Tuesday, June 16, 2009

SBC Organization

Right now, it looks like the motion is going to be made to create a "Blue-Ribbon Panel" to study all levels of structure in the SBC and try to make it more efficient.

For my part, I think that's a lousy idea. Better to ask each entity to study and report, and request each church to consider what they can do. Same for each state. There is some call that we need to establish "accountability" for this.

Here's the problem:

It is not the place of the national level to "hold accountable" the states. Period. It is the place of the messengers to each state to hold their state accountable. If the national doesn't like a state, break off the relationship. But we are structured that no state goes about bossing another state around, because the authority belongs to the messengers, not the levels of hierarchy we're creating. If the 'great ones' of Kentucky, Georgia, and Florida don't like what we in Arkansas are doing, then get over it, or vote us out of fellowship. But perhaps you should take the planks from your own states first? Each state sets what it passes on, and this should remain that way. I do not think I would continue to lead an SBC church if we were instructed to mail all CP dollars to Nashville and they'll give back to each state what that state gets. You want us to mail two checks, one to each place, I'll think about it, we'll talk about it. We already mail one to the Association and the other to the state to breakdown. We could do 3. Right now we do 5 % of budget to the CP. I'd do 3% to the ABSC and 2% to Nashville. And I'd keep the same ratio as we follow our plan to get to 10% CP. (My goal is 10% CP, 5% Association, and 10% other, like direct support of missionaries and outreach groups, like our local crisis pregnancy center. I think a fourth of the budget is a good amount. This would not include our own church activities, like mission trips. We're not there, and it may take years to get there, but we're trying to be on the road.)

The point is this: we're in a situation that can draw some wisdom from Nehemiah. Nehemiah 3 shows how the walls of Jerusalem were rebuilt. They weren't rebuilt by Nehemiah allocating all of the resources where he saw best fit. They were rebuilt by each doing what was in front of their own part of town. We can rebuild the SBC to massive force of missions and evangelism if we will each rebuild what's in front of our own house. Dr. Hunt can re-examine his church, I'll lead mine through the same process. The messengers, including me this year, should look at the national operations, and when we Arkansans get together in Benton this year, we'll look at our state. As we do so, let's rebuild what's in front of us. It may need a little, it may need a lot, but start there.

And then let's look at Nehemiah 5 and think about how our own churches are spending money, compared with our brothers and sisters in other churches. Just a wonderment, but how many churches have one more staff person than they need, while other churches have to struggle to support a bi-vocational pastor? And how many churches can spend on all kinds of luxuries, while we have widows of retired pastors of the preceding generations living in poverty?

But that's another story for another day. Still, have we compared how we're going about this to Scripture? Or are we taking our cue from American politics and business? Because one works. The other's an ever expanding nightmare.


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