Myth #6: Many members of the GCRTF are fundamentally opposed to the work of local associations and state conventions.
The GCR has always been about energizing and mobilizing Southern Baptists to get the gospel to the unreached peoples of the world and the underserved regions of North America, and to do so as effectively and efficiently as possible. Nothing more and nothing less is the goal and agenda of this movement. If something stands in the way or hinders this then it needs to change or be set aside as unhelpful and unnecessary to our obedience in fulfilling the Great Commission.
Our world is changing and it is changing rapidly. It is a herculean effort for all of us to keep up. However, if Southern Baptists are going to be useful to God for the future advancement of His kingdom we will have to change. Again, business as usual is not working and it has not been working for a long time. A changeless gospel for an ever changing world must be a fundamental principle that guides our convention of churches if we are to have a viable future in God’s glorious plan to bring the nations to the throne of the Lamb (Rev 7:9-17).
The members of the GCRTF want to be helpful not harmful to our associations and state conventions. We want to serve them. Further, we recognize that we cannot direct them to do anything. Our polity is clear. We can make suggestions that we believe would be helpful to them that we would hope that they would give prayerful consideration. I suspect that we may do something like this. How they respond will be their decision.
The bottom-line is our local associations and state conventions do many good things. The more important and crucial question for them, as well as all our national agencies and entities is, “are we doing the best things for the advancement of the gospel and the evangelization of the nations? All of us, and again I reiterate all of us, must (we should!) be willing to ask hard questions that our churches, with a growing chorus, are demanding we ask. After all, we serve them, they do not serve us.
The GCRTF is not the enemy of our associations, state conventions or national agencies. I believe we are their friend. And, sometimes friends say hard or tough things to their friends because they love them and are concerned for their welfare. This is our heart for all entities of our convention. We want them to have a significant future. We want them to excel for the glory of God. We want them to experience their best days in the future for the advancement of the gospel and the fulfilling of the Great Commission.
Will that require all of us asking hard questions? Yes. Will that require us making hard but necessary decision? Yes. Will that require us saying no to some good things that we might say yes to the best things? Yes. Does that mean the future shape, ministries and priorities for many of us will have to change? Almost certainly. The time is right for Southern Baptists to move from good to great, from good to better and best.
Our Task Force believes we really have no other option. From what we are hearing across our Convention, so do most Southern Baptists. It is clear that is what 95% of our people thought in Louisville. Our pledge is to respond as best we can to what our people have asked us to do. Our prayer is we will be joining hands across the whole spectrum of SBC life to see great things come to pass for the glory of God and the good of the nations. On this I believe we can all shout “Amen!”