If you have any interest in Southern Baptist life then you will remember the campaign throughout 2009 and 2010 called the “Great Commission Resurgence” which was led by a task force who presented a report at the 2010 Annual Meeting. Their final report outlined proposed changes to the Convention that would increase awareness and determination to be a group of churches committed to the Great Commission. I wrote about the somewhat controversial report several times on PhilipMeade.com, including here, here, and here. The report passed at the 2010 meeting and my question today in early 2012 is:
What has happened because of the vote?
I just finished speaking with Steve Thompson, Assistant Executive Director for the Kentucky Baptist Convention, and he was very helpful in answering my questions about the progress of the state and national conventions as it pertains to the GCR report. I had to call him because there is not an internet progress report of any kind concerning the gradual changes happening within our Convention. What I discovered is that the GCR is slowly beginning to have some effect on how the Convention is handling the distribution of finances, but that not enough time has elapsed to see if local churches are motivated by the vote to change their approach to the Cooperative Program. Here is a quick breakdown:
1. The report called for a “reinvention” of NAMB (North American Mission Board) which would ultimately eliminate “Cooperative Agreements” between state conventions and NAMB and would also focus the efforts of NAMB into more of a church-planting entity. This is beginning to happen, although slower than the KBC had originally feared. As of today, there has been a 5% decrease in the Cooperative Agreement format but the majority of the funds received by NAMB are supposed to be used primarily for church-planting strategies.
2. The report called for a clean 50/50 split between state and national conventions. The KBC is one of the leading state conventions to begin this process, bumping their SBC giving from 37% to 42% which was voted on last fall.
3. The report called for the SBC to bump up the percentage given to the IMB by 1%. This is happening in increments of .2%.
4. The biggest aspect of the report, of course, was a call for churches to increase their giving to the CP. This will be the year to tell if the report had any effect on how the local churches will think through their budget.
The KBC is currently in a “More for Christ” campaign which is aimed at increased CP giving. As a pastor for a SBC church, but more importantly as a Christian who desires to see the gospel proclaimed in all the world, I have a strong appreciation for the CP and am committed to see our people gradually increase not just their CP giving, but also their passion for the spreading the Good New of Jesus Christ.
So, the Great Commission Resurgence is still gradually making its mark, but I think the majority of SBC’ers have either forgotten about it, never knew about it, or just no longer care. In typical Baptist fashion, we have worked hard to get something done, but then once it happened, we haven’t done much to keep it in the forefront our thought. Time will tell where we go from here.