The dust has settled from the June annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention held in Orlando. Messengers overwhelmingly approved the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force Report. What does this mean for the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention?
There are several components that directly impact the ministry of our churches in Texas. Perhaps the most significant are those recommendations directed toward the North American Mission Board. If the NAMB trustees implement the proposed changes, the SBTC will no longer receive $500,000 plus of grants for missions and ministry. While this will be a challenge for the SBTC to make the adjustment, the end result should be more financial resources going to the more unreached areas of North America. I support getting more people and money to the places in America where there is a greater percentage of lostness.
Southern Baptists of Texas Convention churches have been strongly supportive of our unified budget. This is the first time as a group of churches we are challenged to do more. In order for the SBTC’s ministries to go on as usual, any NAMB grant reduction would need to be made up by CP receipts. Because we send 55 percent of every CP dollar on to the SBC, we will have to collect $2.22 in CP funds for every dollar no longer coming from NAMB. Churches are asked to affirm the SBTC’s work in Texas and beyond by giving more through the Cooperative Program.
The GCRTF recommendation for the International Mission Board to be allowed to minister without geographic restrictions opens up various possibilities. It is highly unlikely that IMB missionaries will be commissioned to serve on U.S. soil. However, IMB can lend expertise, resources and other personnel to assist NAMB, state conventions and associations in strategy for people/language groups in America. Globalization is here. We must reach the Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, and others who now call North America home. I will strongly encourage IMB as well as NAMB to forge agreements with state conventions and associations in order to coordinate missionary efforts. Southern Baptists have the potential of more cooperation rather than less because of the removal of geographic restrictions on the IMB.
Cooperative Program and stewardship promotion are assigned to state conventions in the GCRTF recommendations. The SBTC has used SBC materials over the years.
The shift in responsibility will call for your state convention to be more involved in creation and production of the promotional material. The Cooperative Program is an undesignated giving channel that supports state, national and international efforts. CP is a Southern Baptist Convention and state convention partnership. The SBTC sends on 55 percent of every undesignated dollar received. No other state convention gives away more than it retains. The SBTC is committed to national and international missions and ministry.
Every church giving through the SBTC for Cooperative Program missions has a part in funding thousands of missionaries and seminary students across America and around the world. Your investment in Texas is also vital. Missions and ministry in Texas as a confessional fellowship of churches depend upon your participation through the Cooperative Program. Stewardship promotion is more than missions giving. Through the SBTC Foundation individual stewardship is being addressed.
Designated giving has always been recognized by the SBTC. Churches give through the Lottie Moon, Annie Armstrong, and Reach Texas offerings. Some churches designate to the colleges, children’s homes, and SBC ministries. There will be no change other than the title “Great Commission Giving” on a report form. “Great Commission Giving” will replace “other mission expenditures” on the Annual Church Profile. The Cooperative Program remains the vital lifeline of Southern Baptists to do our work together.
The SBTC’s philosophy is reflected in the recommendation for reducing the SBC Executive Committee’s budget, and in the Missional Vision and Core Values portions of the GCRTF report. As a group of churches, we share vision and values adopted by the messengers of the SBC in Orlando this summer. On the reduction of the EC budget, the SBTC has set a standard of low bureaucracy and high networking for state conventions. The model of SBTC methodology fits well with the proposals of the GCRTF.
Will the recommendations approved by the messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention make a difference in the SBTC? Yes. All of the recommendations have the potential of a positive effect for the Kingdom. Will the GCRTF report produce a Great Commission Resurgence? No, not alone. A Great Commission Resurgence is still a spiritual matter. It will take individual Southern Baptists and SBC churches experiencing a spiritual renewal for a true GCR. Structural change can fine-tune