An Examination of the Great Commission Resurgence Pt 1

Last week in my Sunday morning message I shared with you the exciting news about the passing of a motion to instruct president of the Southern Baptist Convention, Dr. Johnny Hunt, to appoint a Great Commission Task force.  The purpose of this task force is to examine the current state of the Southern Baptist Convention and to bring back to next years convention recommendations for how to return our focus on fulfilling the Great Commission.  As a Pastor and long time supporter of our convention, I am thrilled with the passage of this resolution and hope that you will be as well.  Thirty years ago, we were a denomination facing the serious threat of theological liberalism in our seminaries, churches, and agencies.  In an unprecedented move that has become known as the conservative resurgence, our convention became the only major denomination ever to have returned to from the abyss of theological liberalism.  Since then we have faced many challenges but none so great as we face right now.  A recent report by Lifeway Research says that if our current baptism and membership trends continue we will experience a 50% decline by 2050. If we are going to survive as a convention we must find a way to turn these statistics around.  We need a Great Commission Resurgence.

The call for a GCR was started a year ago by Dr. Johnny Hunt, president of the SBC, Dr. Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Dr. Al Mohler, president of Southern Seminary.  This call culminated in a declaration that has to date been signed by 4232 Pastors, including myself.  This declaration outlines the essential elements of a Great Commission Resurgence (see http://greatcommissionresurgence.com/)  Over the next ten weeks I plan to go through this declaration article by article and share with you some of its most important characteristics.  My goal is not to get us involved in the denomination, as much as it is to see our church experience a Great Commission Resurgence ourselves.

I am fully convinced that while the convention has taken a positive step in the passing of this motion, that it will ultimately fail if local churches do not adopt a similar action.  Put very simply, God has given the Great Commission to the church not to the denomination.  If the local church fails to carry out the Great Commission it has lost its reason for existing and no denomination can every take its place.  As a local church we must therefore, carefully and prayerfully consider what we are doing to fulfill the Great Commission.  Like the convention, we have become bloated and inefficient.  We must hold every program, activity and ministry that we do up to the light of scrutiny and ask ourselves how it contributes to the fulfilling of the Great Commission.  Next week we will start looking at the first article.  I hope that you will begin praying with me now that God will bring about a GCR here at First Baptist and across the Southern Baptist Convention.

For more info on the Great Commission Resurgence see:

http://betweenthetimes.com/

http://blogs.lifeway.com/blog/edstetzer/

http://www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=30757

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