Strict//EN" ""> EAGLES' REST: Aim Low, Boys, They're Ridin' Shetland Ponies

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Aim Low, Boys, They're Ridin' Shetland Ponies

Some last thoughts about the GCRTF Report .. preliminary .. which leads me to believe they may change some things before the "Final Report" is published.

Judging by the reactions I've seen, I'd be surprised if they didn't!

For one thing, issuing a call to repent is a good thing, I suppose, unless you couch it in intangibles and generalities. Sort of like 2 Chronicles 7:14 .. which I think is misused, anyway, in connection with "revivals", which is another term I think is misused.

By the way, did you ever hear the story about the church of some other denomination, that had an infestation of a rare variety of squirrel? Hundred and hundreds of them running all over, to the point that they couldn't hold services there. They'd catch them and release them miles away, and they'd come back anyway. They couldn't get rid of them, until they heard about the Baptist church that had experienced the same problem. So .. they went to see the pastor, and asked him how they got rid of the problem. His answer?

"Simple .. we had a business meeting, voted them all in as members, and we haven't seen them since .. other than a few at Christmas and Easter."

PLAIN FACT: God is the source of supply in the SBC. People and money. I can't speak about all the money .. although I've seen enough excesses in the SBC already to give me an opinion about that long before the GCRTF Report came out .. but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to count the numbers and discern we've completely booted it with half (or more) of the people God's sent us.

To the point that people make JOKES about it!

I didn't see one word about that problem, in the report. Not ONE word! And any report which purports to address the problems of the SBC and its declining numbers, and doesn't start by reporting the lousy job SBC Churches have done, collectively, in discipleship, isn't apt to hold my attention too long.

But I did read it nonetheless.

Secondly, any such report which includes any recommendations, where the recommendations do not include any designed to remedy the situation with the non-discipling of millions of members, has a serious second strike against it.

Minor example: I heard an SBC pastor remark once that a couple he'd visited hadn't been in church for 17 years. But .. they were "saved and loved the Lord .. they just hadn't been in church in 17 years". How'd the church that took them in, as members, 17 years ago, do on that personal instruction, by Jesus, to "make disciples"? And what does that say for our expectancy of behavior on people who profess to "love the Lord"?

Thirdly, there is absolutely nothing in the report which is apt to produce an increase in CP giving, a better attitude among the churches toward the CP, or a more favorable ministry future for the State Conventions.

Several people whom I respect are most favorably disposed toward the Task Force Report. That's OK. I don't mind at all, seriously.

That's probably because I'm 71, and may not live long enough to see the total collapse of the SBC .. as the cooperating venture among autonomous Southern Baptist Churches .. and the formation of another body by those churches who see the handwriting on the wall, written there by a bunch of guys who seem not to want to support the Cooperative Program beyond token measures.

I have an idea. Let's adopt their attitude, only let's apply it to the local churches. Let's celebrate all the giving of our church members, both to the churches and also to their favorite charities.

How would that go over with the bulk of the SBC pastorate?

Saddest part: I doubt that anyone will have the gumption to call a spade a spade, at the convention. There will be polite discussion about the report, and I imagine it will pass by an overwhelming vote. After all, who wants to really admit they have been doing a lousy job, in their churches, all proud of their number of baptisms, without any realistic look at what the effect of those baptisms really was.

We talk and talk and talk about the meaning of baptism, in the Convention. Judging by the pride in the baptisms, and the collective shame over the massive decline in the numbers, baptisms generally haven't meant much to the people being baptized.

Not if making disciples has been what it's about.


At 8:53 AM, March 21, 2010, Blogger John Notestein said...

Thanks for your take on the report. Why is it, as people of the Bible, we put so much stock in numbers and little to no emphasis on discipleship? Is evey church's effectiveness based on numbers we get in the door, with little thought given to what happens after that? We stick them in a class and expect them to grow by osmosis I guess. Out church has over 2000 members but only about 500 attend weekly services. We have over 1600 enrolled in Bible study classes but rarely have over 500 attend those either. I guess once we get them 'saved', baptized, and entered in the accounting log, they're on their own and we're off to get the next one. No wonder the numbers go down; we don't take serious the mandate to disciple. Plus it't easier to record numbers than it is to disciple. There's no quantative data we can get from that!

At 12:13 PM, March 21, 2010, Blogger Rex Ray said...

You think our convention has problems – how about this? Last Sunday, our youth director left to go to work at another local church because our youth had dropped from about 18 to 4. Our SS of about 80 dropped to the 50’s. (Last Sunday was 40) It snowed last night that slowed me down to 40 mph going to church this morning, but it was locked up with no one there. I suppose there will be no on there tonight because there were only 7 last Sunday night.

I believe you saying, “After all, who wants to really admit they have been doing a lousy job, in their churches” hit the nail on the head.

At 4:07 AM, March 24, 2010, Anonymous Audubon Ron said...

The reason is pastors are apostate and the congregation hypocrites. Pastors are apostate b/c their board makes them preach “feel good” sermons paid for by the tithe and offering, which means cold hard cash 10%. And at some point in the sermon the pastor has to validate the congregation’s holiness when he’d rather say, “Grady, stop schtuping Velma, she’s not your wife and God thinks you two look like gerbils when you do that.”

According to Thoreau paraphrased, it is not the condition of his brother that ails the reformer, though it be that he be considered the holiest son of God is his private ail. (Those are the church ladies bunched up together on the church lady bench). Even Charles Stanley has crossed the line at the collection box with quotes from the Old Testament, b/c there ain’t much in the New that says anything about 10%. The other reason is no sooner is the “feel good” sermon over do we hear members bad-mouthing each other on the church steps. Bearing false witness includes gossip and tale bearing. It’s curious to me why an air conditioner hasn’t fallen on pastors and church goers in the middle of service as a punishment for their defiance. So, I can understand why God would not bless that. I also love God and quietly pray and have a much better relationship by not attending church, especially Southern Baptist.


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