Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> EAGLES' REST: The GCRD Task Force: A Personal Rant

Thursday, August 06, 2009

The GCRD Task Force: A Personal Rant

I'm all for doing things well, and even for stopping your wood-chopping, from time to time, to sharpen your ax. But there's something about the GCRD Task Force that I really don't get.

First, I'm guessing the impetus behind it is the trend we're seeing in several "key indicators" across the SBC. Things like seminary enrollment, church growth/attendance, baptisms, shortage of money almost everywhere, and statistics on divorce etc, which rival the unchurched. I'm sure you can add other things to the list.

If that's the case, I have to ask how SBC entity structure has a lot to do with that. I have to ask whether the organizational structure of NAMB and IMB affect the local church's effort to evangelize the lost, and to encourage their membership to be faithful in their giving and their daily actions as Christians.

On the matter of Baptisms: that seems the responsibility of the local church. The church ... not the SBC/IMB/NAMB/SWBTS, etc etc ... and the responsibility stems from Bibical instructions to the local church. Hence, I fail to see where the greater entity can bear responsibility for local members reaching neighbors, local preachers preaching the gospel, and souls being led to faith in Jesus, locally. AND being discipled as to how they are to live their lives as Christians.

As to membership vs attendance: doesn't that say something about what's happening from the pulpits? And in church discipline? And about "membership requirements"; i.e. how the churches are receiving members?

As to giving, the CP, all that: if we really believe what we preach about God being our source of supply, shouldn't we view the whole money thing as being a reflection on how the local churches are discipling people, etc.? Which might well have a direct effect on God's favoring the local work with the money it thinks it needs to carry out its task?

If those things are true, what does the "denominational structure" of the SBC have to do with it? It seems to me that a key to all this is what the SBC expects of its member churches, and I think Les Puryear is onto something (in a roundabout way) in his dissertations about the scarcity of small-church leaders' involvement in the high profile boards he's been blogging about. While I think there is ample good reason to choose larger church pastors (that'd be another blog post, though), the tendency to appoint those from the larger churches speaks to me about what the SBC expects of its' member churches.

Grow and get big.

Methinks the GCRD and the Task Force, with its projects in hand, is a lot like the rocking chairs in front of Cracker Barrel (or, as Ed Stetzer puts it, the Garage Sale with Food...): they're going to give some people something to do, but they're not going to take anybody anywhere.

11 Comments:

At 1:28 PM, August 07, 2009, Blogger Chris Ryan said...

Bob,

Good thoughts. But your underlying premises are that the local church is the SBC headquarters and that the local church is autonomous. In recent years, the trend has been anything but.

I agree that it seems many problems the GCR is meant to address would go away if local churches would simply do their jobs in evangelism and discipleship. But increasingly if you are not doing evangelism or discipleship the way that the Exec. Committee or certain seminary presidents (etc.) would like to see it done, your church will be further and further alienated from the good resources which the SBC can offer to aid you.

Unlike the GCRD, I don't think that the first step is streamlining the national structures. Unlike what I see you proposing here, I don't think the first step is calling the local church to step up. I think our first step has to be figuring out how to back the SBC out of the local church's business so that they can evangelize and disciple their locality as best they see fit.

 
At 4:12 PM, August 07, 2009, Anonymous Lee said...

You're right on target. The SBC is its churches. And the fact of the matter is that top-down programs, while they may serve as reminders, or help to prompt churches to do things differently because that is something that is needed, have little to no effect. There are 45,000 individual churches out there, each one of them with its own unique set of problems, difficulties and issues, and from a purely Biblical perspective, the only thing I can see that will turn the specific statistics that seem to be causing most of the alarm--membership and baptisms--around would be a genuine revival of the Holy Spirit in all 45,000 of them simultaneously. That's what is at the root of the problem, IMHO.

