Ron West was appointed by the the International Mission Board in the 1970's. Ron served as a math teacher and coach before his IMB appointment and had just finished his Ph.D. in math before receiving his first assignment to the Far East. Ron taught math and coached in a missionary kid's school for a few years and then he taught math in a Chinese University in Taiwan where he did student evangelism and church planting. Being a teacher was a tremendous help in fulfilling his mission since the Chinese give a great deal of respect to teachers.
Ron also served in the National Guard before he was appointed as an IMB missionary. He was able to continue his U.S. Army Reserve service while in the IMB. Now days the IMB requires reservists to resign their commission before appointment, but Ron entered the IMB before there was such a rule. Ron retired from the reserves in 1999 after thirty years of service, retiring as a Colonel. In 2007 Ron was called back to active duty at Walter Reed, in Washington, D.C., where he served for one year. It was my privilege to meet Ron a couple of years ago. I have a great deal of respect for him, and when he writes something, I pay close attention. Recently he sent me a comment about the Great Commission Resurgence Declaration that I reproduce, with his permission, below:
Wade, you say that a Great Commission Resurgence is necessary and I have no problem with that. I would like to see us discuss the proposal by Johnny Hunt and Danny Akin for a Great Commission Resurgence that is going to be proposed at this year’s SBC meeting.
I could not sign the document for a number of reasons but most of all because I do not believe it has anything to do with a GCR. Reorganizing the SBC or combining the IMB and NAMB will not bring about a GCR. The SBC does not need to study the state conventions and associations. The state conventions and association need to study the SBC and determine if the SBC is fulfilling its mission.
For example, I believe that the SBC would more fully carryout the wishes of the churches, associations and state conventions if the trustees from each state were chosen by the state convention. What we have now is a system similar to what would happen in the US if the president were able to chose the senators and congressmen from each state whether the state supported him or not. Why don’t we have a blog devoted to discussing the GCR as proposed by Hunt and Akin.
There are a couple of great points that Ron makes in his comment:
(1). The way trustees are appointed in the SBC ought to change. State Conventions ought to appoint trustees.
(2). The churches, associations and state conventions ought to study national agencies and determine if they are fulfilling their mission rather than the other way around.
Let the debate begin.
In His Grace,