Now that the GCR has passed, the Task Force has been established, and the SBC begins to look at how we can better fulfill the Great Commission, we are going to look at what the GCR might end up becoming, the form it might take, and how it will effect the convention as a whole.
Without a shadow of a doubt, Axiom IX has received the most attention. This is probably because some people are worried about their state jobs and a restructuring of the convention could change a lot of things. We are Baptist, we do not like change. Axiom IX could prove to be the most important piece of the GCR.
So, what might a restructuring look like? In President Obama’s words, “That’s a question that is above my pay grade.” Although, I do have a suggestion. My encouragement to the Task Force is to keep in mind the very reason why we exist.
It is not Evangelism, not Missions, and not Theology.
The Southern Baptist Convention exists because of the local churches. More specifically, the SBC exists because of the local churches that choose to come together for missions, while they are bound by Baptist and other theological distintives. Yet, we seem to structure the SBC around why the churches come together rather than the churches themselves. The Southern Baptist Convention needs to be structured in such a way that best emphasizes and supports the local churches themselves and not what the local churches do, which is coming together for missional and theological reasons.
The single most important question that the GCR forces us to ask is simply, “What can we do to better equip and serve the local churches within the SBC to fulfill the Great Commission?” The GCR is not a document that should empower the Convention itself, but ought to look at how to empower and equip the local churches that make up the Convention. Often times it seems that people look at the SBC as an entity in and of itself. This is dangerous because is often over looks the local church.
We do not need to be paying people that travel around to local churches to encourage them to give to the SBC. We need to be paying “task forces” who go into local churches in order to help teach them to train missionaries and church planters. Our current structure seems be hindering our churches in fulfilling the Great Commission. How? A high percentage of the money our local churches give for missions gets “stuck” in the State Convention. Also, when a person chooses to go to the mission field it is not the local church who trains him, no, the local church merely sends the check. Would it not be more productive to train our churches to train missionaries rather than having them ship them off in order for the convention itself to train them?
As I said before, I do not have all the answers when it comes how we should restructure the SBC. I am merely trying to make some observations. My very first observation seems quite simple. It would be much more productive in the long-run, in fulfilling the Great Commission, if we train our churches how to train missionaries and church planters rather then have them merely send the check in order for the convention to train them.