NASHVILLE, Tenn.?Great Commission Resurgence Task Force (GCRTF) Chairman Ronnie Floyd took questions in stride as reporters wondered how GCRTF recommendations would impact and possibly upset state conventions and their working relationship with the North American Mission Board.
After delivering a passionate half-hour appeal before the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee on Feb. 22 for Southern Baptists “to return to God in deep repentance and experience a fresh wave of his spirit upon our lives, ministries and work of our denomination,” Floyd and a tag team of task force members gave an hour to outlining their vision of returning “to the primacy and centrality of the local church.”
Questions in the subsequent news conference primarily focused on how the “restart” of the North American Mission Board would eliminate cooperative agreements with state conventions that provide shared responsibility for most of the current SBC mission force.
“It will give an opportunity for state conventions to re-look and reassess their priorities just like we have done,” Floyd said, adding his hope that the interim report recommendations will “unleash and release NAMB to fulfill what Southern Baptists really think that they’re there to do.”
As every church assumes its responsibility as “an effective missional organization” by directly planting new churches, Floyd said NAMB will become a catalyst in reaching the United States and Canada.
“We want them to be successful,” Floyd said, referring to state conventions and local Baptist associations. “Most of all we want the gospel to win and for every church to be an effective missional organization that makes a difference. We believe the freeing of that will really help everyone do gospel work more effectively.”
Asked by Georgia Christian Index managing editor Joe Westbury whether the seven regional NAMB offices proposed for distribution throughout the country would become “mini-NAMBs,” Floyd explained their desire to see the mission board go where the churches are located.
“We have to paint big, but go deep now and then,” Floyd said in portraying their vision for change. “We have to make sure we don’t go too deep,” he said. “That really is going to be determined by trustees of the convention?not by us as an appointed group.”
The report also calls for adding one percentage point of Cooperative Program allocation to the International Mission Board using funds gained from shifting stewardship and CP promotion back to state conventions.
Alabama Baptist editor Bob Terry asked Floyd if those new dollars would be spent stateside to accomplish the recommendation that the International Mission Board reach unreached and under-served people groups without regard to any geographic limitations.
That new IMB assignment would not necessarily shift overseas missionaries to stateside settings, task force members responded, leaving both mission boards with responsibility for determining how to work together in reaching such people groups in the U.S. that are often directly tied to those engaged overseas. By using IMB missionaries with “extremely rare language and cultural skills,” NAMB and local churches can engage unreached people groups that settle in large metropolitan areas, explained GCRTF member R. Albert Mohler of Louisville.
“Given the way their ministry assignment is written, the IMB said they did not feel free to be directly engaged even though it may be the very same people that they’re seeing in the home location who also show up in Washington, Portland and New York City.”
By closing this gap in outreach efforts by