July 9 2009 by Baptist Press

          NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--Four members have been added to the Great Commission task force appointed June 24 by Southern Baptist Convention President Johnny Hunt during the SBC annual meeting in Louisville, Ky.
     
          "After announcing the names of the GCR task force, I received feedback about the need for greater representation," Hunt said July 8 in a statement to Baptist Press. "I have added an African American who is a church planter, a Hispanic, an additional woman who also is familiar with the western region of the U.S. and a representative of the Northeast region.

          "I want Southern Baptists to know I heard their concerns and have responded," Hunt said.

          Added to the task force were:

          -- Larry Grays, senior pastor of Midtown Bridge Church in Atlanta. "This young, inner-city, African American church planter is being used by the Lord greatly," Hunt said. "I know him really well and have heard wonderful things about his life and leadership from other people as well."

          -- Ruben Hernandez, associate Spanish pastor at the Dallas-area Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano. "This Hispanic evangelical leader served in full-time evangelism until he joined the staff of Prestonwood and is now preaching their Spanish service, serving the people of Prestonwood," Hunt said.

          -- Kathy Ferguson, a women's ministry speaker whose late husband Rick was a pastor in Denver before his accidental death seven years ago. In August, she will marry Ed Litton, pastor of First Baptist in North Mobile, Ala., who lost his wife in an accident two years ago.

          -- John Cope, senior pastor of Keystone Community Fellowship in North Wales, Pa., near Philadelphia. "Pastor Cope planted his church eight years ago this fall, is now touching 1,100 people weekly and also has started five additional churches in these almost eight years," Hunt said. "With 25 percent of the American population living in the Northeast, we wanted a pastor-leader from that region."

          The task force will be chaired by Ronnie W. Floyd, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Springdale, Ark., and The Church at Pinnacle Hills in Rogers, Ark. The vote authorizing the task force charges them with studying how Southern Baptists can work "more faithfully and effectively together in serving Christ through the Great Commission."

          Besides Floyd and Hunt, the committee members appointed in Louisville were Jim Richards, executive director of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention; Frank Page, pastor of First Baptist Church in Taylors, S.C.; David Dockery, president of Union University in Jackson, Tenn.; Simon Tsoi, trustee of the International Mission Board and retired pastor; Donna Gaines, pastor's wife at Bellevue Baptist Church near Memphis, Tenn.; Al Gilbert, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, N.C.; J.D. Greear, pastor of The Summit Church in Durham, N.C.; Tom Biles, executive director of the Tampa Bay Baptist Association.; Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary; Al Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; John Drummond, a layman at St. Andrew Baptist Church in Panama City, Fla.; Harry Lewis, senior strategist for partnership missions and mobilization at the North American Mission Board; Michael Orr, pastor of First Baptist Church in Chipley, Fla.; Roger Spradlin, pastor of Valley Baptist Church in Bakersfield, Calif.; J. Robert White, executive director of the Georgia Baptist Convention; Ken Whitten, pastor of the Tampa-area Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz; and Ted Traylor, pastor of Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola, Fla.

    Compiled by Baptist Press assistant editor Mark Kelly.
    7/9/2009 2:03:00 PM by Baptist Press | with 8 comments




Comments
Chris Byrne
Matt, you are so right. The increased support for our Convention will come in the form of 100's from our smaller churches, not 100,000's from the larger ones. And isn't it hard to give freely when less than 25% of our CP support goes to our two primary Mission Boards after BSCNC and the SBC EC take thier share? We need the GCR!
7/13/2009 7:30:12 AM

Matt Ledbetter
I don't want my response to be misconstrued. I agree with the GCR. I am a proud historical recipient of the conservative resurgence. I'm not concerned with the political correctness of diversity. My concern is that those of us who don't have a voice, still might not have one. Once again, let me renew my support for Dr. Hunt and the GCR for the Convention. I think we are losing the focus of evangelism, missions, and ministry because of this "reformed" theology stuff, that will do nothing more than make ministers lazy. I do hope the SBC will remember that small churches are the backbone of any strategy, commission, or task force.
7/11/2009 3:13:34 PM

parkering
So, now there is an additional woman. 2 out of 22. What is wrong with this picture?
7/10/2009 10:02:13 PM

