NASHVILLE, Tenn.?It’s no surprise that the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force (GCRTF) is calling for more sacrificial giving to accomplish a vision of more faithfully and effectively advancing the gospel.
Prior to the release of the GCRTF’s final report in early May, it was anybody’s guess as to whether that would best be accomplished by a stronger commitment to the SBC’s Cooperative Program (CP) giving plan, a greater portion of funds flowing from state conventions to mission causes embraced by all Southern Baptists, an increase in giving to targeted mission offerings or an emphasis on autonomous churches customizing their own plans for increased missions giving.
After nine months of study, the task force answered, “All of the above.”
The 22-member team ended speculation that the funding mechanism that has served the denomination since 1925 might be redefined. Southern Baptists are asked “to honor and affirm the Cooperative Program as the most effective means of mobilizing our churches and extending our reach,” demonstrating that commitment by increasing the percentage of their CP giving. Without this “central and preferred conduit of Great Commission funding,” they would have “no unified and cooperative strategy and commitment to the Great Commission task,” the task force concluded.
State conventions are asked to increase the percentages of CP funds directed to the SBC while expecting those entities receiving CP dollars to maximize those funds with a sharper Great Commission focus.
The two mission offerings are described as indispensible conduits with a call to adopt significantly higher goals by 2015 of no less than $200 million for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions and $100 million for the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions.
Every dollar given by Southern Baptists, including designated gifts to Baptist associations, state conventions and SBC causes should be celebrated, according to the task force. The report calls for the total of all monies channeled through Southern Baptist causes at every level to be recognized as Great Commission Giving.
Among the recommendations the task force is presenting to messengers at the June 15-16 SBC annual meeting in Orlando is an appeal for the Executive Committee?Southern Baptists’ administrative arm?to adopt the language and structure of the report “in order to enhance and celebrate the Cooperative Program and the generous support of Southern Baptists channeled through their churches.”
Increased sacrifice at every level of Southern Baptist life begins with individual Christians, the report acknowledges, with the task force challenging believers to grow toward giving “at least 10% of your income going to your local church” and to leave “a percentage of your estate to your local church, the Cooperative Program and to a faithful Baptist entity.”
Earlier this year, GCRTF chairman Ronnie Floyd of Springdale, Ark., expressed his amazement that the average church member gives only 2.56 percent of his income away. “Can you imagine the opportunities of advancing the gospel regionally, nationally and globally if God’s people would obey God in giving?” he asked.
Pastors are encouraged to “Preach regularly and passionately on Christian stewardship helping your people see this as a vital component of discipleship and life lived under the Lordship of Jesus Christ,” the report reads. “Undergird this with lessons on biblical stewardship in your church’s Bible study ministries.”
Congregations are further challenged to set goals for LMCO and AAEO mission offerings and increase CP giving.
While the CP portion alloca