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Cooperation Group concluding ‘research’ phase, will reconvene in January

NASHVILLE (BP) — Meetings that revealed members as “a collection of historians, constitutionalists, and theologians all rolled into one” have led to “rich conversations” and “earnest discussions” for gatherings geared toward the research for the Cooperation Group, said Chairman Jared Wellman in an update issued today (Dec. 6).

“As we near the end of our research phase, it has become obvious that this was about more than research; it was a quest to grasp the essence of our past and how it shapes our now,” he said.

The group had released two previous updates. The first reported on its first meeting and outlined a four-stage approach prior to delivering its report at the SBC Annual Meeting next summer. The next update asked for Southern Baptist churches to complete a survey for the research process.

Meetings took place in person and over “many hours” on Zoom calls.

The time, Wellman wrote, was spent “digging deep into the roots of what it means to be in ‘friendly cooperation’ as Southern Baptists” per the SBC Constitution, specifically Article 3.1.

December will be considered “a sabbatical phase … for rest and reflection” prior to reconvening in January and embarking on the group’s second phase – developing recommendations.

“Our aim is to share our findings well ahead of the 2024 Southern Baptist Convention,” added Wellman, “giving messengers enough time to ponder and pray over them.”