Five “strategic actions”:
- Increase the total number of full-time, fully funded missionaries by a net gain of 500, giving the SBC 4,200 full-time, fully funded missionaries through the International Mission Board (IMB). New IMB leader Paul Chitwood has already outlined this goal for our oldest, largest, and most important entity. Glad we are together on this one.
- Add 6,000 new churches to the Southern Baptist family, giving the SBC more than 50,000 churches. The last two reporting years showed an increase of 272 for 2017 and a decrease of 88 for 2018; a net increase of 184. The ambitious goal of 6,000 churches in five years would require a seven-fold increase in new churches. One might remember that churches are closing every year, so the goal would be to increase by more than 100 per month for the next five years. BP wrote that the increase would come through church planting, new affiliations, and multisite campus multiplication, as well as retention through replanting and revitalization. I believe reporting has been changed to be able to show not just the number of churches but the number of churches plus their additional satellite locations. Look for an instant boost through different reporting. I’m OK with being able to break this data down in this new way.
- Increase the total number of workers in the field through a new emphasis on “calling out the called,” and then preparing those who are called out by the Lord. I’m not sure exactly what this means and there’s no numerical goal attached to it.
- Turn around the ongoing decline in the SBC in reaching, baptizing and discipling 12- to 17-year-olds in the prime of their teenage years. I’m all for this. My state has a program in this regard, not sure if it shows measurable success or not.
- Increase SBC-wide annual giving in successive years to reach and surpass $500 million given through the Cooperative Program. CP giving at the national level is about $463 million. The plan calls for an increase of a mere 1.25% per year through 2025. While that sounds like a very modest goal, it would be a considerable improvement. Currently the CP is running a couple of million above same period last fiscal year.
There is not one syllable of this that I do not support.
What’s the alternative? Another hard-fought denominational control battle led by a new network?
Caveats, addenda, provisos:
I don’t look to the EC to set the agenda for the SBC, but it cannot hurt. There’s nothing wrong with optimistic, challenging goals. I don’t see any competition for vision-setting for the SBC. I’m all in.
Contrast this with the other big news in the SBC. Which presents the more attractive future for our Grand Old Convention?
Didn’t include it here (I’m sure someone else will write of it later) but JDG knows how to hit home runs. Had a couple yesterday.