GCR Myth #2: The goal of [certain members of] the Task Force is to turn North American church planting over to Acts 29 or to at least enter into a formal partnership with them.

This myth may be my favorite because of the incredible imagination needed to come up with it! The creative imaginations behind this myth deserve a medal. The fact is that Acts 29 has never been an item on the GCRTF agenda. In fact, I suspect a number of the Task Force members have never heard of Acts 29. Amazingly, this was my experience when meeting with leadership at NAMB several years ago. Acts 29 was unknown to them.

Now, several of us are appreciative of certain aspects, goals and strategies of Acts 29 and their passion for church planting. Do I think we can learn from them? Yes. Would I support a formal partnership? No. Would I support turning North American church planting over to them? Never! I am quite confident my feelings would reflect the sentiments of the rest of the GCRTF were our discussions ever to turn to Acts 29. Further, given some of the harsh rhetoric directed at Acts 29 and their leadership, I strongly suspect they are not all that interested in any kind of partnership with the SBC!

It may be the case that some SBC churches choose to partner with Acts 29. As local and autonomous bodies, that is their right and their decision. This is nothing new as for years now we have had SBC churches partner with the Willow Creek Association and Purpose Driven Churches.

So, can we expect a future wedding between Acts 29 and the SBC? Not likely, since they are not even dating!

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  1. Tim Rogers   •  

    Dr. Akin,

    I appreciate your dealing with these myths. It does seem that we are getting much information from what is going on with the GCRTF. I also believe you need to present your case to these guys, who come as close to any I have seen without making the recommendation.


  2. Bryan Rabon   •  

    Dr. Akin,
    Again, let me express my thanks to you and to the entire GCRTF for the work that you are engaged in. Unfortunately I have seen this particular myth on various web sites and blogs and I must say that I a spellbound by the creativity of some minds in the SBC. If they put that imagination to work on ways to win people to Christ maybe we would have more than 17% of the population in our churches on Sunday morning. But I am afraid for some it all comes down to dollars and cents. Like this article from Baptist Press http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?id=31410. Thanks again Dr. Akin.

  3. Joel Rainey   •  

    Thank you for this series of clarifications, in particular this one. Its funny how rumors occuring within the SBC that are spread at the national level are quickly replicated at the state and local levels. Regarding Acts 29, it is helpful to have SEBTS saying positive things about this network while simultaneously maintaining that any partnership in the future would be with CHURCHES, and not with the larger SBC.

    This is the approach we have used locally. When it comes to reaching cities like Baltimore, we need all of the expertise we can get. Our denomination is made up primarily of rural and suburban churches filled with blue-collar folks. Nothing wrong with that . . .I’m one of them! But if you want to reach the cities, you need theologically sound urbanites who understand it better than most Southern Baptists (including myself) do. This is where Acts 29 an be so helpful.

    The problem is that once we start the conversation, rumors fly that we are letting them “drive the train,”and then itisn’t long before that morphs into rumors of our church planters drinking, et. al. We are now at a place where we can have this conversation locally without too many fireworks, but the national SBC conversation about it hasn’t always been helpful. Thanks so much for making these clarifications. It makes the job of missionaries like me much easier than you know.

  4. Frank Gantz   •  

    Quote from above: “Amazingly, this was my experience when meeting with leadership at NAMB several years ago. Acts 29 was unknown to them.”

    Really? This is a pretty broad statement. I understand your point, but surely this can’t be totally accurate. How could the agency most responsible for church planting not be familiar with a major organization doing the same thing?

  5. Tim G   •  

    Dr. Akin,
    The information is extremely helpful. Thank you for taking the time to provide. I would point out that anyone who has been at a SBC Convention should have heard of Acts29 – unless they spent the majority of their time in the exibit area. This past year it was highly visible or should I say heard about!

  6. Louis   •  

    This is a crazy one.

    The task force would have more luck recommending that SBC churches use real wine at communions than grape juice.


  7. Nathan Akin   •  

    Tim Rogers,

    I cannot believe that I am having to write this response to your comment, but we NEVER came close to saying that church planting should be turned over to A29. We are saying exactly what Dr. Akin is saying here, that we can learn from them. So I am not quite sure what you are trying to imply about our series of posts, but we understand and like Dr Akin’s case.


  8. Matt   •  

    I would like to see more on the inability of the American church to fulfill the Great Commission while she and her funds are enslaved to idolatry and has no passion for the Glory of God, righteousness, and obedience. Grace and peace.

