Seven Thoughts on "Great Commission Baptists"

If you haven't heard, the executive board of the Southern Baptist Convention gathered in Nashville this week to hear a report  from a special task force on a possible new name for our denomination.  You can read all about it here.  The task force ended up recommending that we keep "Southern Baptist Convention" as our legal name, but that we also add the informal name (or tagline) of "Great Commission Baptists."  Here are my seven thoughts on this development:

1)  I appreciate the task force's heart.  While part of the decision not to drop the name "SBC" was undoubtedly based on economic and legal factors, I also believe a large part of the decision was based on a desire to be peacemakers and find a good compromise.  Regardless of what you think about the task force's recommendation, it is hard to find fault with their intention.

2)  I hesitate to use this example, but if you're having a hard time envisioning how this will work, think about the Mormon Church.  Often times, they are referred to as Mormons.  But they are also known as "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints." (LDS)  Say what you will, but the alternative name has been an effective tool for them.

3)  The informal name must now be passed by messengers at this year's annual meeting in New Orleans.  I predict that it will easily pass, although not without a vocal minority opposing it.  (And that's okay.)

4)  Assuming passage, the best case scenario is that local churches and other entities with a strong allegiance to the term "Southern Baptist" will be happy/content to continue using it.  While churches outside the SBC's traditional areas (that have found the word "Southern" to be a hindrance to their ministry) will benefit from referring to themselves as "Great Commission Baptists."  Everyone (or nearly everyone - we are Baptists after all) will be happy.

5)  The worst case scenario (or at least a bad scenario) is that the informal name will further drive a wedge into a denomination that already finds itself increasingly divided.  The old guard will look with suspicion and derision on those who go by the new, informal name.  While those who use the new name will paint those who cling to the term "Southern" as out-of-touch, anti-progress rednecks.

6)  In the grand scheme of things, the name of the denomination isn't going to make a big difference one way or the other.  We live in a post-denominational era.  Local churches that boldly teach the Word of God, evangelize, and love on people will be healthy and strong regardless of what denomination they're affiliated with.  Those that don't, wont.

7)  We as Southern / Great Commission Baptists can call ourselves whatever we want, but if we don't humble ourselves before God, and find a way to work together, we will soon be irrelevant.  We need to remember that God doesn't need us, but rather we need Him!

What are your thoughts?