GCR’s Floyd: Take ‘honest look’ at SBC
    August 27 2009 by Mark Kelly, Baptist Press

    ROGERS, Ark. — Southern Baptists need to quit believing what they read about themselves and realize that America is becoming more lost every day, the chairman of the denomination’s Great Commission Resurgence Task Force says.

    Task force members are being bombarded with information about where Southern Baptists are today, Ronnie Floyd told a group of more than 400 pastors and laypeople Aug. 26 at the Church at Pinnacle Hills in Rogers, Ark., but complex statistics must be understood if the task force is going to be able to identify where the denomination needs to go.

    “Our commission is to reveal the honest and true status of this denomination,” Floyd told the group at the opening of the task force’s first “listening session” for rank and file Southern Baptists. “We can’t go where we need to go if we don’t really understand where we are.... (Southern Baptists) probably need to stop believing all we read about ourselves and take an honest look at who we really are.”

    While God is moving in “unbelievable” ways through Southern Baptist missions work overseas, Floyd said the reality is that many churches in the United States are plateaued or declining in membership and the denomination baptized fewer people in 2008 than far fewer congregations baptized in 1950. “We have more people and more resources than we have ever had and we are doing less with it to reach the lost, unchurched people of America,” Floyd said.

    Southern Baptists need to re-establish the primacy of the local church and focus on creating a new generation of leaders who can take the convention to new levels of Great Commission effectiveness, Floyd said.

    “We need to see that the headquarters of this denomination is not in Nashville or any state convention office but in one place: in every pulpit — whether they have 20 people in the facility or 20,000, that is the headquarters of the Southern Baptist Convention,” Floyd said.

    “Our focus in this denomination must be to release the future generations to do greater things than any of us have done or could ever do,” Floyd said. “If we’re going to be honest today, we’re not even sure that generation behind my generation even wants what we have to offer. If we want to reach future unchurched Americans, we are going to have to create a generation of leaders who want what this denomination can do, has done and will do.”

    At the same time, however, Floyd said Southern Baptists need to focus on taking the gospel to people groups around the world that have yet to hear.

    “We want to see a resurgence to the Great Commission resulting in seeing the nations exalting Jesus Christ. That’s the heart of every one of us in our group. That’s where we start,” Floyd said. “As chairman, I have one commitment: I am going to keep our focus on getting the gospel of Jesus Christ to every nation, every people group in the world.”

    Floyd told a story about George Fraser, an English missionary who worked among the Lisu people group in China for five years without seeing any results. Fraser was discouraged and on the verge of giving up, but his prayer supporters encouraged him to stay and wait for a breakthrough, Floyd said. Fraser saw 600 people saved and baptized over the course of the next four months. When persecution of the church began after the communist revolution, the Lisu believers were scattered and continued making disciples, to the point that today there are an estimated 300,000 Lisu believers in China.

    “What if George Fraser had not gone to that unreached people group? What if he had not been sent?” Floyd asked. “Today in the world there are 1.6 billion people who have absolutely no access to the gospel at all. That’s what this task force is all about.”

    Danny Akin news
    An unspecified medical condition that will entail colon surgery prevented Daniel Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, from attending the Aug. 26 meeting of the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force in Rogers, Ark.

    A statement released Aug. 26 by the seminary reported: “Dr. Akin is currently under the care of a doctor and is resting at home, but is looking at colon surgery in the near future for a non-life threatening medical condition.”

    Akins’ condition was noted at the outset of a luncheon and question-and-answer session open to pastors and media. In addition Floyd, SBC President Johnny Hunt and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. fielded questions from the audience.

    (EDITOR’S NOTE — Kelly is an assistant editor with Baptist Press.)

    8/27/2009 2:34:00 AM by Mark Kelly, Baptist Press | with 4 comments

Brent Hobbs
Oh my, if we could just return to the good 'ole days when "each church did its own thing." Sounds like a phrase right out of the book of Acts.

