the past year about the place of the Cooperative Program in the life of the local church and the recipient SBC institutions. Some want to do away with the CP and go to designated giving completely, others want to reduce the percentages received by state conventions, and others want to adjust the allocations of the Cooperative Program. All of this talk has been presnted as being in the interest of getting more money to IMB to fund more missionaries.

In all of the discussion about the Cooperative Program, it seems to me that one of the most obvious suggestions for adjusting CP and getting more money to IMB has been overlooked. The SBC has taken the position that its institutions that receive income from its customers will not receive supplemental funding from CP. This is the reason that Lifeway and Guidestone do not receive CP funding. They generate their own income. This makes a lot of sense to me and I think we ought to adjust our CP allocations to support those SBC entities that do not have the capability to become self-sustaining.

Currently, the CP allocations are as follows:

The entities that are part of the CP allocations that do not have the ability to be self-sustaining are the missions boards, the library and archives, ERLC, and the Executive Committee. In order for those to continue to exist, supplemental funding from CP will be necessary.

But what about our seminaries? Is it possible that they could be self-sustaining entities? They certainly receive income outside of CP through tuition, dorm rentals, book sales, alumni endowments, etc. Outside of our mission boards, seminaries take up the highest percentage of CP allocations (21.92%), which equates to $43,801,003 (2010-2011 budget).

How many IMB missionaries could be funded with $43.8M? Assuming it costs IMB $50K per missionary per year, then $43.8M would provide for 876 additonal IMB missionaries. With the reallocation of the seminaries funding to IMB, that would raise the percentage of IMB allocation from 50% to 71.92%. Then, our total CP allocations for missions would increase from 72.79% to 94.71%.

I don’t think we should remove the seminaries from the CP immediately. Perhaps a five-year time frame which reduces the CP percentages to the seminaries could be undertaken. That way they would have time to adjust their budgets and marketing strategies accordingly.

SBC seminaries have the capability to produce enough income to be self-sustaining entities like Lifeway and Guidestone. With the implementation of this proposal, the majority of CP funds will be going to SBC missions. What do you think?

Posted in Cooperative Program | 19 Comments

The Dismantling of the Southern Baptist Convention: Part 4

The chairperson of the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force, Ronnie Floyd, has decided to remove “baptist” from the name of his church. Personally, I find this action from an alleged leader of the SBC to be extremely poor leadership. Yes, Floyd’s church is autonomous and they can do whatever they wish, including removing the word “baptist” from their name. However, if someone is ashamed of the name “baptist,” then I think that he nor his church members have no business being appointed to SBC boards and task forces.

It would be nice to see SBC leaders who actually lead and not just jump on a fad bandwagon.

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SBC EC Rejects My Motion

This news item in the Biblical Recorder sums up my feelings on this very well. Looks like it’s time to take this issue to the convention for a floor vote.

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The Dismantling of the Southern Baptist Convention: Part 3

The new SBC leaders are trying to move our convention away from a cooperative giving model to a societal giving model. No matter how much they say they support cooperative giving, their actions speak much louder than their words. For example, we have not had more than two SBC Presidents in the 21st century whose church has given more than 3% to the Cooperative Program.

Here’s an article that details the coming demise of the Cooperative Program. More to come.

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The Dismantling of the Southern Baptist Convention: Part 2

Bryant Wright, SBC President on the Cooperative Program:

We just want a majority of our denominational missions funding to go to international missions. We would prefer to give all our denominational missions support through the Cooperative Program. But until there is a radical reprioritization of Cooperative Program, we feel led to continue doing what we are doing. Source

Whether a church gives to denominational missions through the Cooperative Program, which is our primary means of missions giving, or gives directly through the Executive Committee in Nashville for our seminaries and NAMB and the IMB, or gives directly to the IMB, we are all participating in global missions together. Source

As I’ve stated before, my conviction is that at least 50 percent of CP dollars given by the local churches needs to end up on the international mission field. Obviously, this would mean a radical reprioritization of the CP funds, with fewer dollars staying in the states. My proposal was that each state strive to keep no more than 25-30 percent. But the actual amount would be the states’ decisions, with the goal being 50 percent of their CP funds getting to the international mission field. Source.

More to come.

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The Dismantling of the Southern Baptist Convention: Part 1

As an old cartoon hero once said, “We have met the enemy and he is us.” To me, it has become obvious that there is a concerted effort among SBC leaders to dismantle the SBC as we know it and reshape it in their own image. From time to time, I will bring to your attention articles which demonstrate this strategy of dismantling the SBC.

The first article you should be aware of is entitled “Heroes & Villains In The SBC,” by Pastor Howell Scott. More to come.

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A Proposal For Offsite SBC Annual Meeting Attendance

In the past couple of years, some people have been promoting the idea of the SBC allowing offsite attendance to our Annual Meeting. I think the time has come for this idea to be tested.

The Annual Meeting is already streamed live over the Internet, so I see no reason why offsite attendance of the meeting should not be a viable concept. In this time of an unstable economy and available technology, it only makes sense that offsite attendance be the next step.

How could this be accomplished in a way that would be beneficial and secure to the SBC and its churches? Allow me to make a few suggestions:

Set up regional locations for offsite annual meeting attendance. An offsite annual meeting location could be established in each state or even in multiple sites by state. These sites would show the streaming Internet feed on an overhead screen for larger venues or a big-screen TV for smaller venues. State convention personnel or church volunteers could oversee the site. Offsite attendees would register online the same way the onsite attendees do. Offsite attendees would receive the same packet that onsite attendees receive. Offsite attendees would be able to participate in ballot voting. The offsite ballots would be collected at the same time of the onsite ballots. The count of the offsite ballots can then be relayed to the onsite ballot counters and added to the overall total. New business which comes before the convention that originates from a task force or study group appointed by SBC leaders would automatically be voted upon by ballot so offsite votes could be included.

Things that offsite attendees would not be able to do is address the  convention, nor participate in non-ballot voting.

I believe if the SBC implements this proposal, we will have much more participation in the Annual Meeting, especially by the majority of SBC churches, those with less than 200 attendees in Sunday morning worship. With more participation comes a more comprehensive understanding of what the SBC as a whole really wants to do on specific issues.

I submit that a perfect time for testing offsite Annual Meeting attendance is for our next Annual Meeting, scheduled for Phoenix, Arizona on June 14-15, 2011. We have enough time to organize offsite locations around the country prior to our next meeting.

What do you think about this proposal for offsite SBC Annual Meeting attendance?

Posted in SBC Annual Meeting | 4 Comments