The Great Commission Resurgence TF may be well intentioned, but I am afraid they have no idea what they are about to do to the majority of SBC churches, local associations and State Conventions. The first red flag should fly when two entities such as NAMB and IMB are looking to cover the same territory. Doing this will change the focus of both entities. The current focus of NAMB is cooperating with State Conventions and State Conventions cooperate with local associations. This is the best possible ministry direction in my opinion because the local associations know the area better than someone in a plush office with a substantial budget at their disposal. Associations are all about getting the most work out of volunteer churches all at the expense of usually one paid associational leader (who is often bi-vocational with partial salary).
What is the solution to our current situation. It is obvious we need to make some changes. I think the disagreement comes when we discuss the changes and where they must occur. I know firsthand the effectiveness of our local association and its cooperation with the State Board of Missions. Funding through NAMB has afforded pastors and church planters in rural areas opportunities that would not be possible without the current structure. The NAMB also makes possible the supplements to Associational budgets through State Board of Missions that will no longer exist under the proposed plans of GCRTF. If this comes to pass Associational leaders in some areas will be forced to go bi-vocational and in some cases resign and go to work. In some rural areas this will be a disaster to Associations that are now thriving because of the leadership of dedicated DOM’s.
If our voice is worth anything to the TF let’s offer practical ideas for a real resurgence and pray they will hear us.
Looking across the SBC landscape I see the people in the trenches. They are first of all DOM’s. TF, please invite DOM’s across the board to participate in discussions. Second, it would seem more appropriate to audit the functions of each entity to address the internal issues to get a better result before changing the entity completely. Most all entities have functioned well at some point in SBC life. Let’s not throw the good out with the bad. The churches that exist in remote areas depend on cooperative efforts.
Brett Clements, Pastor
New Bethel Baptist Church
Director of Discipleship and Family Ministries
Cherokee Baptist Association