"Missionaries are paid in dollars, not percentages."-Adrian Rogers, 1979, explaining why his large church gave 2% of undesignated receipts through the Cooperative Program, rather than 10%, which was urged on churches in those days. You may remember 1979 was the year Mr. Rogers was elected president of the SBC
"Quite frankly our church could care less about how folks outside count our loyalty, said Al Gilbert, pastor of the Calvary Baptist Church, a mega-church in Winston-Salem, NC (italics mine.), discounting attempts to quantify a church's commitment to the traditional Cooperative Program funding mechanism. "It's a game the next generation is sick of and they have no desire to have that kind of loyalty pin. We'd better wake up and listen to that," he insisted.
Brother Gilbert is a member of the SBC Great Commission Task Force, chaired by Dr. Ronnie Floyd, whose mega-church gave .29% of undesignated receipts to the CP in one recent reporting year. I think you can see how this is going to go.
Dear ones, the Old Tree is dead, fallen, blown over by a great wind from beyond and now lying on its side, ready to be hacked into firewood and tinder. I pray you, do not blame the witness for its death. I admit I watched it fall. I fought with grim hope for its life. At the end I could only step aside, lest it land on my head. I was standing that close.
The Old Tree is Dead.
We must plant a New Tree.
Long Live the New Tree.
The preponderance of members of the SBC GCTF is from mega-churches. These churches are what you think; a denomination or a convention unto themselves. They need your small rural church or declining traditional church not one little bit. You exist to help people come to Christ, to be the point church, to reach into neighborhoods and homes to convert people, who will then be attracted by the aura of success of the larger body, with its staff and programs.
You are a farm team for the major league club.
If our universities, ministries, seminaries, et al, are to have what they need to succeed, sans overbearing influence by the larger bodies, we will have to find a way to nourish them. I have a few suggestions to make.
The first is this one; Get Real.
While there is still some reserve in the state convention(s), before it is all squandered on operational expenses (quick, say out loud what happens to companies that have to use reserve funds for operational expenses) let us endow development teams at each of our Texas colleges and seminaries. Where they do not exist, create them. Where they do exist, strengthen them. Now. Let them know this help will not increase and they will be increasingly on their own financially, as they are now.
If you want to see the colleges and seminaries live, start right now to figure out how to give them life in a future where increasing health care costs, burgeoning energy costs, massive government debt and the aging of the population (workers leaving the system but dependent on the system for their living) might almost guarantee downward mobility.
If you do not like my plan, let's hear yours. Don't insist we can all just get together and paint the buildings so they look new. We are not together, have not been together for some time and if we were it would not matter. The latest generation is not buying our line.
Yes, there is that tricky matter of legality. Can an organizational reserve be used for its dependent institutions? It is my contention we can use it so if the convention, in general session, orders it so by vote.
Here is the trickier part. Messengers would be asking the convention apparatus to surrender funds it can use for itself. The transfusion would have to work for the benefit of the recipient, not the donor. This is fine when we ask for a pint. How about when we ask for a gallon? Two gallons?
How are culture transforming universities and seminaries to live in an age of virtually guaranteed downward mobility? If you are thinking you will just get yours and then get on out of here, shame, shame, shame.
You have given up, cuddled up on yourself like the worthless doodle-bug. You are not thinking of our children, even less of our grandchildren.
We need a plan, a bold plan, a self-sacrificial plan, not another same-old committee appointed to study our effectiveness.