It is interesting that the task force is heavy with megachurch pastors. The megachurches are part of the problem. A recent article in the Baptist Standard pointed out that they get 97% of their members by transfer from other congregations. What they are doing is sucking the life out of smaller churches nearby, while their numerous members do little more than sit in a pew for an hour three Sundays a month and enjoy the entertainment. Oh, they may write a check every now and then if they remember. But they're generally not involved in ministry because the church is big enough to have "professionals" do all that. Most SBC megachurches do not share nearly as large a percentage of their undesignated gifts as the smaller churches do, hence, you have a drop off in CP support.

Ironic, isn't it?

 
At 5:17 PM, August 07, 2009, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...

Chris, thanks for looking in and commenting.

The local church is under biblical mandates to do what it's supposed to do. And I don't think it needs a lot of higher-up resources to carry it out, either. If the membership of churches, no matter the size, simply learned to live as Christians, and act like it, and be always ready to give a reason for their hope, and be as happy to be Christian as they are to be married, single, parents, and all, then the world would see a lot that it needs to see. And apparently doesn't, much, now.

Lee,

It's more ironic than that, even. If megachurches get most of their members from smaller churches, what does that say about what the smaller churches are doing? What is it they're getting at the big ones they're not getting at the small ones?

I think I'll ask Ed Stetzer if he's got any numbers as to dollar support of the CP, broken down by size of church. That might be interesting to know. But not interesting enough for me to go through 45,000 entries in the big book to find out, I guess.

Thanks for the comment.

 
At 12:16 PM, August 13, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is what I think is the problem. We have for years in the SBC put our emphasis on Baptism and failed to put emphasis on the rest of the great commission which sitting at the convention and listening to Dr Hunt and all they are still putting the emphasis on baptism and failing to put it on the great commission which involves three things. 1. Evangelism, 2 baptism and 3 discipleship. We have got em wet but we fail to grow many of them.

 
At 12:37 PM, August 17, 2009, Blogger A. Amos Love said...

Bob - Pardon the interuption. Mega church,
local church, SBC/IMB/NAMB/SWBTS?

Quite a challenge, serving more than one master?

Hmmm?
Can’t seem to find “local church” in the KJV;
Or the others; Did we miss something?

When you hear words that are not in the Bible?
don’t you wonder why we use them?
and where they came from?

Isn’t it challenge enough understanding?
the truth of the words that are written?
How much harder word's that we make up?

Doesn’t the Bible warn us about;

The commandments of men?

The doctrines of men?

The philosophies of men?

The traditions of men
that make the Word of God
of non effect?

Making the word of God of none effect
through your tradition...
Mark 7:13

Hmmm? A simple word, church?
What do most people understand
the word “church” to mean?

Building with a steeple?
Is that in the Bible?

Pastor in a pulpit preaching to people in pews?
Is that in the Bible?

That’s what the world thinks,
the unbeliever, isn’t it?

Isn’t that what the so called “local church”
has accomplished with four buildings on
four corners in a lot of “local towns?”

Haven't we deceived the people
we’re supposed to be reaching out to?

How many will know that “The Church of God?”
The ekklesia of God? The called out one’s of God?

Are the habitation of God? Where He dwells?

The redeemed of the Lord? By His blood.

The body of Christ? Purchased with His blood.

The Israel of God?

And Jesus is the head of the body the church?

Does God dwell in buildings made with
the hands of men? Or does He dwell in us?

Did Jesus shed His blood for;
a building, a denomination,
an institution, an organization, a corporation?
Should we call a corporation, The Church?

Will people know that “The Church of God?”

Are kings and priests unto God?

The bride of Christ?

The servants of Christ?

The sons of God?
Led by the spirit? Or led by man?

Disciples of Christ?
Learners and students of Christ?

Ambassadors for Christ?

How many will know, in the Bible,
no one ever went to church?
How many will know, in the Bible,
you become “the Church?”
And hear His voice? And follow Him?

