CP prioritized in GCR Task Force report

After nearly three months of Southern Baptists voicing their enthusiasm and concerns about the initial report of the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force, the ad hoc committee released its final recommendations on Monday with clearer priority given to Southern Baptists’ cherished Cooperative Program giving channel.

The report also extends the suggested timeline for phasing out “cooperative funding agreements” that send money from the SBC’s domestic missions agency back to state conventions, from four years to seven years, and ends with a list of challenges to individuals, families, churches, associations, state conventions, SBC executives, and national agencies.

The report of the 22-member task force?named by SBC President Johnny Hunt after SBC messengers last summer authorized the formation of it to study how the SBC could work “more faithfully and effectively together in serving Christ through the Great Commission”?spans 27 typed pages and has been amended slightly from the preliminary version unveiled in February, with the seven components described succinctly and with more moderate proposals on some of the controversial elements.

Titled “Penetrating the Lostness: Embracing a Vision for a Great Commission Resurgence among Southern Baptists,” the report was finalized April 26 in the last meeting of the GCR Task Force. Messengers to the SBC annual meeting June 15-16 in Orlando, Fla., will vote on whether or not to adopt the task force report along with seven motions related to the seven components outlined in the report.

Noting the need in every generation for a re-emphasis on the Great Commission mandate to take the gospel to the world and Southern Baptists’ identity as a “Great Commission movement of churches,” the reports laments that of nearly 7 billion people on earth, at best only 1 billion are professed followers of Jesus Christ and 3.5 billion have never heard the gospel.

In North America, “evangelical Christians are falling behind the level of population growth” and not reaching new immigrants, young adults and “the teeming millions in urban areas.”

The report also notes that the average Southern Baptist gives 2.5 percent of his income to the local church, the local church sends an average 6 percent of its undesignated receipts through the SBC’s Cooperative Program missions funding channel, and state conventions on average are retaining 63 percent of CP dollars.

SEVEN COMPONENTS

The following summarizes the seven components:

?Component 1: Getting the Mission Right. This component calls Southern Baptists to adopt a mission statement that reads, “As a convention of churches, our missional vision is to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ to every person in the world and to make disciples of all the nations.” The report adds: “Is this not who we are? Can we even think of settling for anything less? Our mission statement should be drawn directly from the words of Jesus. This missional vision must drive everything that Southern Baptists do, and reset every priority of the local church and the denomination.”

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