The Skinny on the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force Report

Today is the BIG day! At the Annual Meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in Florida, The Great Commission Resurgence Task Force Report [read it here] is presented and voted on. Quite historic, actually. Big Al Mohler wrote some thoughts last week on how important this document might be for the future of the Southern Baptists. I agree.

As for me, I was thrilled to read the report when it was released and I give it a tall skinny thumbs up!! I won’t be present at the Annual Meeting this year, keeping up a perfect record of absence since 1999, so obviously I cant vote in person, but I hope it goes through.

The greatest jump in my opinion is allowing the IMB (International Mission Board) to play in the USA, something that has been off limits due to an understanding that IMB does foreign missions overseas and NAMB focus on the home country. This actually is the biggest reason why we did not finalize our application with IMB back in 1999 – we felt God’s call toward a people group that spanned the globe, including USA, and that didn’t work with the geographical limits of the IMB. Not to worry, we managed to find funding in other places, most of the time, and that allowed us to partner with other groups in a way that would have impossible if we were representing IMB rather than The Boaz Project. But this report gives me hope if there will be a place for families like ours in the future, and a greater cross-pollination of IMB with NAMB and, hopefully, with other less obvious Southern Baptist ministries like ours.

What I would have liked to have seen is evidence that the IMB will also make some changes in its budget and strategy, allowing for the sweeping changes in the mission landscape which challenge it to a greater level of cooperation with other mission entities, and allow a more holistic measurement criteria in its ministries. Mohler was right to suggest that Southern Baptists not “choose business as usual” but in fact, Southern Baptists working overseas must also demonstrate an equal measure of boldness, eagerness and faithfulness.

But that’s for another moment. For today, lets hope the report gets a big thumbs up from everyone.

Related on TSK:
Did God send Jamie Oliver to the Southern Baptists?
Highlights from the Baptist World Alliance Congress

Andrew

Andrew Jones has been blogging since 1997. He is based in San Francisco with his two daughters but also travels the globe to find compelling stories of early stage entrepreneurs changing their world. Sometimes he talks in the third person. Sometimes he even talks to himself and has been heard uttering the name "Precious" :-)

1 Comment

  • I actually disagree. The separation is not as artificial as people say. Perhaps, though, our understanding of mission is deficient. IMB does what local SBC churches cannot do overseas because they lack geographic proximity. In other words, there is no distinction between evangelism and missions, ontologically. They are one and the same. They are different practically though. Ralph Winter came up with a rubric for understanding different levels of missions: E-0; E-1; E-2; E-3. E-0 is evangelism to a group of those calling themselves Christians, E-1 is evangelism to people in the same culture, E-2 to close culture and E-3 is cross-cultural evangelism. Its evangelism at every level but will look different in each case. Local churches are called to all three! And all three can be done in the US by local churches because they live within geographic proximity of each level of culture–due to living in a flat world. However, local SBC churches do not live in geographic proximity to peoples living outside of NAm. So out of a concern for the gospel but largely for practical reasons, we have an international mission board that works with peoples outside of the US. And the missionaries are representatives, not of the SBC!!!, but of local churches. The imb and other organizations serve a practical logistical function in supporting these representatives (ambassadors).
    So what practical reason is there for sending imb into NAmerica other than saying we are going to do this so local churches don’t have to (or because they aren’t?)?
    We don’t want the imb supplanting the ministry of the local church. We need them to serve as our ambassadors overseas!
    The main issue here is that for the most part the imb and other international missionaries live separately from their local churches. If our missionaries were “connected” with their true sending body, then we might see the world change much quicker than any increase in imb involvement could ever do.
    -Wes

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