Wade speaks to messengers

by

Messengers gave Charles Wade a standing ovation as he came to deliver his final Annual Meeting message as executive director. Here is the written document from which he spoke; it may vary in small ways from the actual spoken message:

“To Honor The Lord Himself”
II Corinthians 8:18-21

Rosemary and I have ten grandchildren…seven boys and three girls. Three of the boys have a part of my name. You could say that makes me very happy. Rosemary is generally happy for me about something like that, but a Charles, a Russell, and a Wade got to be a little much when there was no Rosemary or Rose or Mary to be found. Then our third little girl was born and her parents named her Emma Rose. I thought it was the prettiest name I had ever heard. When they told us, both of us cried.

They go to Williams Trace Baptist in Sugarland. Emma Rose has a little friend at Sunday School. They love being together. Last Easter Sunday afternoon, Emma’s friend was walking around in her house thinking about her friend and singing quietly, “Emma Rose, Emma Rose, Emma Rose.” Her five year old brother finally interrupted his little sister by saying, “It wasn’t Emma who rose. It was Jesus who rose!”.

And it’s because Jesus died and rose again that we are all here today. The resurrection of our Lord is the victory we proclaim to all people everywhere, “Because he lives, you can live also!” John 14:19

Here is the mother of Emma Rose, Mary Robin Wade Gaston. And here are our two daughters Roshelle Wade Risenhoover; Karee Wade Kelly; and our son Charles Mark and his wife Pam Childers Wade, who sang so powerfully just now. And here is their mother and Emma’s Mimi, my dear Rosemary, who has been with me through every pastorate and every day of our service to you. Emma Rose’s other proud and grateful grandparents are here also, Susan and George Gaston, who serves as Regional Vice President for Ministry at the Baptist Hospital System in San Antonio.

We give thanks to God for trusting us with these children who love and honor God in their lives and calling us to serve Him all these years. The Lord has been and is our strength and joy through every day of our journey. And more than anything, if we know our hearts, we have wanted as Paul said, “to honor the Lord himself,” in all that we have done.

Our text for this message is II Corinthians 8: 18-21.

In this seminal narrative we see churches learning to cooperate together to meet an urgent need. An offering was being taken for the Christians in Jerusalem who were suffering through severe famine. Their old networks of support had broken down as they declared their loyalty to Christ Jesus, and Paul called on the Christians in the new churches to relieve the suffering of those in the mother church. But he was fully aware that some were raising eyebrows and whispering sly remarks regarding the integrity of the offering. So he took proactive steps to guard the handling of the money so that it would “honor the Lord himself.” (v.19) And, of course, he also wanted to encourage generous giving on the part of the churches.

Paul is not chastising those who are concerned about the handling of the offering; he acknowledges the importance of “taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of men.” ( 8:21) So he sends Titus and two unnamed brothers who are trusted and respected by all who know them in the churches to help collect and report on the offerings given.

There is a reason that financial accountability is important in churches and in denominational life. For the very same reason your Executive Board, David Nabors and I have focused our attention on doing what is right in the eyes of the Lord and also in the eyes of men…”To Honor The Lord Himself,” or as the RSV translates it….”For the Glory of the Lord.” And, also, as Paul wanted to do…encourage faithful and generous giving on the part of the churches.

The Executive Board through its Audit Committee has instituted an internal audit process which, added to the annual financial audit we have always done, will help the BGCT continually review the way it uses the mission and ministry dollars given by the churches and individuals. We do this to make sure we do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of men.

We were in the process of redoing our church starting manual last year as the devastating news came that there was misuse of church starting funds in our church starting efforts. We have worked through that heartache, restored confidence in our policies and procedures, retrained our church starting team, and now enjoy an excellent relationship with that association.

We have promised all our people and all churches who want to start churches, that we will not allow the Evil One to gain a victory here by causing us to withdraw from the field and close our eyes to the staggering needs in our state for new churches among African Americans, Hispanics, Cowboys, Asians, Africans, those from Europe and the Middle East, and our English speaking peoples in the burgeoning cities and suburbs of Texas. The good news of our church starting efforts the last eighteen months is in my report to you in the Book of Reports, p. 5.

Our convention has been faithfully and effectively represented by the EXBD members you have elected. These men and women have been very conscientious about their responsibilities and have been determined to listen and discuss as long as necessary so that they could make the best decisions possible. I want to publicly commend them and say “thank you, Executive Board and chair, Bob Fowler, for your careful and thorough work in this challenging and critically important time for our convention.”

Our convention officers have been key leaders, providentially available to help lead this convention this past year. No more effective and respected leaders could have been found to serve us than Steve Vernon, Joy Fenner and Robert Rodriguez.

And I want to express appreciation to the staff who has worked with me to serve you. To Ron Gunter and David Nabors, to Chris Liebrum and Myla McClinton and to each and every person on the staff who has labored faithfully and with a sense of calling…you have been a gift from God to me and a joy to work with.

Change is never easy, folks. It is the same in our churches. You will find that many of those who say they want change, really do not. At least they don’t want change if it affects them or someone or some ministry that is very special to them.

There is no activity I know that offers more opportunity for second guessing, for hind-sight, than engaging in change. We have been through a lot of change in our staff assignments. I really thought we could get through the change and to a new synergy within two years. It has been more like four years. Would I do some things differently? Sure, of course. Would I do it again? Absolutely.

