One of the more recent creations connected with Southern Baptist life is Baptist Global Response. Although it was created in 2006 and has almost a decade of history, I never hear much about it but the reason for that might be that I don’t get all the usual mailings that go to Southern Baptist churches.
I’ve never given to it. When my church would take up offerings for the significant disasters (tsunami, earthquake, or other global catastrophes) I don’t ever recall sending the money to BGR, which describes itself as a “global Southern Baptist Relief and Development organization.” It also describes itself as “not an official entity of the Southern Baptist Convention, but it does seek to work with all Southern Baptists to better respond to acute and chronic needs and to coordinate worldwide relief and development efforts.”
The organization says that “Baptist Global Response was created to help Southern Baptists become more effective and efficient in responding to global needs created by acute and chronic situations. BGR seeks to coordinate the global resources of Southern Baptists in response to natural disasters, catastrophic crises, and chronic humanitarian needs outside the United States and Canada.”
The money involved in BGR is relatively small, a little over $4 million in contributions for 2014. I understand that some private gifts or grants were made to BGR and that BGR “partners” with IMB on relief, on administration of the World Hunger Fund offerings, and the like. I do not know of any regular offering taken for BGR, just occasional ad hoc ones.
The organization has a small staff based in five regions of the world with headquarters in Nashville.
The Board of Directors is (I’m guessing here) a self-perpetuating board. Present composition of the group includes one IMB staff, two state convention staffers, two pastors, two pastors wives, one in private business, one educator. They are all Southern Baptist so far as I know.
If I were still a pastor and some volcano or tsunami caused great suffering somewhere in the world, it looks to me like BGR would be the destination of choice for a special offering. I’d prefer that over other major relief players, certainly above any United Nations entity but also over CARE, the Red Cross, and others. Some few years ago a major disaster generated a sizable sum of money that was under control of a state convention. The funds were, I think, appropriately used but people had to be retained, there was a lot of travel expense. Sometimes a tsunami of money is a problem. BGR looks like it is set up to handle such things far more effectively and efficiently.
Right now BGR has a Nepal earthquake response. This is what I would ask my church to donate to if I had a church.
Being small, not having a ridiculously large trustee group, and having a partnership with the IMB which means some personnel on the ground almost everywhere makes BGR look very nimble and a good idea.
There are a good many things in SBC life or touching on SBC life that I know little about. This is one and it’s one that makes a lot of sense. I am curious to know if my more active and connected SBC colleagues know much about this and have experience with BGR?
BGR has an informative website: BGR