GCR, retiring leaders among SBC highlights

ORLANDO, Fla.?Following a year of give and take over the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force ideas and recommendations, and two hours of reporting and floor debate on June 15, GCRTF chairman Ronnie Floyd took a page from 115 years ago when the Southern Baptist Convention was formed.

“There was a lot of emphasis, way too much emphasis on the division that occurred between the North and the South. In fact, they made the following statement, ‘Let not the extent of this disunion be exaggerated. Northern and Southern Baptists are still brothers. They differ in no article of faith. They are guided by the same principles of gospel order.'”

Similarly, Floyd said, “The differences between those who supported the Great Commission Resurgence report and recommendations and those who did not should not be exaggerated. We are still brothers and sisters in Christ. We differ on no article of faith. We are guided by our shared commitment to the gospel itself and to the articles of faith identified in the Baptist Faith & Message 2000.”

Messengers cheered as Floyd concluded, “The Southern Baptist Convention is a convention of churches that is committed to a missional vision of presenting the gospel of Jesus Christ to every person in the world and to make disciples of all the nations. We are a Great Commission people.”

Passed by an estimated 75-80 percent of the messengers, the recommendations now move to the affected entities to consider how to carry out the will of the messengers. Their response and recommendations will be reported to next year’s annual meeting in Phoenix for further action.

Meanwhile, individual Christians, local churches, associations, state conventions and specific SBC entities are encouraged to receive the challenges that close out the report “for greater passion and effectiveness in pursuing the Great Commission.” (The complete report is available at pray4GCR.com.).

RETIRING ENTITY HEADS

Messengers approved resolutions of appreciation were honoring Executive Committee President Morris H. Chapman, who will retire Sept. 30 after 18 years in the position, and International Mission Board President Jerry Rankin, who will retire at the end of July after 17 years in that role.

SMALL CHURCH, BIG SPLASH

A church with 103 members and an average 30-year Cooperative Program giving rate of 32.78 percent received the M.E. Dodd Award. First Baptist Church in Sparkman, Ark., which averages 60 to 75 people for worship on Sundays, was recognized for “continuous, long-term excellence in supporting the principles, practice and spirit of the Cooperative Program.”

“We believe that even though we’re a small church from a tiny community, with every dollar that we give we’re able to partner with missionaries and denominational servants all over the world,” Moffett said. “To us, that’s a joy and an investment. Our church would have it no other way, and we give God the glory and honor for the chance he gives us to partner with the work of God’s kingdom all throughout this wonderful convention.”

CP ALLOCATION BUDGET

Southern Baptists tightened the Cooperative Program belt once more to keep expenditures for missions and ministry in line with a downward trend in undesignated receipts channeled through the 42 state Baptist conventions from just over 45,010 local churches.

The 2010-’11 Cooperative Program Allocation budget of $199,822,090 was approved without discussion and continues to commit half of CP receipts to the International Mission Board and 22.79 percent for the North American Mission Board. Through the two mission boards, Southern Baptists will commit $145.45 million for world mission ministries in the next fiscal year. The six Southern Baptist seminaries will divide $44.3 million for theological education and $3.4 million goes to ethics and religious liberty concerns, assuming CP

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