Monday, February 22, 2010

Pray for the Midwest Founders Conference & the Great Commission Task Force

I am preparing to travel to St. Louis tomorrow for the Midwest Founders Conference where I will join Ray Van Neste and Phil Newton in speaking on Pastoral Ministry. Unfortunately, Dr. John Thornbury has had to back out of speaking due to health issues (from which, I understand, he is recovering well). Though the temperatures are expected to be about 60ยบ colder than what I am leaving in SW Florida, the fellowship is always warm at this meeting. If you are in the St. Louis area, I encourage you to attend the conference or at least try to catch a session or two.

Please pray that the Lord will use this conference to strengthen to hands of pastors and to prosper the churches they serve.

Today is also the day that the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force (GCRTF) is giving its report to the Executive Committee of the SBC. Ronnie Floyd, the Chairman of the GCRTF will be leading the way in setting forth observations and recommendations that have been formulated since last June. Contrary to earlier, speculative bloviating by the crowd of chronic naysayers, the GCRTF is making this report available to the churches well in advance of the June convention in Orlando. You should be able to access it online tonight around 10:30 PM Eastern time.

Pray for the Executive Committee meeting today. And pray particularly that every God-honoring, Christ-exalting, pride-killing, kingdom-focused recommendation that the task force proposes will resonate with Southern Baptists who are tired of the denominational status quo and who are longing to link arms to take the gospel to the nations.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Why I am hopeful about the GCR movement

Over the last several months I have repeatedly been asked why I support the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force (GCRTF) and the broader impetus that led to its formation. A full explanation would include some necessary nuances and caveats that transcend the limits of a blog post, but the main reasons can at least be summarized here. These are, quite obviously, my opinions.

I believe:
  1. The SBC is unhealthy to the point that if it does not significantly change, it will become irrelevant beyond recovery within a few years.
  2. There are many who share my concerns--some of whom have already checked out of convention life while others are headed that way if things don't change for the better.
  3. The SBC represents loads of potential for being an instrument of great good in the kingdom of God. It has been such in the past, and still is in some degree at present, but the potential is greater than anything we have seen thus far.
  4. There are some in the SBC whose vision for what the convention should be is theologically naive and missiologically counterproductive.
  5. There are others in the SBC who don't think about theology and missiology at all.
  6. There are still over 6000 unreached people groups in the world--2000 years after our Lord commissioned His church to make disciples of all peoples.
  7. The leaders who are at the helm of the call for a GCR are trustworthy men. I disagree with them on some doctrinal issues. But I do agree with them on the most important points of doctrine and I believe them to be men of integrity who will not kowtow to political pressure, even if it causes them to stand against men they esteem and love.
  8. The GCRTF could--and should--come back with radical, convention-shocking recommendations that are rooted in a vision to marshal our resources to reach the nations.
  9. The call for a GCR could be the greatest hope of this generation to unite churches around the gospel, under the sovereignty of God, to give our utmost energies to making disciples of the nations.
I am 52 years old. I have zero interest in investing one more dime or one more minute in any religious organization that does not serve churches in the mission to reach the nations. Our church is ramping up our efforts and sharpening our focus in this area and we want to partner with other churches that have a similar vision. We want to be challenged, encouraged, strengthened and linked with like-minded churches with whom we share core commitments.

I believe that at least many on the GCRTF share these concerns and believe that the SBC can become a far more effective vehicle than it currently is to assist churches in their efforts to enlarge the kingdom of God. If these concerns are courageously addressed in the GCRTF recommendations, then the SBC will be challenged to pursue a path that could lead to our most useful days.

I have been around long enough to have been adequately disabused of any denominational naivety. Programs come and programs go. Bravado and superlatives seem almost endemic to SBC life. Some may be tempted to speak of the GCR and the GCRTF in such ways. I am not in that number. I am hopeful, but I am not naive. I pray for Ronnie Floyd and his committee every day and I encourage you to do so, as well.

We desperately need what the best declarations coming from those involved in the GCR movement are calling for. So I have been and remain supportive of the effort and praying that the Lord will use this to awaken, empower and unite Southern Baptists for the renewed purpose of "eliciting, combining, and directing the energies of the denomination for the propagation of the gospel."

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Resolution of support for the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force

Tonight, at the annual meeting of the Royal Palm Baptist Association in southwest Florida I submitted the following resolution. It was unanimously approved and the moderator asked that it be sent to all the churches in the association. If you want more information on the work of the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force, check out this website.

Resolution of support for the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force
Presented October 20, 2009

Whereas many Southern Baptist leaders have called for a Great Commission Resurgence within the convention, and

Whereas last June Dr. Johnny Hunt, President of the Southern Baptist Convention, appointed a task force to study how Southern Baptists can work more faithfully and effectively together in serving Christ through the Great Commission, and

Whereas that Great Commission Resurgence Task Force has asked Southern Baptists to pray for their work, and

Whereas the task force is to give a full report with recommendations at the 2010 Southern Baptist Convention scheduled to meet in Orlando, Florida,

Be it therefore resolved that the messengers of the Royal Palm Baptist Association, meeting in its 51st annual meeting in Ft. Myers, Florida, call on all the churches of the association to pray for the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force and its work;

Be it further resolved that the churches of our association be encouraged to pray for an outpouring of the Spirit of God in reviving the churches across the Southern Baptist Convention and beyond for the sake of the extension of Christ's kingdom;

Be in finally resolved that the pastors and churches of the Royal Palm Association be encouraged to recommit themselves to the comprehensive work of making disciples according to Great Commission of Jesus Christ.

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