"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

The SBC Great Commission Resurgence Is Here

Just as historians look back to 1979 and the election of Adrian Rogers as the beginning of what is now known as "The Conservative Resurgence," I believe future historians will look back at the election of Frank Page in 2006 as the beginning of what will one day be called "The Great Commission Resurgence."

Tuesday I gave a report to the Board of Directors of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma regarding the incredible upsurge of Cooperative Program giving from Southern Baptist churches in Oklahoma. Bob Shelton, BGCO Stewardship Director, has led our Oklahoma state churches to concentrate on getting back to giving 10% of undesignated receipts to the Cooperative Program. This past year, for every one dollar of undesignated giving to SBC churches in Oklahoma, 9.7 cents was forwarded to the Cooperative Program. That is an increase from 8.9 percent of every dollar the year before. The current national average is 6.4 percent. That means in a church with a one million dollar budget, if that church were from an Oklahoma Southern Baptist church, it would give on average $97,000 to the Cooperative Program. Likewise, if that same million dollar budget were in a church that was a non-Oklahoma Southern Baptist church, it would give on average $64,000 to the Cooperative Program. That is a very significant difference.

One of the great saxophonists of years past was once asked why his music was so much better than the average saxophonist. He replied, "If it ain't in your heart, it can't come out your horn." Until we actually place the Great Commission at the center of our purpose for cooperation, as Oklahoma churches are now doing, we will continually snipe at one another over non-essentials and fragment and splinter in dizzyingly different directions as a convention.

If we are to reach our goal of an additional 3,000 missionaries on the mission field in the next few years, it will only occur through increased CP dollars and intentional cooperation with churches and people who may not see eye to eye with us on tertiary matters. When CP giving increases, all the ministries of the SBC (the IMB, the seminaries, the North American Mission Board, state conventions, etc.) will prosper. The Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma has received through June 30th of this year $430,000 more in Cooperative Program fund receipts than our state CP budget. Last year the BGCO took in more than 2.5 million dollars in receipts than we budgeted. At the end of the fiscal year we immediately forwarded half of that 2.5 million dollars to the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, which then forwarded it to our missions agencies, seminaries, and other national SBC ministries. When water in the harbor we call CP rises, all boats rise with it.

Cooperative Program dollars have been used in the state of Oklahoma in some incredible ways this past year. Our BGCO state offices keeps 60 percent of CP money sent to them from Oklahoma churches and forwards 40 percent to Nashville. Of that 40 percent sent to Nashville, the International Mission Board receives half, and the other agencies of the SBC divide the other half. We are working as a state to forward even more monies to our national agencies and in reality, due to our additional $1.25 million surplus gift last year, Oklahoma Southern Baptists gave almost 41 percent of our state Cooperative Program revenue to the national SBC agencies.

The money that stays in Oklahoma is put to tremendous use to impact lostness in our state. It would be too much to list all that Oklahoma does in terms of ministry, but suffice it to say, people in Oklahoma know about Southern Baptists - in positive terms. From the 40,000 young people who attend Falls Creek, to the professional television commercials produced by our staff and aired across the state and seen by 90% of television viewers, to the Disaster Relief response teams that spread across the nation representing Oklahoma, when people think of Southern Baptists in Oklahoma, there is a positive feeling.

And that is the way it should be.

The harmony among the pastors in Oklahoma is unprecedented. We don't always agree with each other, but we don't yell and scream at one another. We don't always see eye to eye, but we respect the other person and his/her views. We have a sweet spirit among us in our state.

And that is the way it should be.

In our Stewardship Committee meeting yesterday we discussed some very significant churches in Oklahoma that have tremendous potential to increase their missions giving through the CP. Someone mentioned Henderson Hills Baptist Church in Edmond, probably the largest Southern Baptist church in Oklahoma in terms of budget and attendance, and made mention of the fact that Henderson Hills, though they are in the top fifty churches in terms of CP giving, could be giving so much more.

