Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Imagine a greater contrast on the Cooperative Program?

Can there be a greater contrast about our venerable, if declining, Cooperative Program than that provided to the Executive Committee by Bryant Wright, SBC prez, and Frank Page, new Executive Committee CEO?

Wright said, in his first remarks to the XComm,
"It is my hope that there will be a radical reprioritization so that we can bring about these thousands of people groups who have practically no witness of the gospel."

Repeating views shared prior to his election, Wright means that he hopes the state conventions will willingly give up substantial shares of their CP cut.

Radical.

Page said that
"What is needed more than anything for a Great Commission resurgence, Page said, is a "Cooperative Program resurgence...The truth is that the pie [Cooperative Program] has to get bigger," Page said. In order for that to happen, he said the Executive Committee will work in conjunction with Baptist state conventions to promote the Cooperative Program."

Traditional.

Since churches have for decades been giving less and less of their offering plate dollars to the CP, I don't see Page having anything to say that will do the least thing to change that...but he has to say it anyway.

I read where he will offer a ten year plan to raise CP giving. One can only hope that the plan consists of something more than the standard, "Just give more" mantra that we've heard for so long.

CP promoters say that when laypeople find out about all the great work done by their CP dollars, they will enthusiastically give more.

Wright says that when his church laypeople found out more about the CP, about where the money goes, about where the money stays, they immediately wanted to give LESS, not more.

A little reality therapy for the CP means less, not more, I'm afraid.

I like Frank Page. His position, of all the leadership positions in the SBC, demands a CP supporter, promoter, and optimist but Wright's right on this one.

4 comments:

Les Puryear said...

William,

I wonder why no one is talking about the obvious CP reallocation? To me, the obvious move is to remove the seminaries from CP. Why? Because they have the capability to become self-sustaining entities like Lifeway and Guidestone. That would free up $43.8M for missions.

IMHO, Wright is wrong. He wants to take funding away from entities that have no capacity to become self-sustaining instead of making the more obvious choice of defunding the entities that can become self-sustaining.

Regards,

Les

William Thornton said...

Les, three points for you:

1. I rather think the Wright merely expresses a conclusion held by many SBCers: Way too much CP money is spent too close to home and way too little is put where the most lost people are.

2. If you make a motion that seminaries become self-sustaining withing 10 years, I will vote for it. I doubt Mohler et al will.

3. I think you make a grave error in presuming that a steady funding stream belongs to state conventions. It belongs to the people who give it (churches and individuals) and if they see different priorities and also see state conventions as not serving those priorities, they are right to spend the money where they think best.

God bless you.

foxofbama said...

With no Dawg completely in this hunt, I tend to come down against Wright. Howell Scott has several must read blogs on this matter, but the one today may be his best to date.

The he comes over to Baplife dot come to SBC Trends and agrees with me the SBC is on the Brink of a Crisis.
I hope all who see this will google over to Howell Scott's fromlaw2grace blog.
Between him and Thornton, here, maybe things can be worked out.

Two other matters. Hope the good Dr. Thornton weighs in and spotlights a blog on Mohler's cover story in the Christian Century; and do, William, check my spotlight on Ga and Stone Mtn in comment of John Pierce recent blog on Competition. Had a most exhilirating and informative evening in the presence of the author of the definitive book on Leo Frank Monday evening.

Norm said...

William: ... where the most lost people are.

Norm: With this kind of insight, why is SBC having such a problem?