Connecting the Dots in an Unconnected World

Friday, August 14, 2009

Great Commission Resurgence Task Force Churches

Thursday, August 13, 2009 Baptist Press posted and article titled, Profiles: GCR Task Force Members. This article provides information concerning those men and women who have been appointed to the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force. The task force was appointed by Convention President, Dr. Johnny Hunt “to study how Southern Baptists can work “more faithfully and effectively together in serving Christ through the Great Commission.”

The article compiles information to provide a profile about the members of the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force that was formed in response to the vote of messengers to the SBC's annual meeting in Louisville. Church data is taken from the SBC's 2008 Annual Church Profile. As I read the article I was thrilled by the expertise and blessing of God that these members have enjoyed. In this reading it occurred to me that an analysis of the profile of the churches represented might be enlightening. Therefore, I took the information as it was presented in the article and placed it on a spreadsheet. Several things are identifiable from this process.

The twenty-three members of the task force come from twenty local churches. Three churches; Idlewild Baptist Church, Lutz, Florida, First Baptist Church Woodstock, Georgia, and First Baptist Church Springdale, Arkansas each have two members. This means that 26.08% of the committee comes from three churches.

It is generally recognized that a church averaging 2,000 plus in attendance is considered a “mega-church.” Twelve or 60% of the churches comes from churches classified as “mega-churches.” This represents fifteen or 65.2% of the members of the task force.

In evangelism task force churches averaged baptizing 220.6 people in the 2008 report. The ratio of baptism to worship attendance was 1 baptism for each 14.12 in worship attendance. This is far better than the average Southern Baptist Church nationwide.

In stewardship task force churches averaged Cooperative Program giving of $262,385.00 or 3.78% of their undesignated receipts. Further, they gave in total to all missions’ causes an average of $1,289,431.00 or 12.49% of their total income. Six of the churches did not report any gift to the Annie Armstrong North American Mission Offering, three of the churches did not report any gift to the Lottie Moon International Mission Offering, three of the churches did not report any income either total or undesignated, and two of the churches reported no total gifts to all mission causes. This record of cooperative giving does not stack up as well to the average Southern Baptist Church nationwide.

The breakdown of task force members includes; two seminary presidents, one college president, thirteen pastors and staff, one layman, two women, and four denominational executives.

Since I am from Florida I noted that there are five Floridians on the task force, representing four churches. These Florida churches baptized an average of 193.25 people in 2008 and gave an average of 10.8% of their undesignated receipts through the Cooperative Program. While the average number baptized was slightly lower than the average for the task force, the average gifts through the Cooperative Program was significantly higher than the average for the task force. Both numbers are significantly higher than the average Southern Baptist church nationwide. These churches are very representative of the heart of Florida Baptists, emphasizing both local church evangelism and a heart to work cooperatively to reach the world with the gospel.

There are other observations to be made; however, these seem most pertinent to the work of the task force. I trust that this analysis of the information in the Baptist Press article will assist you in praying for the work of the Great Commission Task Force. I believe in the work being done by this task force. I am firmly persuaded that as Southern Baptists we must to be more effective in the fulfillment of the Great Commission. God give us a Great Commission resurgence that begins in our local churches, spreads to our local associations, impacts our state conventions, and reaches the ends of the earth. Our Savior in heaven commands it and a lost and dying world waits for it.

Attempting to connect the dots…

Romans 1:16

"Is not the commission of our Lord still binding upon us? Can we not do more than now we are doing?"
~ William Carey


Blogger Tom Bryant said...

Interesting information. It looks like the task force is headed in a preconceived direction.

August 14, 2009 at 8:33 PM  

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