Service Interrupted: A Political Memoir-Chapter Ten (Continued)

   We can tear it down by design. We can let it be torn down by misadministration. We can wait until it dies, proceeding by half-measures, trying to keep up appearances, until it falls into the kind of shabby gentility made famous in Gone With the Wind. Or, we can just walk away lamenting.

   The reality of our day is expensive, centralized, out of touch authorities are losing their grip everywhere. In a day of dwindling resources, everything we support must produce.

   Working for nearly five years in an anti-local church, reactionary environment, I learned first hand the power of inertia. Dozens of little agendas flowed up against the Greater Proposition, eroding it first by pebbles, then by boulders, finally by mountain sized chunks. I saw personally the administration of fear (loss of jobs, loss of prestige, loss of influence) triumph over the introduction of ideas, resulting in the realization of all we feared.

   Our caretaker administration sensed the pull of change pined for by our supporting churches. We began, stopped, retracted, began again, retreated and finally crashed in a hopeless muddle of stops and starts. We literally mounted our horse and rode off in all directions.

   A new administration coming in will not now have the luxury of business as usual. If, ten years from now, there is anything left to comment on at all, it will be because the new administration radically alters the duties and functions of the convention and of the Director’s office in particular.

   Sincerity and decency should be expected but will not do. The new administration must be one of ideas rather than reliance on general principles that fold up with each succeeding crisis. The Wade administration’s predilection for simple, unfrightening hacks has to give way.

   Simply put, the next administration must appeal to the best and brightest. Somehow, it must recognize the connection of the local church to the world, empower that connection and help resources flow to the local body.

   

3 thoughts on “Service Interrupted: A Political Memoir-Chapter Ten (Continued)”

  1. In the later Pinson years, the convention staff, etc. worked under a mission statement that began, “The Baptist General Convention of Texas exists to assist churches, associations of churches….” There was indeed an unapologetic focus on helping the churches, which provided the support for the work of the convention, including her institutions. I don’t know when we got away from that, but it was after my retirement in 1999. I understand the need to support the institutions. I am a trustee at one of the universities. We have seen our university’s slice of the BGCT pie whittled away, every year becoming smaller. If we do not help weakening congregations get stronger, we will have little support for any of the work. You are touching some nerves with these posts, Rick. Keep it up.

  2. Ken,
    I assume that the reason for the decrease is because the decrease of giving to the BGCT. The decrease is not because we have slashed the percent given out of the budget toward the institutions, is it?

  3. Terry,
    The overall gifts to the BGCT suffered when the SBTC was born. there were cuts across the board as the BGCT struggled to survive. The overall percentages for the institutions have been steadily decreasing over the past several years in spite of the “stabilization” of the giving (prior to the recent downturn). In short, the institutions continued to show a decline in the overall percentage of support as compared to the BGCT budget. No major increases of support for institutions period.

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