I was quick to point out that for Henderson Hills to be a significant contributor to the Cooperative Program, they must know that their autonomy is respected, their cooperation is valued, and they feel appreciated by state churches and pastors. Too many Southern Baptists are quick to make an enemy of a fellow Southern Baptist because either a church or a pastor does not see eye to eye with the powers that be. Worse, some are so determined to narrow the doctrinal parameters of what it means to be a Baptist, or demand ideological conformity to narrow views of non-essential issues, that if Southern Baptists are not careful and we let those ideologues speak as if they were the official spokespersons for all Southern Baptists, then churches like Henderson Hills, or Cornerstone in Arlington, or other non-traditional Southern Baptist churches might begin to feel unwelcome. For a convention that is built on cooperation, large conservative SBC churches that are made to feel unwelcome because of demands for ideological conformity on tertiary issues is the death knell.

The Southern Baptist Convention would do well to follow the example of Oklahoma. Focus on cooperation. Focus on the Great Commission. Accept people and their tertiary differences. Keep Christ and the gospel central. When that happens, the harvest will come.

The Great Commission Resurgence has already begun.

Would to God that it continues for decades to come.

In His Grace,

Wade Burleson

20 comments:

irreverend fox said...

"The Great Commission Resurgence has already begun. Would to God that it continues for decades to come."

amen Wade! great and encouraging post!

Tyson said...

Wade,

As a newbie on the Board, let me just tell your readers how impressed I am with everyone I have gotten to meet and work with. To a person, every individual I have encountered on staff and the Board has a heart for spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Our executive staff has proved to be able administrators, and I honestly believe their singular mission each and every day is to pursue ways in which all churches, from the largest to the smallest, can cooperate and be a part of Kingdom work. Additionally, I have never met or worked with an organization that is so open and transparent about every aspect of the budget, policy, etc.

I honestly didn't know what I was in for when I was elected; I am so thrilled that I was because I have gotten to see the hearts of so many true servants of Jesus Christ. It's undergirded my faith in my convention.

Tyson Wynn
www.strangfbc.org

NativeVermonter said...

And may a passion for missions continue to come forth from our pulpits. We have precious few years to exclaim the Glory of the Cross and how many of us (me at the head of the list!) seem to sit idle on the sidelines? When Roman prisoners picked up their cross, it literally meant they were going to die—when we pick up our Cross daily, are we dying to sin, self, and the world? I’ll leave that as a rhetorical because I know what my answer is.

Geoff Baggett said...

Wade,

That's a very excellent and encouraging report. But I don't think it's wise to use only CP giving as "the" gauge for Great Commission activity in our churches. Indeed, is is never wise to place all of one's missions "apples" in a single basket.

There are many Southern Baptist churches out here that are already distanced, excluded, disenfranchised ... choose the term you like ... which are incredible Great Commission churches, but which cannot consider sending a major, substantial portion of their funds to the CP pool.

Indeed, the Great Commission Resurgence is alive and well. But in our younger generation it is not simply a "giving" resurgence, with missions and ministry by proxy, it is much more of a "going" resurgence.

http://sbcimpact.net

greg.w.h said...

I think that's fantastic, Wade! I am excited with all efforts to focus on the work God has prepared in advance for us. In my experience, every person who does that permits the Holy Spirit to permeate his life and finds out what Jesus means when he says "I come that they might have life and have it in abundance."

In fact, I saw it in an unexpected way just this week. My eight-year-old daughter under the direct guidance of the Holy Spirit (neither her mom nor I suggested it) shared with a friend about her faith in Christ and the friend showed excitement about learning more about Jesus. My daughter came bubbling into the room SO excited to tell me about it. Nothing can warm this dad's heart like that!

I know that we can also use that effort as an excuse to connect more closely with "all of the redeemed" both here and around the world. Imagine the rejoicing in heaven as we work together with the Father, the Holy Spirit, and ALL fellow believers to complete the Bride for Jesus.

Thanks for the good news about the Good News!!

Greg Harvey

William said...

Wade,

Your post is very encouraging. All other things aside, the International Mission Board is greatly worthy of admiration and support. What a great bunch of people serve at the IMB--both administrators, ILC staff, support staff, and, of course, field missionaries. It was an honor to serve as a journeyman with the Board from 1990-1992, and it was also the greatest experience of my life. I pray for the success of all Baptists who wish to rally around the cause of missions and sharing the good news and love of Christ at home and abroad.

Jake Barker said...

Well said Wade! And CP is not just the only giving going on in Oklahoma. At FBC Holdenville (ever heard of that place?) we are in the process of a million$ plus facility at Falls Creek so the youth campers from all over Oklahoma and North Texas can have a place to stay while at Falls Creek.