Norman
An additional comment.Sometimes even by peeling responsibility back to "the church" we are not peeling enough layers between us and ultimate responsibility. "The church" is us. I said above that each church must see itself as a Great Commission church. The next layer and most important layer is that each of us sees ourself as a Great Commission Christian. Part of the impatience bubbling up in new leaders is that my generation is overly invested in our local congregation and everything it takes to operate and maintain that system and organization for the comfort of its members. Would your church forgo painting the sanctuary for an additional gift to missions? The beauty and bane of our system that keeps anyone "at the top" from handing down edicts about what a church must do is that churches are autonomous. No SBC elected leader or staff member can tell a church to increase CP giving, or which literature to use in Sunday School. To move churches in that direction requires leaders to inspire us, to hold aloft a vision so compelling we gladly sacrifice to achieve it. Is the Great Commission Resurgence that vision? It could be. These next months with the work of the task force are vitally important. Ask God to inspire, unify and bless the members so they may present a report that prompts us to throw petty differences into the fire and march forward for Christ.
7/10/2009 10:01:19 PM

Norman
Although Johnny Hunt, Al Mohler and Danny Akin say they have no agenda in pursuing Article 9 of the Great Commission Resurgence document, they do. Their agenda is to find a way to get more money to international missions and to theological education. Until people in the pews are led, inspired, convicted, cajoled, guilted into giving more money and forwarding more money through Cooperative Progam giving, any additional funding to those two areas will come from some other CP recipient. It will be re-slicing the pie, rather than enlarging the bakery. One "re-slice" that gets voice in water cooler conversation is one that i understand has favor in Nashville. That is recommend that churches send their Cooperative Program gift completely and first to the Executive Committee in Nashville, which would allocate distribution to the SBC agencies and institutions -- and itself -- and then send an allocation to the state conventions. That would be insane and would kill the CP inside of a year. As Hunt says continually, the simple answer lies in each church. Until each church sees itself as a Great Commission church, and commits to doing its best to reach the world outside its walls, the speeches and sermons and studies from the SBC and its leadership will be rainfall off the roof, into the eaves and down the storm drain.
7/10/2009 9:43:41 PM

Stephen E Loftis
I agree with Matt. Diversity is good. And I think he may be on to something. It seems like the same-old-same-old continues from the days of the jugular cutting of the Patterson/Pressler coalition that used their own friends and chronies, and set up family members for places of "leadership" until those friends, chronies and family members had used up their usefulness. Watch out SBC & BSCNC! A new top-down, hierarchy is headed your way! This effort to "streamline" and improve functions is a vailed attempt to set up the SBC powerbrokers for more power. We'll soon see the paper papacy of baptist raised up before our eyes with Nashville edicting everything down to the rest of us. I'll bet that Mr. Chapman is seeing the handwriting on the wall, if not on his contract!
7/10/2009 10:45:59 AM

Matt Ledbetter
Even though Dr. Hunt added more diversity to the GCR, and even though I greatly respect him & his ministry, I'll tell you what I heard at the Convention: Same names, different committee. It's NOT a true representation of the SBC. The SBC is made up mainly of small churches, not mega-churches. Go back and look at the task forces, special committees, etc. over the last decade and look at tha names: Same names, different committee. Where is the voice of the small church pastor? Forgotten again!
7/9/2009 10:40:07 PM

Brent Hobbs
I heard comments shortly after the announcement at the convention about the lack of racial diversity. And I thought it was odd there was only one woman, so I'm glad Dr. Hunt is taking some action to address those concerns, though I wish there had been more diversity from the beginning. Sometimes our actions seem to indicate we're happy to stay a pasty-white convention.

But again Johnny Hunt has taken steps in the right direction, admitting the first try wasn't good enough. That impresses me in a leader. I probably wouldn't have voted for him two years ago as president of the convention, but he's proven to be the best man for the job during this time.
7/9/2009 9:40:27 PM

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