I’m working from my phone on the road. Can’t edit or format. Sorry Rodney. I told Ronnie Floyd yesterday that he’d given the blogs about 6 months of material!
SPIRITUAL LIFE, PRAYER AND THE POWER OF GOD MUST BE THE FOUNDATION OF CURRENT AND FUTURE PERSONAL, CHURCH AND CONVENTION LIFE…
FRESH WINESKINS IS TIMELY, BIBLICAL AND NECESSARY…
Yes! The time is now, not when we are further forced to restructure and refocus based on pragmatic realities of financial straits.
IN ANSWERING THE QUESTION OF WHAT IS BEST FOR THE SBC VS. WHAT IS BEST FOR THE GOSPEL AND THE CHURCH…
What is best for The Gospel and The Church is what is best for the SBC.
DO ASSOCIATIONS AND STATE CONVENTIONS NEED TO CONTINUE TO EXIST?
There is a biblical basis for local networks of churches to assist one another and propagate the gospel. This cooperation seen in the New Testament extends in principle, I believe, to regional, national and international gospel propagation in cooperation with the global Body of Christ.
Practically speaking, the three levels in SBC life as currently practiced are not ultimately sustainable or most effective or efficient in my opinion. For example, in Kansas City we have local Association, State Convention, and NAMB (as well as Seminary in our particular case) resourcing and staff for church planting. This is redundant. But there are local ministries and parts of our state and nation that need all three levels of denominational life. We could eliminate redundancies though, and be more helpful to our churches and the larger gospel mission of the church.
In this day and age of flagging denominational loyalty and other decentralized and personalized trends, only those entities that add value to the local church will survive. This is not only practically true but also biblically faithful.
FOR THE SAKE OF THE GOSPEL IS IT TIME TO COMBINE THE IMB AND NAMB?
Yes. Combining business and infrastructure support can be done in Alpharetta practically and more efficiently without touching issues of differing program assignments. Atlanta is a better location for travel and coordination as well. A studied approach to staffing for support of both entities in a common facility could yield greater efficiencies and cost savings. This step could be taken relatively soon and should be considered at a minimum.
IMB needs a further staff restructuring and streamlining similar to what NAMB underwent, and which has already begun. I am not speaking of missionary force reduction but headquarters and stateside-based support staff. Richmond home offices and the International Learning Center were renovated and expanded at the height of entity and personnel growth. They will no longer be needed in that scope or that setting. Nor is the “farm” the best place any longer to train missionaries for our largely urban world.
But I contend as I have before during days of GCR discussions that a workable merger should occur. With global interconnectivity of persons, peoples, businesses and institutions, we could prayerfully take advantage of synergies and opportunities while recognizing contextual differences and organize accordingly at each level. A good missionary, internationally or in his or her own cultural milieu, will always seek the Lord in taking contextual realities into consideration while engaging with the transcultural gospel of Christ.
Our missionary force should be internationalized. The Great Commission is now truly from everywhere to everywhere. Global Christians in the global church abroad and in North America should be sent as they follow God’s call to make disciples both near culturally and cross-culturally. Global cities with many of the globe’s peoples in them can serve as regional centers both for reaching people and for training Christians and missionaries. Seoul, Singapore, Shanghai and Sao Paulo are sending to South America and South Boston and beyond. We could formally and intentionally share in funding and partnering to reach North American cities as well as the most remote unreached, difficult parts of the globe. Yes, Korean Baptist and Southern Baptist American finances could be utilized in combination and consultation to send and support missionaries. Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, among other institutions in America, already model a version of this type of co-funding, co-partnering and co-training.
One Global Mission Board could consult and coordinate with global Baptist and evangelical partners through regional centers on each continent, including in North America, to support national missionaries and train missionaries and church leaders to and from those continents.
For example, a local Southern Baptist church could send their church planter or missionary candidate to the one Global Mission Board for a common assessment and training and mutually decide on deployment location in North America or around the globe. Missionaries from London from various cultural backgrounds could be trained and supported by the Global Mission Board in partnership with Europeans and Koreans to reach unreached peoples in London or elsewhere in Europe, Middle East, North Africa or Central and Southern Asia. They also could be trained and supported by the Global Mission Board in partnership with European and Korean Baptists to be sent to unreached peoples relocated in North America. Or Mainland Chinese Christians and Singaporean Christians in partnership with the Global Mission Board and Korean Mission Board could train missionaries for mainland or diaspora Chinese in Vancouver, Africa, or North America. Global Mission Board Southern Baptist personnel could be trained in Africa’s great cities for reaching Muslims while the Global Mission Board could also support indigenous African church planters for near or cross cultural multiplicative church planting. Hispanic Southern Baptists and Latin American Baptists could cooperate through the Global Mission Board to reach Hispanics in North American and South America.
Multicultural teams could be established and trained together as well.
Training of Global Mission Board missionaries in North America and abroad should take place in cities within cultural affinity groups common to the destination cultures. Missionary personnel to and from the whole world can be trained in LA, New York, Chicago, Atlanta and Miami as well as Seoul, Singapore, London, Hong Kong, Delhi, Istanbul, Vancouver, Mexico City and Sao Paulo. There are evangelical partners already doing such.
If a church’s desire is to plant in Seattle or Salzburg or Shanghai, reach refugees, or adopt the orphans–whether they are from Seoul, Sudan, or South Georgia–a Global Mission Board would serve them best in the future.
Having one Global Mission Board would most efficiently and effectively enable Southern Baptists to take advantage of these global realities and interconnectivity to further the advance of the gospel