Why I Voted in Favor of the GCR Report

Today, after grueling and laborious debate at the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), messengers adopted the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force report.  At the beginning of the debate, it appeared the messengers were deeply split on the report.  Then, an amendment was put forth from the floor regarding component #3.  The amendment basically stated that the proposed giving category, "Great Commission Giving," should be deleted from the report.  In the end, a compromise was forged in which the report now states that "Great Commission Giving" should be a supplement to (rather than a replacement for) Cooperative Program giving.  With this amendment, the entire report passed by a roughly 2 to 1 margin.  Missouri's executive director, David Tolliver, made a well-spoken case from the floor for waiting one year before adopting the report, to study its effects.  But it was to no avail.

I voted for the adoption of the GCR report, but I don't know that I would have without the amendment.  Component #3 was the part of the report that I personally had the most questions about.  I voted for the report mainly because there are times when you have to do something, even if it's not the perfect thing.  I think it's pretty obvious to most people that the SBC is in decline, and it's time to do something to shake things up.  We can't keep doing the same old things, and expect different results.

The full text of the GCR report encourages state conventions to move to a 50/50 split with the SBC.  (Keep half the offerings of the churches, and forward half on to the SBC.  Right now Missouri keeps almost two-thirds in the state.)  I don't have a problem with this, as I think it's what we should be doing anyway.  The great challenge for many state conventions (like Missouri) will be the phase out of "cooperative agreements"... 

Cooperative agreements are contracts that the North American Mission Board (NAMB) of the SBC works out with state conventions to give them dollars to help NAMB meet its strategic goals in that particular state.  For instance, let's say that NAMB determines that there should be a missionary working in downtown Springfield.  Let's then say the MBC also determines this is a priority.  Rather than NAMB and MBC each placing their own missionary in downtown Springfield (redundancy), NAMB gives the MBC dollars to place a missionary there, and holds the MBC accountable for supervising that missionary.  The GCR phases out all such cooperative agreements within seven years.  This will have a huge impact on states such as Missouri where many of our state convention staff are jointly funded (with benefits paid) by NAMB.  Proponents of this aspect of the report believe it will free up more funds to be concentrated in parts of the country that have very little Gospel witness (i.e. pacific northwest, upper midwest, northeast).  It will be fascinating to see what the future holds for the SBC and MBC.

I am beat.  Going to bed.  Blessings to you all. 

P.S.  I took the above pic coming out of the convention center tonight.