One of the primary discussions at the Southern Baptist Convention this year was whether or not to appoint a committee to study how we can more effectively carry out the Great Commission. We'll leave aside the discussion of how appointing a committee that will spend a year discussing the issue is helpful. It can be, and it can not be, and that will get its own blog post. Right now, let's look at the task force.
When I first saw the list, including the headline that Dr. Ronnie Floyd, pastor of Springdale, Arkansas, First Baptist, was the chairman, I cringed. Over the years, I have seen Dr. Floyd as a part of what is going wrong in the SBC, when churches start growing and start doing more missions funding of themselves and less of the Cooperative Program. However, Frank Turk pointed me to this blog post of Dr. Floyd's, and I must admit that my criticism must now be set aside. The fact that he has led one of the churches he is involved with to increase their Cooperative Program giving even in trying financial times shows that he is, apparently, more committed to the cooperative efforts of Southern Baptists than I have given him credit for.
So, I acknoweldge I was wrong in my initial assessment of appointing Dr. Floyd as chairman of this group. For having a critical spirit towards him, I ask forgiveness of the One who we both answer to as pastors.
On to the rest of the task force: (copied and pasted from Arkansas Baptist News
Other members are Jim Richards, executive director of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention; Frank Page, former SBC president and pastor of First Baptist Church of Taylors, S.C.; David Dockery, president of Union University in Jackson, Tenn.; Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary; Al Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; Bob White, executive director of the Georgia Baptist Convention; Donna Gaines, wife of Steve Gaines who pastors Bellevue Baptist Church of Cordova, Tenn.; Simon Tsoi, IMB trustee from Arizona; Tom Biles, Tampa Bay Baptist Association missionary; John Drummond, a layman from Florida; Harry Lewis of the North American Mission Board, and the following pastors: Al Gilbert of Winston-Salem, N.C.; J.D. Greer of Durham, N.C.; Mike Orr of Chipley, Fla., Roger Spradlin of California, Ken Whitten of Tampa, Fla., and Ted Traylor of Pensacola, Fla.
Now, a few quick comments:
1. I hope Dr. Hunt left open the possibility of adding a few more. Especially an additional lady or two. I know Donna Gaines can hold her own, but to be the only lady in a group of 18? Also, given the rich history of women being the glue that holds Baptist churches together, there are probably several others that have a great deal to offer.
2. Glad to see a few state execs. We'll see how that goes.
3. I am concerned that it appears to be a collection of 'great ones' while the Southern Baptist Convention is made up of a lot of ordinary people. Hopefully the suggestions brought to us by this group will take into consideration how things work in and the resources that churches with Sunday School averages of under 100 have. That's what the bulk of Southern Baptist churches are. And it's not that those churches don't care about the Great Commission.
4. I'm actually glad to see Ed Stetzer not on this list. Stetzer is jointly employed by IMB and Lifeway, and is on NAMB's group to study their own efforts. With his recent weight loss and healthy living focus, Guidestone will probably use him as a poster child soon. He's not a bad guy, from what I've seen, but one person other than the Lord Jesus Christ is not the solution to Southern Baptist life. Don't worry, I'm sure he will have some influence through his books and very public platform. But he's not indispensible.
5. We'll see how this turns out. I'm hopeful for some good suggestions and recommendations. However, this isn't the be-all and end-all of the future of the SBC. The future is the people of God serving Him with all their heart.
The occasional thoughts of an ordinary man serving an extraordinary God. Come with me as we learn, teach, and laugh along the way.
Saturday, June 27, 2009
The Great Commission Task Force and the SBC
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