Thursday, June 11, 2015


After my post yesterday entitled "Sad Days Among the SBC", someone pointed out that "State Conventions at their annual meetings were voting to decrease the percentage of CP money which remains in the state" and then they asked, "WHY?"  This is my response to that question and statement.  Let me be clear.  I do not perceive this person to have responded in a mean-spirited way and I do not respond with animus in my heart.  Rather, it is with a deep love for Southern Baptists, with all of her facets, that I respond (and I do not question the love for Southern Baptist of the one I am responding to).  However, as Forest Gump might say, "That's all I have to say about that" (for now).  So I will move forward as there is much Kingdom work to be done.  Grace to you.

The honest reasons that I blog so little are many. First, I really don’t have the time to sit in front of a computer and type all day. Second, I don’t see the ‘positive’ impact from it….GRIN….that being said, I just happened to open this up again this morning so I will respond to the statement that “States are voting to cut percentages” and to your question of “WHY?”  After that, I’ll probably move on to the other things my day demands.
You are absolutely correct that state conventions (those assembled once a year) are voting to cut percentages. The reason, as I see it (everyone will not agree), is because the State Execs and their Staff are leading their Finance teams to respond to the GCR (Grand Currency Redirection, oops no, The Great Commission Resurgence – sorry) that was voted on in Orlando. The reason that the process is so slow is not because they are being ‘bull-headed’ or ‘uncooperative’ but rather, the leadership is trying to do this in such a way as to give the staff members, who are to be eliminated by the change in the financial structure, time to make a natural transition to another position. This has happened many times already in the state where I reside (this is an observation from the outside as I have no inside knowledge). These cuts are being proposed by the leaders who are attempting to cooperate.
Sincerely, I have heard no one, in the groups I’m a part of, believe that the this redirection of money is in the best interest of the Kingdom over the long term. Certainly, it may help IMB & NAMB in the short term (but I believe, that will be short lived). The general consensus among people I speak with (admittedly not in the thousands, but perhaps a hundred or more) is that as the states are weakened, the CP will become weaker and weaker which will make the “PIE” (gifts to the CP) become smaller and smaller. All of us know that the CP giving is down – this is a matter of record. However, if we continue withdraw the one place (State Conventions) that ‘fertilize’ (as it were) the seed of CP giving, the pie may well disintegrate completely. And we would return to where we began as a denomination, with Societal Giving. The very thought of this gives me a headache. Call me an ‘old-fogey’, but we already have too many Sundays where we are asked to place the emphasis on something else other than the God we are supposed to WORSHIP. (I.E Memorial Day, Independence Day, Right to Life, Mother’s Day, Father’s day, groundhog day {okay, maybe that is over the top - LOL}, etc)
Sincerely, I do not believe that you nor the majority desires to KILL STATE CONVENTIONS, but what I DEEPLY believe is that the ongoing de-funding of these entities will ultimately deploy “The Law of Unintended Consequences.” Recently, I read an article in the Alabama Baptist that one of the changes which are being made (on a year’s trial basis) is that, beginning July 1, the Evangelism Department will be entirely part-time. The leaders have thought it through, have a plan, and are attempting to work the plan so that we have a ongoing, vibrant, & consistent evangelistic emphasis in the state and they are to be commended for such work. To me, this is Exhibit A of what I call “Unintended Consequences.”
You may ask, “Jerry, what is the answer?” My response, “Systemically, I don’t know.” I offer that no ONE person holds the systemic answer to our difficulty. It will require a team effort of people who see the value in every facet of Southern Baptist Life (I.E National, State, Associational, institutions & entities) coming together, praying it through, & offering a comprehensive resolution.
That said, “I know” what “you know”and what we both deeply believe. The real issues which confront us – are not systems, programs, or even theologies. The real issue is a spiritual one. When persecution (Like we are seeing at the hands of ISIS) makes it way into this country, into our communities, and walks into our church buildings, we will be forced to face up to the true spiritual issue. I fear when this comes, CP, IMB, NAMB, and the SBC will be the least of our worries. Call it a colloquialism, but what we need is real, authentic, heaven-sent, landscape-altering REVIVAL in GOD’S CHURCH. We need a “Pentecost” among God’s people. Then these discussions will be moot.
Thanks for hearing me out. I pray that each of us will keep our eyes on the ‘prize’ and finish the race “HE” set before us. Grace to you.

1 comment:

  1. Jerry,
    I have been out of the pastorate a couple of years now, but I still try and keep up with what is happening. My opinion is this all started when the conservative political powers divided shortly after Adrian's death. At the very next convention, there was a split in the conservative camp of who was going to lead. The old guard ran the same big name contenders and then there was Frank Page a relatively unknown guy that gained traction from the blogosphere it seemed. The mantra was 10%, 10%, 10% ...... ad infinitum. You know the outcome of that convention. It is my opinion and the opinion of many of the pastors that I know that feel the old guard and the mega church pastors wanted to crush this 10% CP thing once and for all. There was a push it seemed for all the monies a church spent for missions to be counted and tallied not just the CP giving. With the GCR debacle and the slight of hand maneuvering, posturing, and high speeches about the gospel, we have arrived at where we are now. This is only one issue that brought us to where we are at. There are several others, but in the great scheme of things, I feel the SBC is only a breath away from extinction as we have a growing hostile environment to the message of the Cross in our country and the Government will put the screws to us financially by removing the Tax Exemption status if we don't bow to their ideologies. I feel we will see missions fall back to first century type of missions. The blessing our churches have coming is with outside persecution, there comes an internal purification. - Scott


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