By Allen Palmeri
JEFFERSON CITY—The adoption of the Great Commission Resurgence (GCR) Task Force Report June 15 at the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) annual meeting sets the stage for a deliberative Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) Executive Board meeting July 12-13 at the Baptist Building.
MBC Executive Director David Tolliver said that while Missouri is ahead of many other states in terms of its proactive response, more work is needed. Missouri Baptists must determine the level, rate and timing of the state convention’s compliance with the complicated GCR measure, and Tolliver said it will take months to build consensus. The 2011 budget process should be typical, Tolliver said, with news of any future cuts likely not being made public until January 2011.
“Nothing has to change, but we need to understand we’re going to have less money,” he said.
MBC President Bruce McCoy, pastor, Canaan Baptist Church, St. Louis, agreed with Tolliver’s view that the GCR language must now pass through various filters in Missouri Baptist life. The first one would be the 53-member Executive Board.
“I suggest that we question ourselves enough to join hands with our fellow Southern Baptists and seek to make the name of this eventful controversy a genuine reality: A Great Commission Resurgence,” McCoy said.
On June 20, Tolliver went before a Sunday night crowd at his home church, Concord Baptist of Jefferson City, to explain the GCR’s potential impact.
“I am committed to make this transition as smooth as possible and as quick as possible,” he said.
His pastor, Monte Shinkle, said that while he opposed the GCR’s passage he is hopeful some good can come of it.
“We’re in a battle to reach this world, and so maybe it’s a Romans 8:28 thing,” said Shinkle, a past president of the MBC who now is a member of the Executive Board. “Maybe it’s one of those things that God is going to work together for good. We must do something more than what we are presently doing to reach the United States of America, and we must do more than what we are presently doing to reach the world. So we’re going to have some changes. I just hope they are good ones.”
Two other filters will be applied to the GCR this year. They are the Organizational Study Group (OSG) and messengers to the MBC annual meeting.
The OSG was formed last December to gather facts and report findings about various MBC systems and structures to the Executive Board. Its members will be at the July Executive Board meeting to do a lot of listening, Tolliver said.
The annual meeting is scheduled for Oct. 25-27 in Springfield.
The time between now and the end of the year can best be described as the time for Missouri Baptists to look at what has taken place on the SBC level, Tolliver said. If the Cooperative Program has been damaged, so be it.
“We have been the envy of the evangelical world for years,” he said. “Now I am somewhat afraid that we are beginning to tear down what we built up. Time will tell.”