Gene, I think the record is broken. All I hear is the same song over and over again.
8/31/2009 5:26:56 PM

Gene Scarborough

Take a good look at an insider's revelations about why the SBC is failing these days!
8/31/2009 11:10:16 AM

Dr. James Willingham
Better yet, let us pray for another Great Awakening, the Third one, the one that wins the whole world with persuasion and not manipulation, with gracious and not churlish ways. The ferment now ging on could well be the prelude to such a visitation. A like ferment was going on in the days of the First and Second Great Awakenings along wih the origins of the Great Century of Missions. Could the same be said for malaise, fermenting, yeasty ways and things today? God grant that it might be so.
8/28/2009 4:25:52 PM

Gene Scarborough
Once upon a time there was great Baptist growth. Each church did its own thing under the banner of local church Autonomy. There were leaders who came up with slogans like "A Million More in 54." The great church was one which gave, at least, 10% to missions and trusted the leaders to use it wisely.

The Associations were promoting the start of new mission churches. In growing cities like Atlanta there was great joy over 10-20 new mission starts sponsored by the bigger churches. The churches where population growth had completed now started churches in the adjoining new neighborhoods which used to be open fields of cows or woods. Everyone seemed to be moving to Atlanta. Robust growth was a source of pride among the Baptists of the area.

Then a young and ultra-conservative young associate Pastor conned his way into the pulpit of a great mission church which actually gave 50% of its budget to missions! It was one of the top 10 giving churches of the whole SBC. Suddenly, in 1 year, its mission giving went to almost nothing and the people kept quiet. Many left and joined a new Baptist church where they lived. They were heart broken to leave the comfort of their big church, but they still cared enough about reaching people for Christ. Their energy and giving were shared with the suburban new church.

The new Pastor of that great old church had plenty of money to buy time at a new UHF TV station. There was lots of money to buy buses and bring people in from the suburbs. His church was going to be greater than it ever was with new members who knew nothing about its heritage nor that of its Convention, State or National. That preacher certainly was not going to attend the Associational Pastor's Conference. He could do it on his own! He was the new "King" of a new Staff. He had a new way of "glorifying God" under his total control.

There were many new converts. They loved that big church building. They were telling everyone who didn't ride the bus to watch them on TV. "You can find God at home without having to dress up and come--just give to the address printed at the end of the church show! We are the best Baptist church in Atlanta so don't waste your time going anywhere else!"

That big church suddenly found itself in the local paper depicted as a "growing renewed church." Nothing was said about the change in where money was going. They were content to trust the preacher. He was, after all, called of God to change things for the better!

Some 20 years later, that new preacher was elected president of the SBC. His church had been recognized as a model for church growth and the "new" way of being a Southern Baptist. The preacher ruled his staff with total obedience or they were gone in no time. The money was building by leaps and bounds, but nothing changed in mission giving--until the preacher was criticized for being Convention President without giving much to missions. They bumped it a few percent to look better. It never came close to the 50% they gave before the new preacher.

Then, another 20 years later this kind of church and preacher was everywhere. They were proud of how things had changed! They just hadn't noticed how few people wanted to be called "Baptist" anymore. Their takeover tactics had been full of criticism of the old leaders and the old ways. Not a single "old head" was around, but there were plenty of heads rotting in the corners everywhere. No current leaders noticed the odor, but the people who were not going to their churches could smell the stench of death and mutilation.

They were not fooled. The were joining other churches which still cared more about people than money. Like, GM, they complained about "foreign imports," but did nothing to change their ways. "Who cares about the competition when we have the name and we are made in America," was their rationale. "Any good American will buy us and the imports do not have a chance to survive. We are the only way ride, if you are a good Republican citizen!"

Sadly, no one was going to dictate anymore to an autonomous citizen and his own hard earned money. Sadly, it had been over for many years and no one noticed their mistakes in changing and no one wanted to go back to the simple days of the 50's when GM reigned along with Ford and Chrysler and Southern Baptists in the south.

Oops, the South no longer had many people being civil and saying, "Yawl" either!!!

"Will the last good southerner bring the Confederate and Christian flag from the Capital!"
8/28/2009 7:23:21 AM

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