Bob Cleveland said...

Wade:

Let me add my "amen" to the chorus of joy at this report. It's nice to know that God still responds when people obey.

I've seen countless comments that we shouldn't be arguing about the BF&M, narrowing parameters, what's going on in the seminaries, etc etc; that we should be focusing on the Great Commission, instead. It's good to see that these results are coming from the same state that has provided some of the more involved people on both sides of those issues.

I find that interesting. Almost as if God is affirming what's taking place. Like we're doing what we ought to be doing.

Ann said...

After the statement about the IMB getting half of the overage you perhaps should say that the other 50% is divided among the other agencies "according to their already established budgeted percentage".
AND, Sooner, why did you say "water" rather than "tide?" Now I know that you have an unchristian attitude against THE "TIDE!" (Reasonining I have pick up from following years of SBC controversy.)

Benji Ramsaur said...

Wade,

How did you get to be so inspirational?

I think your Dad had something to do with it.

BCR

P.S. I love it

Wade Burleson said...

Geoff,

I agree with your assessment. It is a going as well as a giving Commission - and the IMB recognizes that fact.

However, your one church and my one church could never go and give where all our churches cooperating together could go and give. That's why the Cooperative Program is important.

G. Alford said...

Wade,
Unfortunately… the State of Florida is L-O-N-G WAY from Oklahoma.

Grace to all,
Greg Alford

Anonymous said...

I think a big part of the spiritural fervor and cooperation of Oklahoma Baptist is an overflow of the churches working together to reach youth each year through Fallscreek. If every state had a "Fallscreek", I believe you would see a big difference in our state conventions and SBC. When you have 6 weeks of joint revival and evangelism every summer ... Fallscreek...unity around the great commission and giving to SBC global missions will follow.

Anonymous said...

I think the philosophy/perspective of this blogsite has come a long way over the past 2 years.


David

Marty Adkinson said...

Wade,
Thank you, again, for your encouraging post. I believe we have been blessed so much and I am glad we are sharing that blessing.
Marty

just curious said...

Wade,

What percentage of cp gift are sent by your state to the national level. I know that Georgia has led the way for years in this regard, but I really have no idea about Oklahoma or other states for that matter.

Jack said...

Wade:

Forgive this admittedly off-topic reference, but Dr. Boyd Luter has laid bare his treatment by fellow christians in his last days at Criswell College in this post at his blog (see "An In-Betweener Post: Transparency).

There is a pattern of behavior evident within the inner circles of the SBC toward others that grieves my heart. I am proud that we can still cooperate for the sake of The Great Commission but I am also ashamed of how some stewards of our CP funds act in Christ's name.

Thank you for reminding us that the main thing is still the main thing.

It is good to see what God is doing through the SBC in Oklahoma.

David Simpson said...

From Wade's post:

"Someone mentioned Henderson Hills Baptist Church in Edmond, probably the largest Southern Baptist church in Oklahoma in terms of budget and attendance, and made mention of the fact that Henderson Hills, though they are in the top fifty churches in terms of CP giving, could be giving so much more."

I've often wondered how people not personally involved in a ministry or a member of a church can make a statement like that, stating that a church could give much more. How much is enough?

I know that the pastor of HHBC, my former pastor when I was in college in Arizona, is an annointed, Godly leader, and has a great church that does so much. Who's to say, if a church is giving, how much is enough to satisfy the heirarchy?

I was part of a committee in San Antonio this past year, and felt put on the spot when a nominee of my state was put into question because of the amount the nominee's church gave to the CP. (I think I was a little more sensitive bacuse the church in question was my own church, and my church is a GIVING church in so many ways, more than any other church I've served).

I am all for the CP, and I give generously through my church.

My question is: how much does each church need to give to be in the good graces of fellow Southern Baptists?

Anonymous said...

"The SBC Great Commission Resurgence is here".

This was mentioned last week at the Convergent Conference hosted by SEBTS.

Let's all keep pushing that vision out there and not let it die down or be drowned out by yelling at one another on blog sites.

Signed,
EA IMB M

othoniel a valdes sr said...

I looked to see if you posted my comments on wednesday and do not see it so I guess you are now in the censoring bussiness .