After a great meal (healthy, tasty, and won’t bust my calorie counter!) we sat around the dinner table and one of my favorite men stepped to the podium. Dr. Frank Page.
First, Dr. Allen gave background on the symposium, defining the questions that face us – about cooperative ministry. Then, he introduced Dr. Page.
NOTE: I’m taking notes – trying to give a sense of what the speakers are saying. However, my fingers don’t work fast enough to get it all down. Don’t hold the speaker accountable for the exact quotes – until you see them in BP or some other source.
Dr Frank Page
As he speaks to other denominational leaders, they are amazed at the CP and how it works. “Do you realize what an amazing thing you have there?”
IN the early 1900s, as institutions grew, ministries grew, financiing needs grew. Fundraisers were hired to go to churches to seek best times to raise special missions offerings. Churches were bombarded by these men. Agents salaries were paid first and it because a competitive environment. Their effectiveness varied and those who were most effective raised the most money for their entities. Lots of begging went on. Costs of fundraising was about 50% and churches cried out – we need something different.
In 1925 in Memphis, they called for a Cooperative PRogram by Southern Baptists to unite denominational fundraising. This revolutionary model was adopted, but was not met with universal acceptance. Within a few years, people began to recognize how effective it could be.
To date, just under 17 billion given to churches for these collaborative mission works.
Money coming from states has incresed over the last decade.
- IMB gets lion’s share.
- NAMB and Seminaries get nearly equal amounts.
- ERLC, Historical efforts and EC are funded.
The CP remains the centerpiece of our funding effort.
Factors that impact our collaborative efforts.
1. Ethnic diversity – SBC is the most ethnically diverse denomination in America. About 20% of churches are of some ethnic group. 3000 AA. 2000 Hispanic. 2000 Asian. 33 other recognized ethnic fellowship. Many of these churches do not understand the CP and collaborative ministry. There is a need for Africann American inclusion and other ethnic inclusion. We also need to teach and train our church es and people what it means to be part of a collaborative denomination.
2. Our Collaboration is Voluntary – We do not have hierarchical authority such as the pope has with the Catholic church or other denominational leaders have with their churches. State conventions decide what they want to do.
The top 2053 churches account for 50 % of CP dollars.
Top 8700 churches account for 80% of CP dollars.
The average % decline in giving by churches has stopped and there is a small increase both in dollars and in % of giving. (VERY encouraging news!!!)
Dr. Floyd’s church has given over 1 million dollars to missions through the CP in the last year. Good news. There is good news in a turn around.
3. Collaborative ministry is biblical
Hebrews 12:1-3 Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.
The heart of collaborative ministry is running the race together.
1 Corinthians 16, 2 Corinthians 8-9
4. Collaborative ministry is practical
There are 189 churches with over 2000 in average attendance. We are a convention of smaller churches. In many states, the majority are bivocational.
Every church gets a seat at the table and is part of something bigger than themselves. A small church has a part in sending a missionary or educating the next generation of pastors and church leaders.
Pew research study – Average anglo household wealth is 20x that of average African American or Hispanic household. So, if ethnic mission volunteers have to raise their own support, the mission force is destined to be largely all-white. But through the CP, a Black, Hispanic, or Asian missionary can receive the same support – through the CP.
Challenges to Collaborative Ministry
Many challenges face us today. Uniformity of programming and culture, and theological issues, plus the individualistic nature of our culture – let the church decide! Don’t join collaboratively! Some Asian and other ethnic groups are supporting direct work in their own countries and do not feel the need for the support for CP. There are challenges in the relationships of the SBC to the state conventions.
In 10 years (thru last year – approximate #) state conventions employees 1350 to 750. (He stated this wrong – look for the BP coverage to get the actual number. The state conventions are reducing staff to get the job done.
Frank clearly affirmed the value and necessity of the state convention! Also recognized that they are a place where many of the changes are taking place.
A lot of methodological challenges. This divide is one of the key factors affecting our denomination. We are a group of churches in transition, looking for divine intervention.
Neveer tell a younger Baptist to “be a better Baptist.” Tell them that by joining with others in collaborative ministry you can be a part of something bigger and more significant than yourself.
“GREAT COMMISSION ADVANCE”
New Strategy. There seems to be a turnaround. State convention partners joining with entities.
Goal – 7000 fully funded missionaries, so that we can reach EVERY unreached people group.
Theological costs decreaced, not increased – so that student debt will not hinder pastors from mission service and ministry.
Churches being planted.
Clever methodological paradigms are not the future, but the power of the Spirit of God, the power of God poured out on us!
Working together, God can do things among us that are mightier and greater than we have seen.