Out of heaven he made thee to hear his voice,
that he might instruct thee.
Deuteronomy 4:36

Church? Hmmm?

I will build my church

the Lord added to the church

great fear came upon all the church

great persecution against the church

Saul, he made havock of the church,
entering into every house

they assembled themselves with the church

Herod the king stretched forth his hands
to vex certain of the church

and had gathered the church together

And being brought on their way by the church

they were received of the church

set them to judge who are least esteemed
in the church. Hmmm? Must be a misprint?

If therefore the whole church
be come together into one place

Christ is the head of the church

Christ also loved the church,
and gave himself for it

feed the church of God,
which he hath purchased
with his own blood

gave him to be the head
over all things to the church

the church is subject unto Christ

he is the head of the body, the church

And other sheep I have,
which are not of this fold:
them also I must bring,
and they shall hear my voice;
and there shall be one fold,
and one shepherd.
John 10:16

One Fold - One Shepherd - One Voice.

If Not Now, When?

In His Service. By His Grace.

 
At 1:08 PM, August 17, 2009, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...

Amos: Ask the Apostle Paul. He sent some letters to some local churches.

And you used the word "Bible". I don't find the word "bible" in the bible, but I won't question your use of it.

Thanks for reading and commenting.

 
At 5:03 PM, August 17, 2009, Blogger A. Amos Love said...

Bob - Thanks for the advice.

You're right.

Bible is not in the Bible. { ; o )
Good one. Learn something every day.

But if it's okay with you, I'll not be asking Paul.

I think there's something about not
consulting dead people in "the word of God."
I 'm not sure if that refers to Paul or not
but why take the chance.

You never know who your really contacting.

I'll try and keep the communion, fellowship,
with Jesus and hearing His voice.

Be blessed

 
At 10:43 AM, August 21, 2009, Blogger A. Amos Love said...

Bob

I apologize for barging in on your “personal rant”
the other day about this “Task force.”

I’m an outsider now looking at what goes on in
“the Institutional Church system” and how many
frustrations arise with those who love the Lord
and want to serve Jesus..

My heart really does ache. I’ve seen over and
over again how “the traditions of men” have
made “the word of God of non effect.”

Mark 7:13
KJV - Making the word of God of “none effect”
through your tradition...

ASV - Making “void” the word of God by your tradition...

NIV - Thus you “nullify” the word of God by your tradition...

After awhile we don’t even question if it is
God ordained or “the traditions of men?”
We just go along with the crowd.

And if you see something that doesn’t look right
and you can’t go along with the crowd
you wind up jousting with windmills.
Mythical giants in a mythical land.

I do have a fondness for the Baptists.
Back in 1977 I was living in Houston and
my boss invited me to a tuesday lunch and Bible study
in a Baptist basement in downtown Houston.

It was the first time I saw people enjoying themselves
and talking about God. It got my attention.
The food was good also. All you could eat for $2.00.

Their building had been sold so a new office building
could be built and they had built a new facility
that had a five thousand (5,000) seat sanctuary. Huge!

They really do, do things big in Texas.

It took a few more months but Jesus became real to me.

Now, as I watch from a distance, I observe
these frustrations in many who try to serve
a denomination and serve their Lord.

You wrote;

“If those things are true, what does the
"denominational structure" of the SBC
have to do with it? It seems to me that
a key to all this is what the SBC expects
of its member churches, and I think Les Puryear
is onto something (in a roundabout way)
in his dissertations about the scarcity of
small-church leaders' involvement in
the high profile boards he's been blogging about.
While I think there is ample good reason
to choose larger church pastors
(that'd be another blog post, though),
the tendency to appoint those from
the larger churches speaks to me about
what the SBC expects of its' member churches.

Grow and get big.”

If you’re interested I’d like to comment on what you said.

If not I’ll understand.

Be blessed.

P.S.

Look what I found.

