June 10 2010 by Norman Jameson, BR Editor

    Alabama pastor and SBC presidential candidate Jimmy Jackson made a two-stop campaign tour in North Carolina June harboring “serious concerns” about potential negative effects on the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) if the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force recommendations are approved by messengers to the SBC annual meeting June 15 in Orlando.

    Jackson, hosted by Tim Rogers, pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Indian Trail, had a breakfast meeting in Monroe, then a luncheon at Oakdale Baptist Church in Statesville where he answered questions from a dozen area pastors.

    Speaking quietly but firmly, Jackson, the 70-year-old pastor of Whitesburg Baptist Church in Huntsville, Ala., said he knows and loves those who are promoting the GCR Task Force recommendations, but he is concerned that their rhetoric is establishing an invalid dividing line as if some support the Great Commission and others do not.

    “We’ve all read, preached and believe the Great Commission,” said Jackson, pastor at Whitesburg for 32 years and an SBC parliamentarian for 23 years. “We’re in favor. We’ve spent our lives in one way or the other trying to do the Great Commission.”

    BR photo by Norman Jameson

    A dozen participants at Oakdale Baptist Church in Statesville prayed for Jimmy Jackson following an address and question and answer session led by the SBC presidential candidate from Alabama.


    He is concerned that the Great Commission is being defined only as planting churches and evangelizing, both efforts he heartily endorses. But all Christians are to be involved in the “make disciples” and “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” parts of the Great Commission that are not given sufficient emphasis in the task force report.

    He feels adoption of the report will lead to further neglect of church health, weaken Southern Baptists in the long run and diminish the role of lay men and women who are Great Commission Christians when they do the work of the church. He mentioned as one example adults who tended the nursery so a single dad could hear the gospel presented in worship service, where he was saved.

    Christians do the Great Commission “by our giving, by serving, by helping people, by going on mission,” Jackson said. “It’s not something that rests on my shoulders alone or on yours. It would crush us. But we all have our place.”

    He said it is vital to teach people “not just how to witness” but “how to live their life” because problems don’t “suddenly go away” when you become a Christian. It would not take long if the church neglected disciple making before it would be so shallow it would be helpless, ineffective and broke.

    He identified three typical groups in a period of change. He said the status quo group resists all change; the “go go” group wants to change everything yesterday; and the growing middle group recognizes, “We need to make changes, but not changes that are detrimental to us and not helpful.”  

    Hunt’s passion for souls
    He said SBC President Johnny Hunt was driven to implement the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force from his “passion to win souls.”

    But Jackson’s approach would have the new SBC president sit with the boards of every SBC entity and ask their input directly in what they can do to move their entity to higher effectiveness in winning souls, shedding any unnecessary bureaucracy and inspiring Southern Baptists to give more money to support their cooperative work.

    Jackson said he put the GCR recommendations before a northeast business consultant and asked if the proposals would increase efficiency of the organization or decrease costs. He received a “no” to both questions.

    He doesn’t deny the SBC faces issues but says the GCR report offers no solutions. As the business consultant told him, “Companies that try to change from the top down have failed,” he said. “You need to start with the local churches. Work with them. Help them get on fire.”

    He said there may be some associations that could consolidate for more effectiveness, but that those issues need to be studied individually, not with a mandate from a select committee.

    As to whether or not the GCR recommendations would help Southern Baptists baptize more people, the consultant told Jackson, “I think you will have such division and confrontation if this is pushed through, that you’ll go backwards.”

    “I’m concerned that we’re getting stampeded,” he said of the “Madison Avenue” promotion of the GCR proposals, with a steady stream of endorsers being released to the GCR prayer partners and to Baptist news outlets daily. “Hasty decisions are not usually healthy decisions.”

    Jackson, president of the Alabama Baptist Convention, said the bulk of Southern Baptist cooperative work “is going on behind the scenes in our states,” and he listed many services and ministries “that keep us alive and strong.”

    He realizes his church is not a “pace setter” in CP giving, sending 4.64 percent of undesignated gifts through the Cooperative Program. It gives nearly an equal amount divided between the special offerings for international missions and North American missions. He said he is going to talk to his leadership about directing more gifts through the CP because if others are designating away from CP, the nuts and bolts funding required for missions is being lost.

