Friday, June 4, 2010

How about a little pre-convention demagoguery?

It’s June. The SBC annual meeting is only days away. So, how about a little pre-convention demagoguery?

The Great Commission Resurgence Task Force has done their thing. While I wasn’t thrilled with the composition of the Task Force (two thirds megachurch people) or their decision to have secret meetings (excluding even a Baptist Press rep on background) and while I’m not overwhelmed by the group’s recommendations, I think they have done pretty good, particularly in receiving feedback since February and adjusting their stuff.

I’d vote for the report were I to be present. Others will vote against it for one reason or another. Fine. That’s what Baptists do.

But why demagogue the thing?

I ask, does the GCRTF "attempt to redirect church members tithes outside the Cooperative Program" and "try to get us to designate part of our tithe directly to SBC entites"?

Uh, no. It doesn't. It doesn't say that. It doesn't imply that. It doesn't come close to any of that.

So where does that come from? That wording comes from Les Puryear, resident small church demagogue who once went after the job of a prof because Les didn’t like his views on tithing (read it here).

This is cheap shot stuff.

Folks may not like the idea of employing a new label (Great Commission Giving) on things that tens of thousands of SBC churches already do. Some may even believe that it is not the best way to approach church stewardship and denominational support. Some may fear that this will intensify the decades old trend of churches giving less proportionately to the CP. I don't have such concerns but am willing to listen to those who do and can express it in a legitimate manner.

Some will vote against the report. No problem but we can do without this kind of nonsense.


Lee (Sandy) said...

The only part of this recommendation that I am concerned about is the NAMB restructuring. I know a lot of people in what the SBC calls "pioneer" states who are gravely concerned that their ability to continue their ministries will be curtailed or severely diminished. I'd like to see some kind of provision inserted to assure that this work will continue to be supported, especially in state conventions which receive more NAMB money back than they give, and an acknowledgement of the effectiveness of the work that is being done by CP money in those places. Fact is, generally speaking, that's where Southern Baptist work is most effective on this continent these days.

Other than that, let the chips fall where they may. Some people are going to be absolutely shocked, when the "other mission giving" category is rolled in to the CP, to find that most of the megachurches are still not giving very many real "dollars" to Southern Baptist causes. And I don't think restructuring NAMB and playing with the way Cooperative Program gifts are recorded is addressing the real issues that face the SBC and the approach of its churches to the "Great Commission." There's not a single element of this proposal that will deal with the issues of a declining and graying of membership, the fact that the few remaining "young" people we have are either dropping out of church, or going outside the denomination to serve, that baptisms continue to decline, and that the only statistical category that seems to be increasing is "non-resident membership," now approaching the 8 million mark.

William Thornton said...

NAMB restructuring...who knows whether or not that will help. The outfit doesn't have a very good record here lately.