Monday, November 14, 2011

Georgia Baptist 'insider' blog goes kaput

I didn't think it could happen but after about two months of anonymous blogging on the Georgia Baptist Convention, the possibly spuriously named GBCInsider blog has managed to give even anonymous blogging a bad name.

The blog started badly, stumbled often, and ended up an embarrassment. A few interesting points about GBC matters were offered along with a generous helping of out-of-date information, high minded pontifications, and factually challenged assertions. The blog degenerated into a raft of anonymous, unkind hemorrhages that passed for comments.

While I think some anonymity in blogging is reasonable, I'm about cured of this type. If you have something to say. If you would like to write about things you don't like about the GBC, do it with a name affixed, like John Waters, one of the GBC presidential candidates.

My friend and fellow non-anonymous blogger, Peter Lumpkins, has noted the demise of the same yesterday and with greater insight and elan than I. He speculates that the whole thing was a political tactic designed for no good purpose other than to scare up a few votes for one of the two GBC political candidates.

For the record, GBCInsider signs off by absolving itself of any blame for untoward comments and by blithely declaring victory.

What a joke.

There is a need for honest discussion of matter of concern in the Georgia Baptist Convention and a dearth of forums for doing so. The impression of not a few GBCers is that leadership would like for the churches to just trust us and give more money. I suggest that GBC leadership and the new president find a way to schedule sessions around the state where the purpose is listening, where honest feedback is solicited, received, and heard.

...either that or start a blog and welcome questions and provide answers.


Dave Miller said...

I am probably less sympathetic than you are about anonymous bloggers. Missionaries who use pseudonmyms, etc? Great. But people who are just hiding their identity so they can't be held accountable for their words? No respect here.

I looked this site over once after reading your article about it. The blogging world is better off without it in my judgmental opinion.

Mark in Swainsboro said...

There may be no need for our GBC president to open new dialog sessions, before what we already have in place is in healthy operation.

We have three state missionaries assigned to meet with our associations. Input gathered from those three may be carried to our president and Ex. Director.

Perhaps what we need is for healthy Association ministries to grow. That's where dialog can gain momentum and action.

Our new president has stated clearly his five commitments. We have a responsibility to uphold him in these areas as well as the five stone initiative presented at annual meeting. This is on us, not for someone else to do for us.

William Thornton said...

Mark, it wouldn't be difficult for Dr. White (and Waters, and the Xcomm chairman) to take a listening tour around the state. Might be helpful not to have anthing filtered through staff or even associations.

Some of the stones and recommendations involve staff, committees, and trustees. Transparency comes to mind.

Mark in Swainsboro said...

William, seems you are making an assumption that our three state rep's may "filter" information gathered. I cannot make that leap based on what I know of these men. I do not have any evidence that they have "filtered" information in the past.

In your location, do you see healthy association dialog and ministry growth/cooperation?

One conversation from yesterday left me understanding that one particular association was not even relevant to a local church in that association. How significant is the situation that we've withdrawn from cooperative association Great Commission ministry?

William Thornton said...

Mark, you've raised some good issues.

Any intermediary filters information. I'd prefer direct communication occasionally rather than a rep providing an executive summary. You could be guarranteed that your reps will filter stuff back to the Baptist building. It's inherent in the organizational structure.

Associations have to justify themselves to the churches and it is a tougher job these days, I think. For various reasons I think many associations are not as critical to the the role of fellowship, partnership, and cooperation that they once were.

Mark in Swainsboro said...

William, two great points here we can perhaps further develop.

First, I may be naive in this, but if our three state rep's are meeting with associations, could not results be recorded? If action was necessary, DOM's could be the accountable source to see that follow up was successful with Ex. Director/President? A state rep becomes expendable if their message to Ex. Dir/President is inconsistent with assoc./DOM.

See I'm convinced the three state rep's can keep busy enough with this task alone. Not that a listening tour by Ex. Director/President is useless. This tour could take place at some point, but as a first step, keep our three state rep's close to associations.

Second, I agree if pastors are not engaged with associational ministry, it will be difficult for associations to justify themselves to the churches overall. There may be that awkward period of an unengaged church to reengage, but change must begin somewhere. How would a call be received to non participating churches to reengage in associational ministry?

In our context, I'm guessing we have near 90% church participation in the association. The result? One recent church plant, a booming brotherhood, work to a local children's home, baptisms and CP giving is decent, and a growing cooperative student ministry that is working to disciple 30 new believers from a local outreach. We can do much more, but I sense we are on our way. We also have one pastor serving on the GBC Ex. Comm.

William Thornton said...

I am glad to hear your association is doing well.

I've never been a fan of the regional reps and think they are made up patronage positions. I know that Swainsboro is a long way from Duluth but we've got phones, email, Skype and the like.

You are probably aware that the GBC had many more regional reps but cut most of the out. Does anyone miss them? No.

I don't subscribe to the concept that churches must relate to the state convention through associations and certainly not through regional reps.

This is 2011. Layers of management and communication are unnecessary.

The GBC approved a change this week where they dropped the requirement that a church who wanted to be part of the GBC had to be a part of an association in GA.

Thanks for the comments. I suspect we haven't heard the last of some of these matters.