Better than a month ago, the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force released the interim report of their work leading up to the final report to be given at the Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting in Orlando this summer. This report was the first of two to be made public (the other in early May) sharing their progress. I have written on the origin and function of this task force. You can read it here. Simply, the purpose of the GCRTF is to examine ways in which the SBC can more effectively carry out the Great Commission and report its findings to the messengers at the annual meeting in June.
This highly anticipated initial report has prompted much discussion across the SBC. Many articles have been written about it the state newspapers. Bloggers have critiqued it, giving their own reasons why it will and will not be beneficial to the church. State convention executives have even gave reasons as to why they can and cannot support the recommendations contained in the report. In the grand scheme of all things SBC, my opinion won’t make any difference. Denominational structure won’t shift because of what I write. My words won’t change the course of current policy. However, being the pastor of a small church (defined by the SBC as having fewer than 200 in the primary worship service), which is the make-up of approximately 85% of all SBC churches, my opinion may matter after all.
The initial report contains six components which may or may not be presented in the form of formal recommendations that require a vote for passage. When the final report comes out in May, there may be more or less than these initial six. Over the next three posts, I want to share each component, what it means, and my thoughts on each one.
Component #1: “We believe in order for us to work together more faithfully and effectively towards the fulfillment of the Great Commission, we will ask Southern Baptists to rally towards a clear and compelling missional vision and begin to conduct ourselves with core values that will create a new and healthy culture within the Southern Baptist Convention.”
Basically, this component calls for all SBC churches to come together around one central vision that is missional in nature. The term missional basically means to take on the mindset, attitude, and practice of missionary living in everything you do, instead of just “doing” missions. The task force calls for the SBC to embrace and pursue eight core values as part of this new vision: Christlikeness, truth, unity, relationships, trust, future, local church, and kingdom. I believe this is a good starting point. Unless the convention comes to terms with where it wants to go, the remaining components do not matter. Every local church has their own vision based on their local context. Embracing this vision and these core values will collectively give the convention a unified direction to move in.