  9. Louis   •  

    With all due respect to Matt, I do NOT want to see a bunch of posts on the “inability of the American church to fulfill the Great Commission while she and her funds are enslaved to idolatry and has no passion for the Glory of God, righteousness, and obedience.”

    Challenges are fine. All churches, including the so-called “American church” (whatever that means) could do a better job of fulfilling the Great Commission.

    I believe that too many Southern Baptists focus so much on failure, what we do wrong, and beat themselves up over it. They actually like discussions about failure – all the time! This is a big downer. It’s like a church’s pastor constantly talking about why more people aren’t being baptized, why the church isn’t growing etc. He ends up beating up his congregation over and over again, and the congregation often likes it because they think they deserve it. But it produces no results. Also, all such discussions are really Narcissistic in the origins, because they are about us.

    I would like to see more posts about the glory of God, the cross, the Great Commission and how that is being fulfilled in many ways by people, churches and the SBC.

    That will inspire us to move forward.


  10. Tim Rogers   •  

    Brother Nathan,

    Sorry for the lateness in my reply. Please note what I stated in my comment to your Dad. I said you guys have come the closer than anyone I have seen to making a recommendation that we partner with Acts 29. I followed your series over at Baptist 21 and agree with much of what you present. Your conclusion article is one that I believe you push in the direction of partnering with Acts 29 in a church planting partnership. Why? Well, after you point to the strengths of the IMB you then mention that no Young Pastor will acknowledge NAMB as being something good to be associated with being Southern Baptist. The reason you give is that the IMB is “singular” in focus. You then advocate that the strength of the IMB–something Young Pastors like–is the same strength of Acts 29. In your logic you place Acts 29 in the same level of support for young pastors as you do the IMB. By that logic, since NAMB does not retain the level of support among young pastors they give to Acts 29 and the IMB, NAMB–our entity charged with church planting in North America–is not singularly focused like Acts 29. While you never recommended we enter into a church planting partnership with Acts 29 you certainly pointed them out as already doing what we should be doing. Thus, in a pragmatic world where efficiency is the buzz word, you seem to have spoken in favor of, but not recommended, Acts 29 as a great partner for SB to use for our church planting network.


  11. Matt   •  

    With the same due respect, Louis, I believe it is foolish for us to think that we can accomplish that which the Lord commands us in the Great Commission while we as the American church (i.e. those who profess Christ as Lord and God in America) disobey him with the manner in which we live our lives. Yes, there needs to be the positive message of Christ, the cross, and the glory of God that radiates from it, but it is a proclamation that demands change, namely obedience. What good is a cross that does not take us from death to life and makes us slaves to righteousness? What good is the mercy of God if it does not cause God’s people to be merciful? What good are the riches of God if it does not cause us to be rich toward others? Yes, proclaim the cross of Christ, but proclaim it with obedience and righteousness as its end. For that is why the work of Christ exists, namely that we, who are in him, fulfill the righteous requirement of the law (cf. Rm. 8:4).

    And we do need to be beaten over the head, because we are a lukewarm church. We profess Christ as God, yet we do not love righteousness and obedience. We profess Christ as our Lord, yet we neglect to do as he commands, viz. to take up our cross daily and to love others as we love ourselves. And this is the very reason why we do not fulfill the Great Commission, because we are in love with ourselves and our pleasures and luxuries so that we are not willing to sacrifice them for the sake of others and for the sake of the Gospel.

    In my opinion, dear friend, we have enough “positive” messages being preached to our congregations. The Gospel of deserting all for the sake of Christ needs to be reclaimed before any Great Commission resurgence will ever take place.

  12. Tim G   •  

    You comment is spot on. Anyone can be negative and tear down. Let’s talk about what we are doing right and what we need to do.

    I am one who is growing tired of the “younger this and younger that”. How about lets GET R DONE!

  13. Pingback: Who is Spreading Myths? :: SBC Today

  14. Elijah Elkins   •  

    Great comments everyone… I believe that what Acts 29 does (planting churches), they do well. If nothing more, we as Southern Baptists need to look at and learn from our Acts 29 brothers. They are very “successful” percentage wise. I think they’ve only had 2 failed plants overall. There would be a great deal of challenges in officially partnering with Acts 29, but no one in the SBC should condemn local church partnership with them or learning from Mark Driscoll for that matter… Let’s all keep praying for the GCR & Task Force, SBC, IMB, NAMB, and Acts 29. God is bigger than we all think, and He is doing big things in this upcoming generation of Christians.

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