That I listened last night to the initial report of the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force--a group that is dillegently seeking a common road toward more effective mission work by Southern Baptists--while myself on mission with volunteers from 5 of our churches in Vancouver, B.C. is a surreal coincidence.
By my "body clock," it was 3 AM when I viewed the online report led by Dr. Ronnie Floyd, which can be found here: I figured a quick perusal of what was said would not only help me adjust my body cycles to the time zone I'm in, but would also help me anticipate questions, concerns, and comments from pastors and church leaders in my association once I return to Maryland next week.
After watching I can tell you with absolute confidence . . .I got nothin'. At least, not yet.
Like most who watched, much excited me greatly about the report. Other things were difficult to understand, and still others raised concerns in my mind. At the same time, there are some things I know:
-Whatever happens, Jesus is still Lord, and His Kingdom will still go forth.
-I know most of the folks on this task force, and their personal integrity and passion for the Great Commission gives me confidence that they are doing their best to serve us well and lead us down the right path.
-I know that ALL of the folks on the task force are sinners--just like yours truly--and that due to the fall they will not get everything right. Therefore, we must continue to pray earnestly for them, and that the Holy Spirit would guide them.
-I know that those who watched and will ponder the report and its implications--including myself--should do so prayerfully and contemplatively, not rushing to stern judgement or holding to "the way we've always done it" on the one hand because of things they may not agree with, and not "flag-waving" and calling anyone who has concerns "anti-Great Commission" or "committed to the beauacracy" on the other hand. Political rhetoric on either side of this debate at a time like this is rarely helpful, and sometimes even irresponsible. Wherever you land, be careful how you treat your brothers and sisters.
-I know that the best way to address concerns and offer perspective is to pick up the phone and talk to a GCR task force member personally. Again, these are people of integrity and I am confident they will be honest, listen to your concerns, and take the thoughts of Southern Baptists into future meetings. Whether you are a huge fan or a huge critic, at this point, the appropriate place to make your views known would be to take them directly to the task force. Blogs and social networking sites have their place, but I honestly don't think they are the best forum for discussing these issues at this time--at least not in detail.
-I know that all task force members would certainly prefer our prayers over and above our criticism. I can honestly say that I would not want to replace any of them and bear the burden I know they are bearing.
So in short, I think the best way to express my thoughts about last night's presentation is with another man's words--a man God inspired. Since by the superintention of the Holy Spirit James says it better than I or anyone else, I'll conclude with these words:
"Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person hbe quick to hear, islow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. 21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls." -James 1:19-20 ESV
So far, that's my "2 cents." If you think it worth at least that much, please pass it on.
Let's keep praying and seeking God together.