JEFFERSON CITY – Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) Executive Director David Tolliver, based on an April 13 vote – without opposition – by the 54-member MBC Executive Board, will attempt to bring a motion to messengers attending the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) annual meeting June 14-16 in Orlando, Fla., asking messengers to receive the report by the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force (GCRTF) and requesting action be delayed one year until all entities involved can do a spiritual/financial impact study.
The motion gives Tolliver the authority to speak for the Board as a messenger from his church, Concord Baptist Church, Jefferson City. (The motion can be read verbatim on page 2.)
The Executive Board also passed a resolution – without opposition – urging the GCRTF to postpone action on their report until the SBC’s 2011 annual meeting, while pledging to pray for a Great Commission Resurgence in the SBC and for the work of the task force.
The intent of this action is to allow impacted entities sufficient time to thoroughly study the ramifications of the GCRTF’s recommendations, Tolliver said., noting that among the GCRTF’s proposed ideas is the dissolving of cooperative agreements between state conventions and the North American Mission Board (NAMB). Such a move could cost the MBC the loss of 18 employees and an estimated $1.8 million in annual revenue, he said.
Concern was raised by the MBC Executive Board that SBC governance was not being respected as the GCRTF process has progressed. Board member Larry Lewis of First Baptist Church, Centralia, and former president of the Home Mission Board (now NAMB) from 1987-1997, was among those who expressed such a view.
“In Baptist polity, we don’t basically try to operate and run agencies by group action,” Lewis said. “We elect trustees to do that. And so we want to refer this whole issue to the trustees.”
Tolliver said he was pleased the Board decided to speak to the GCRTF issue and hopes messengers will hear his motion and approve it.
The Board’s action came just days after eight state executive directors met with six members of the GCRTF for a private meeting at Union University in Jackson, Tenn., hosted by Union President David Dockery. Tolliver said he was not invited and was unaware of the meeting until he received an email informing him about it after the fact.