LEXANA, Kan. (BP)–You can be pro-Cooperative Program and a GCR supporter. The two elements are not mutually exclusive. Who can argue that the Cooperative Program is a marvelous, God-centered entity that must be preserved? We can still accomplish more in missions as a team than as individuals.
As a former state convention employee, I can attest that diligent state strategists and missionaries accomplish valuable work for the Kingdom of God.
I love the Cooperative Program, but I love it enough to recognize that we must consider a structure that will allow it to flourish in perpetuity. The same dollar can and must go farther if the Cooperative Program is going thrive, much less survive.
It is easy to decry the bureaucracy of state and national government and yet avoid examination of our own programs. As we have done in every area of local church life, we must evaluate if our efforts are effective or simply repeating a cycle. Some of the most influential men in my life as a believer are currently state directors. I do not see a vote for GCR as reflection upon their ministry but rather as a chance to partner with greater effectiveness in the long run.
The next generation of SBC leaders is unquestionably missions-minded. How can you read or hear the words of a J.D. Greear or a David Platt and not be challenged to be “on mission” as a believer? They need a Cooperative Program that they can champion and not one that they have to question in terms of its effectiveness.
Here are three questions to consider before the vote at the SBC Convention:
1) Is my vote reflective of Holy Spirit conviction based upon the study of Scripture?
2) Can I justify my vote to my local church body?
3) Am I willing to work as a team no matter the result?
These three basic questions can help us with unity before and after the convention. I am voting in favor of GCR because I see it as a positive step toward improved effectiveness and in placing a greater emphasis on the local church as the primary “sender.” I am committing to not “taking my toys and going home” if I don’t get my way. I serve a great God under the leadership of an awesome senior pastor in a wonderful local church. I am learning more every day that God has called every believer to be “on mission.” Surely we can take our unity of purpose under a Great Commission and move forward.
Bill Shiflett is worship pastor for Lenexa (Kan.) Baptist Church.