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‘A Better Way Ahead’ –- alternate recommendations released by EC’s Chapman

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–A list of alternate recommendations to those of the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force have been released by Morris H. Chapman, president of the SBC Executive Committee.

The full text of Chapman’s recommendations follows:

A Better Way Ahead

A Response to the Reports of the Great Commission Task Force

Dr. Morris H. Chapman

President and Chief Executive Officer

Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention


If you are like me, you want to leave this year’s annual meeting with something we can all celebrate together! You want to declare victory in the power of the Lord. You may be asking, “What does the Lord expect of us now, at this moment? If I have reservations about the task force recommendations, are there no other options for me to consider? If I have concerns about their proposals, does this mean I am against the Great Commission? Is there no other way ahead?

I believe there is a better way. It is not one designed merely to slow our rate of decline as a Convention. No. It is a better way ahead. I hope you will be open to choosing that better way as an alternative to the task force recommendations.

Below is my suggested list of recommendations that I believe will chart a course of improvement for the Kingdom. Though they are just one man’s view, they are informed by long experience as a cooperating pastor and as the leader of the Executive Committee, a body designed by the Convention to weigh and test ideas and see how they move us to our goals. We all agree that we cannot stand still, for neither time nor opportunity does. We must be at work, for the fields are “white unto harvest” and “night comes when no man can work.”

If you agree with me that one or more of the following recommendations serve as a better platform for our Convention to move forward, I pray you will consider approaching a microphone and submitting one or more of them as a replacement amendment when the task force offers its recommendations for a vote.

Revival — Recommendation #1 (Replacing task force Recommendation #1)

That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in Orlando, Florida, June 14-15, 2010, ask all churches cooperating with the Southern Baptist Convention to set 2010-2011 as a year of prayer, including periodic emphases as each participating church may deem appropriate, calling upon our Lord for personal, local church, Convention-wide, and national revival and spiritual awakening.

Evangelism — Recommendation #2 (Replacing task force Recommendation #2)

That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in Orlando, Florida, June 14-15, 2010, ask the North American Mission Board, working in partnership with the state conventions, to develop a year-long, uniform, consistent, and intentional plan of evangelizing, including a mechanism for receiving reports from the churches each quarter of what God is doing through their local churches in terms of evangelism, for adoption by the Convention in its 2011 annual meeting and implementation during the 2011-2012 church year; and

That this Convention ask all churches cooperating with the Southern Baptist Convention to participate in this evangelism plan, during and after which reports may be produced, assessed and used to spur continuing evangelism in the communities surrounding each local church; and

That Lifeway Christian Resources and the North American Mission Board be requested to create and maximize the dissemination and use of appropriate materials for use by churches cooperating with the Southern Baptist Convention.

Missions Funding — Recommendation #3 (Replacing task force Recommendation #3)

That LifeWay Christian Resources be requested to amend the definition for the requested data field of “Total Missions Expenditures” in future Annual Church Profiles, beginning in 2010, so that the figure will include only contributions to the Southern Baptist family of missions and ministries.

NAMB — Recommendation #4 (Replacing task force Recommendation #4)

That the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention be commended for its past efforts in providing a comprehensive domestic ministry platform; and,

That the North American Mission Board be encouraged to continue to support Southern Baptist ministries by whatever means are most effective and specifically to cooperate with all Southern Baptist state conventions in reaching the lost in the United States and Canada, including appropriately proportioned ministries in high population centers, more rural regions, and new work states.

IMB and NAMB — Recommendation #5 (Replacing task force Recommendation #5)

That the Executive Committee be requested to study, and report back or recommend appropriately, the advisability of amending the North American Mission Board’s ministry statement, if necessary, to permit NAMB to request IMB assistance in training personnel and volunteers for reaching people groups in the United States without specifically reassigning any portion of the responsibility of domestic missions from NAMB to the IMB.

CP Promotion — Recommendation #6 (Replacing task force Recommendation #6)

That the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention and the state conventions be commended for their past efforts in collaborative promotion of the Cooperative Program and stewardship education, each undertaking its appropriate role, and that the Executive Committee be encouraged to continue its efforts to coordinate and cooperate with the Baptist state conventions in that promotion and education, and

That the Great Commission Task Force members who have increased their Cooperative Program participation levels be commended for so doing, and be encouraged to continue to lead as models for other Southern Baptist churches to follow in demonstration of confidence in the Cooperative Program.

Reallocation to IMB — Recommendation #7 (Replacing task force Recommendation #7)

That, in order to continue to move forward together toward the long-stated ideal of a 50/50 division of Cooperative Program receipts, the SBC’s state convention partners be formally requested to adopt, in their Fall 2010 meetings, a contextualized version of the Cooperative Program Advance Plan endorsed in 2006 by the CP Ad Hoc Committee and the Executive Committee and received by the Convention in the Executive Committee’s report, found on pages 196-198 of the 2006 SBC Annual, and

That, once most Cooperative Program receipts come from state conventions that have adopted such a plan of incrementally and consistently reaching parity with the SBC in Cooperative Program percentage division (50/50), the Executive Committee be requested to study and report or recommend to the Convention possible adjustments of the distribution percentages in the CP Allocation Budget.


What, then, would be the advantages of moving forward by adopting one or more of the foregoing suggestions rather than by approving the recommendations of the task force? I believe the advantages are these:

* As a Convention, we will have acknowledged that we wish to be intentional about examining ourselves in genuine humility and brokenness before God in prayer. Rather than merely espousing the need for revival, a point which our declining fruitfulness makes apparent to all but the most callous, we will be taking steps to bring ourselves before the Lord in contrition and submission.

* As a Convention, we will unify around the primary mission of personal evangelism. We will be concentrating our efforts toward producing uniform materials, actively soliciting church member involvement, and providing regular church training in the context of studying God’s Word. As a Convention, by limiting what our cooperating churches report under “Total Missions Expenditures” to Southern Baptist missions and ministries, we will be unashamedly confirming that we believe our missions and ministries are Kingdom-oriented and worthy of complete trust and priority, that our Cooperative Program should remain paramount as a metric of Convention involvement, and that no new name should be given to any category which might have the effect of undermining the Cooperative Program’s position as our central and preferred conduit of Great Commission giving.

* As a Convention, we will be re-emphasizing that we prefer to operate under a model where our ministry partners are respected, and our ministry subsidiaries are trusted, and capable of understanding and performing the initiatives we have identified and requested.

* As a Convention, we will have explicitly endorsed and encouraged the concept of parity in missions funding between the SBC and the various state conventions, and identified a specific plan to attain that goal.

* As a Convention, we will be moving forward saying that it takes all of us, together.

I lift these thoughts up to you as a fellow Southern Baptist, trusting you to know which of them are worthy, and trusting the Lord for the results and continued viability of our Convention.

Praying with you and for you, and for the SBC,

Morris H. Chapman

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