Could this count for bible being in the bible? { ; o )

Strongs #975 “biblion” (bib-lee'-on)

KJV - book 29, bill 1, scroll 1, writing 1; 32

1) a small book, a scroll, a written document
2) a sheet on which something has been written


Strongs #976 “biblos’ (bib'-los)

KJV - book 13; 13

1) a written book, a roll, a scroll

 
At 2:28 PM, August 21, 2009, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...

AAL: I'm assuming your heart's in the right place, in light of your apology. I ALWAYS accept apologies, as they indicate someone may feel the need to do that, but you needn't apologize to me. No harm, no foul, no offense.

But thanks, regardless.

You mentioned frustrations. I have many, with this body of mine, but nothing about church or the SBC is frustrating. I find it more amusing than anything.

And, since I read the NIV, occasionally the HCSB, NAS and KJV, "Bible" still isn't in there. But I did know about biblos and its other forms.

One of the keynotes of our Southern Baptist confession it the autonomy of the church and the priesthood of the believer. Hence all the traditions and folderol really don't affect me and I don't go along with them (I never refer to a "revival service") and in fact I'm going to post about that next.....

The SBC national structure is there only to help local churches fulfill the "great commission". It's not hard to see how far we've drifted from that, but I've done what I can and will continue to do so via my involvement in affairs SBC (or at least the ones that are open to me).

Your comments are civil so they are certainly welcome here.

God bless.

 
At 4:56 PM, August 21, 2009, Blogger A. Amos Love said...

Bob

You wrote;

“You mentioned frustrations.
I have many, with this body of mine.”

I’m not sure what that means but,

I’d like to recomend a website to you.

“God’s Words of Comfort and Healing”

web.me.com/love101

Lots of info about prayer and healing.
Mostly from “The Word of God.”

Sickness and dis...ease often starts
with a broken heart.

A merry heart does good like a medicine:
but a broken spirit dries the bones.
Proverbs 17:22

Isn’t that part of your immune system?
The marrow of the bones?
White blood cells?
Red blood cells?

Even if the sickness doesn’t start with
a broken heart, once your heart is healed
your immune system will work for you
and not against you.

A rule of thumb,
When you want to be healed
start with your heart.

And only Jesus can heal a broken heart.

Here are a few valuable “Words”
about your heart

1- Keep your heart with all diligence;
for out of it are the issues of life.  
Proverbs 4:23

2- A sound heart is the life of the flesh:
but envy the rottenness of the bones. 
Proverbs 14:30

3- A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance:
but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.  
Proverbs 15:13

4- A merry heart does good like a medicine:
but a broken spirit dries the bones.  
Proverbs 17:22

5- Hope deferred makes the heart sick:
but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life. 
Proverbs 13:12 

6- Men's hearts failing them for fear. 
Luke 21:26

7- Heaviness in the heart of man makes it stoop:
but a good word makes it glad.  
Proverb 12:25

8- He heals the brokenhearted,
and binds up their wounds.  
Psalm 147:3

9- Trust in the LORD with all your heart.
and lean not unto your own understanding.  
Proverbs 3:5

10- The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to preach the gospel to the poor;
he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted,
to preach deliverance to the captives,
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty them that are bruised.  
Luke 4:18

When your praying for healing
start with your heart.

Be Blessed.

 
At 8:12 PM, August 21, 2009, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...

Thanks, Amos, for your concern.

I'm well familiar with all the healing (etc) verses, particularly from my time hanging around he AoG.

I'm old and have arthritis, and I've had a prostatectomy, so I'll leave it to your imagination as to all the stuff I used to do, that I don't, any more.

And you'll probably not meet a more optimistic guy than me .. just not about all things SBC. I mean, glum guys seldom go to stuffing hot rod Chevrolet V8's in S-10 pickups, but that was my last project.

Not counting refreshing my 1983 Ramcharger 4X4 .. the one with the warmed-up 318...

 

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