    The funding issue is at the heart of much of the GCR impetus, with high profile pastors not getting the “credit” they feel their churches deserve when their percentage of giving to CP is low.

    Jackson said he wonders if the GCR push “came from people that have some grudges going on.” “If the average Southern Baptist showed up in Orlando in numbers we’d vote this thing down and the election would be over,” Jackson said. “Whether they come out or not is the issue because we didn’t have $250,000 of CP money to promote this thing.”

    The money Jackson referred to is the funds allocated by the SBC Executive Committee to conduct the work of the task force.

    “The value of what Johnny (Hunt) has done is to fire a shot over the bow” to alert Southern Baptists that “some people don’t like the way things are done,” Jackson said. This is an opportunity to sit down and evaluate how we can meet the goals of winning souls, being efficient and increasing giving, he said.

    He just doesn’t believe the GCR Task Force report is the right vehicle.
    6/10/2010 2:18:00 AM by Norman Jameson, BR Editor | with 1 comments




Comments
Gene Scarborough
[b]It sounds like Rev. Jackson knows something about Baptists and our history of doing things![/b]

My take is that from the beginning we were a conglomorate of mostly small churches under 100 in membership. There were larger First Baptist Churches to which many smaller church pastors aspired. Our locus was the Southeast extending around the Gulf to Texas and northward to Arkansas. We were perceived as mostly a bunch of conservative affirmers of slave ownership.

We began Colleges and Universities as well as Southern Seminary which came out of Greenville, SC, and what is now Furman University. From the beginning there were certain egos who had their differences. The main divide was those who insisted on education and a higher church style (Charleston Tradition) vs. those who thought an education would ruin you and the more yelling and screaming, the more it was "spiritual" (Sandy Creek Tradition).

[b]Wisely, early leaders put aside their theological differences in favor of supporting missions and established a Program called "Cooperative" into which to place mission funds.[/b]

To protect the local church--[b]Autonomy[/b] was a major By-law. It clearly stated churches choose to participate without being bound to any dictates from above.

Now comes the Corporate America concept of "top down" authority which is in our Denomination now thanks to the Mega Church outlook of [b]"the pastor is ruler"[/b] [i](any similarity to the Temple and Pharisees is totally correct)[/i]. Pharisees and Mega Church Pastors [b]rule rather than lead by example and inspiration[/b]!

Our Institutions and Agencies grew one-by-one out of practical needs which got practical and commonsense action and organization. It was all practical with strong rural thinking attached. We did great things for spreading the Gospel and reaching a wide range of people from snake handling holy rollers to those lost without a liturgy!!! We were all Southern Baptists!

[b]Now, we decided to grow outside the South[/b]. In addition, the South was growing in population and many people post WWII quickly joined a Baptist church. The Atlanta Baptist Association, for one, grew incrementally as Atlanta grew. The same was true in Dallas / Nashville / Orlando / etc. With growth came lack of trust in the wisdom of the average church member. Suddenly "top down" thinking became more prevalent than "bottom up" thinking. It purvades business / government / industry. Where Henry Ford walked the assembly line floor talking with his workers for better ideas--his sons stayed in their corporate office many miles away from the production of their autos. They saw themselves as superior and above their workers. They hired expensive "consultants" who read books rather than turned wrenches.

They are in trouble--and so are we--bec[b]ause of the wisely observed things from Jimmy Jackson[/b]. He is an "old timer" just like Henry Ford!!! He knows our history and is telling it like it is. Where "don't trust anyone over 30" ruled in the 60's, now us babyboomers are the "stupid old folks who don't know anything" in the opinion of the Johnny Hunts / Al Mohlers / etc. who are calling the shots and expecting the sheep to follow without question!

[b]If we should be wise enough to get back to basics and quit playing Pharisees at the Temple, we might just discover Jesus and his followers consulting with hurting people and offering them some hope and faith!!![/b]

[b][i]How about it?????[/i][/b]
6/10/2010 10:57:22 AM

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