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.