News Articles

Cooperation Group holds first meeting, begins research process

NASHVILLE (BP) – The use of subgroups will factor prominently in the process of studying Southern Baptist documents and processes as well as gathering insights from the local, state and national levels of the Convention for a report on defining cooperation, said the chairman of the group commissioned for that assignment.

Psalm 77 will serve as background for guidance in the process, added Texas pastor Jared Wellman, in the 20-member Cooperation Group’s first updated released today, titled “Sub-Groups & Strategy.”

An emphasis is placed on verse 11, he wrote, which reads, “I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old.”

“This verse underscores the theme of finding hope and solace in God by reflecting on His faithfulness and power,” Wellman said, “even in the midst of present difficulties.”

In addition to updates, coopgroupupdates.com includes articles and columns for context.

“The website is simple, featuring just a few pages: a contact page, a page displaying the names and faces of the group, and a page for Southern Baptists to access updates related to our work on their behalf,” Wellman told Baptist Press. “Additionally, we have included the motion’s text on the landing page, and we are closely following its wording to guide our efforts, as it reflects the language adopted by the messengers.

“Our aim is to keep everyone well-informed about our work and direction so that they can be prayerfully prepared for June 2024.”

One subgroup will focus on Article 3 of the SBC Constitution and the Baptist Faith and Message while another will concentrate on Bylaw 8 and the Credentials Committee. An ad hoc group comprising those from the first two groups will reach out to Southern Baptists on the local, state and national levels for feedback on the topic of cooperation.

“Those groups will meet regularly,” the update said. The full group will then reconvene “to bring recommendations that have been thoroughly studied.”

The Cooperation Group will utilize a four-stage approach in bringing its final recommendations in Indianapolis:

  • Research (September-December)
  • Recommendations (January-March)
  • Refinement (April-May)
  • Resolution (June)

All updates will be shared through the website.

The Cooperation Group’s formation grew out of a motion at the SBC annual meeting in New Orleans calling for the study of what it means for churches to be “in friendly cooperation on questions of faith and practice.” Per that motion, SBC President Bart Barber announced in August that Wellman would lead the group. The remaining members were named last month.