In my August 2009 TEXAN column I addressed my intentions as a member of the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force (GCRTF). I stated that the most pressing need for the Southern Baptist Convention was spiritual awakening. This has not changed. The majority of the GCRTF progress report unveiled at the SBC’s Executive Committee in February was devoted to spiritual needs. Unfortunately, the practical proposals affecting structural change seemed to overshadow for some the call for revival.
My prayer is that individual Southern Baptists will submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in every area of life. This would generate fervor for souls, holiness in lifestyle and sacrificial giving. Also, I pray for Southern Baptist churches to be faithful to the whole counsel of God. This would be evident in theological fidelity, in practical expressions of Christ-likeness, and in an unselfish giving toward penetrating lostness. If individual Southern Baptists and Southern Baptist churches experience a spiritual awakening, the SBC will have a spiritual renaissance.
Even with a new spiritual vibrancy, there are practical matters in the SBC to address. These practical matters have spiritual implications. The local church is headquarters. Associations, state conventions and national agencies cannot tell a local church what to do. Local church messengers work through a difficult process to influence national agencies. The mechanics of cooperative ministry in the SBC is messy. Working together we must find a way to accomplish the Great Commission. The Great Commission Resurgence Task Force has attempted to help churches find a way.
There are hot buttons in the GCRTF report. After many listening sessions the progress report was modified to help NAMB get better focus without unintended negatives. The term “Great Commission Giving” simply replaces the title of “total mission expenditures” on a reporting form. The GCRTF proposal strengthens the position of the Cooperative Program by highlighting CP as the preferred way to give to Southern Baptist causes.
The task force is presenting a vision that begins a process of moving more personnel and funds to penetrate the greatest lostness. There is lostness everywhere. With limited resources and seemingly unlimited lostness, we must prioritize our assets.
Texas has 24 million people with the vast majority lost. The Southern Baptists of Texas Convention cannot reach all the lost people in Texas, much less in North America or around the world. However, we have strong churches, a praying people, and a focused state convention that plans to present the gospel to every person in Texas.
We want to share as much as possible with the greater underserved and unreached areas of North America and the world. The SBTC sends on 55 percent of the Cooperative Program budget to national and international causes through the SBC. We are preparing to relinquish $600,000 NAMB is investing in Texas through our partnership so others who have less opportunity to hear about Jesus may do so.
The executive committee of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention’s Executive Board voted unanimously to endorse the GCRTF report (Read the committee’s resolutions on pages 2-3). The Executive Board was polled. They expressed their opinion by all respondents approving the committee’s action. By the grace of God and the cooperative giving of God’s people through the churches of the SBTC, we will more than recover the funds we give away. Let’s take care of Texas and join others to reach the world.