I have been a Southern Baptist (SBC) my whole life, all 41 years. Born and raised in a Southern Baptist church (baptized at age 7). I graduated from a Southern Baptist university after 4 years (BS degree), I graduated from a Southern Baptist seminary after 4 years (MDiv with Biblical Languages degree), full-time pastored Southern Baptist churches for 5 years, and have been a bivocational pastor for a Southern Baptist church for the past 2 years. I am knee deep in SBC. I have attended endless meetings and have read the latest statistics (all the numbers are DOWN). I LOVE the SBC and have a deep care and concern for many of the wonderful employees of the SBC entities. No one asked me but this is what I would do if asked to help the Southern Baptist Convention survive for another generation.
My Ideas for Southern Baptist Convention to survive
–Streamline convention, save money, and eliminated waste. Focus on 4-5 organizations—Lifeway, IMB, Seminaries, Ethics & Religious Life Committee, Disaster Relief.
–Make the SBC Annual Meeting an every two year meeting. No need to rally only 5,000 people once a year. Just imagine what could be done for those in need with the amount of Cooperate Program, NAMB, IMB, Christian vendors etc. promotional money which is spent on the annual meeting. Huge waste in my opinion.
–Outsource and create Missions partnerships with Haggai institute, Campus Crusade, Samaritan’s Purse, Awana, Celebrate Recovery, DivorceCare. Why recreate the wheel & duplicate?
–More webinars & cancel a lot of very costly (due to travel reimbursements & hotels) meetings & conferences. Group chats online can accomplish the same purposes many times.
–Focus like a laser on church planting and relaunching dying churches. Have as many church plants strategically aligned with a sending church as possible.
–Continue to focus on people with grace, mercy, healing, and compassion with the Gospel.
–Realign the FOCUS of the SBC from being what we are AGAINST (Gay Marriage . . . Biblical stand to take) to who we are FOR . . .PEOPLE! We are ALL sinners in desperate need of God’s grace and forgiveness. All our righteous deeds are like filthy rages before God. We must publicly share, plead, beg, and stress to the world the God’s wonderful Gospel message while we are “loving justice, doing mercy, and walking humbly with our God.”
–Network less on region, more on interests and do so by online resource centers. Put a big emphasis on online resource centers. Skype, Google+, Cisco Webex
–Sell administration buildings. Rent office space from churches & rest work from home. Follow Golden Gate Seminary and Lifeway’s lead and sell valuable properties and pour the income back into growth of the ministry. Less focus on fancy buildings, beautiful campuses and more focus on effective, streamlined ministry.
–Partner with groups and orgs that are working…Catalyst, Passion Conferences, Youth Specialties–humbly join what is working. Cut what is dead
–Actively connect seminary graduates with a mentor. Aggressively connect retired pastors to pass the baton. Don’t just leave it to seminaries.
–YouTube channel–answering quick questions
–Support what is already organically working. Think beyond territory and states.
–Seminaries expand existing partnerships in OVERDRIVE with other universities for bivocational degrees—MBA, JD, Teaching certificate, Engineer. Share campus space and realistically prepare grads for bivocational work. 80% bivocational. Prepare that way and EMPHASIZE it!
–To reduce conflict, make for smooth transitions, and empower the younger generation, have a 70 yr old mandatory retirement for seminary presidents and top executives. Openly plan for transitions and begin the mentor process.
What are your thoughts???