There is no good way to downsize a staff. It is important to offer the best severance, job placement services, and retirement packages you feel you can and that is right to do…but it still hurts and it takes time to recover.

But I want to report to you that your staff loves the churches, associations and institutions they serve. They are ready for the future and they will be great partners for our new Executive Director.

I want to encourage all of us to consider all that our convention has been through, the achievement of governance goals that have been talked about for many, many years, the challenges we have faced from those who do not wish us well, the challenge of helping churches and pastors see the vision of the BGCT as part of their desired future in a time when there are many critics of denominations and shared mission strategies…and take a deep breath. Let us say, “Thanks,” for all that God has done through this convention and let us be prepared to say, “Yes,” to all that lies before us.

I want to say, “Thanks,” to God and to you for allowing us to walk together on this journey. When we started in 1999 there were several things I wanted to see happen.

I wanted us to get our arms around Texas and hug this state up close to God.

I have prayed for and encouraged churches all across Texas to be Jesus kind of churches and hug their communities up close to the heart of God. I have seen congregations who have taken seriously the challenge to ask themselves, “If Jesus came to our town to whom would he go? What questions would he ask? Who would he listen to? What would make him weep and what would make him laugh? And knowing that, we know where we need to be this week.” The arms of Jesus that embrace the lost are on our bodies.

I celebrate with you the starting of churches all across Texas, the renewal of the vision in congregations large and small to be the presence of Christ, and the creative and truly extraordinary work of our institutions who touch 10% of the Texas population every year.

We have prayed for a renewed and vibrant call to evangelism in our churches throughout Texas. Jon Randles has come to help raise our passion and develop workable, biblical strategies for evangelism. You will want to be at the state wide Engage: Evangelizing Texas Conference, January 13-15 at Lake Pointe, Rockwall. Additionally, there will be five regional Engage conferences in February. There is a fresh wind for effective evangelism blowing across us and I urge you to let it fill the sails of your obedience and stir up a zeal for seeing people be saved.

I wanted our presence in Austin through our Christian Life Commission to be an increasing blessing and witness to Christ on behalf of all Christians and people of good will.

Your CLC is recognized by Texas legislators as the source of honest, intelligent, carefully researched information that can help them make the best decisions possible. Our Texas Baptist voice has been on behalf of morality, compassion, integrity, righteousness and justice. We have spoken out for children, both the born and the not yet born, and for religious liberty. We have been for everything that helps people and against everything that hurts them.

Thanks be to God in all of this we are getting our arms around Texas.

I wanted us to see the growing diversity of the population in Texas and plan to make our staff, our church starts, our leadership look more like the face of Texas.

Thanks be to God for the strong advances we have made in our priority to be more multicultural, to include everyone.

I wanted Texas Baptists to be friends with and an encouragement to Baptists around the world.

We joined the Baptist World Alliance as full partners in 2005. Before that we became members of the North American Baptist Fellowship, a subset of the BWA. The NABF joined with a coalition of Baptists, including the historic African American conventions, and the great and diverse Baptist bodies that make up our North American fellowship to call Baptists together this coming January for a celebration of a New Baptist Covenant. This gathering of Baptists will lift up the great vision of our Lord in Luke 4: 18-19 (I call it the Jesus Agenda!) and apply it to our time and the challenge we face in America to “preach good news to the poor, to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,” All in the name of Jesus.

I have had two hopes for our involvement with BWA. One that Baptist people around the world could be encouraged by our participation and involvement with them. Two, that our Texas Baptist family would discover how rich and blessed we are to have fellowship with courageous and dedicated Baptists we have not known very well before.

I wanted our BGCT witness to be faithful to our historic Baptist principles.

We have stressed passion for evangelism, missions, and ministry; gospel preaching and strong, servant leadership models; have lifted up the Lordship of Christ; the inspiration, truth and authority of all Scripture; the soul’s competency before God; the priesthood of each believer and all believers; the autonomy of the local church; a free church in a free state; religious liberty for all people; believer’s baptism as a sign of God’s grace and salvation, of his call to discipleship, and of a personal, experiential response to God’s call.

I wanted to encourage our Texas Baptist institutions, strengthen good relationships between them, collaboration on mutually helpful assignments and engagement with local churches so that our sense of partnership could grow and be mutually beneficial.

I wanted pastors and their families to feel valued, encouraged and blessed.

I wanted BGCT staff to be closer to the churches and associations, available, resourceful, strategic, and able to evaluate where we are being helpful and valuable and where we are not.

For all of these plans and hopes, achievements and progress made, I say, “Thanks.”

Now, let us say, “yes,” to the future.

A key to that future is answering the question: How do we really and effectively serve the local church?

Do we serve the local church best if we focus only on helping a church reach its own goals? What if these goals even in thriving churches are largely self centered? What if survival is the only thing that other churches worry about? What if celebrating property rights is more important to them then celebrating the love of God for people who live around them? What if they have come to feel they need no fellowship, no partnership with other churches or institutions? Is the BGCT responsible to call churches to catch a biblical vision of the kingdom of God and the partnership we are called to share in the gospel?

I say, “yes.”

The BGCT and its staff are committed to helping churches fulfill the mission God has laid or is laying on their hearts. We will encourage and facilitate your church in its worship, evangelism, teaching, stewardship, ministering, and enriching and protecting the unity and fellowship of the church. We will consult with you regarding the design of your facilities and pray and strategize with you about your priorities as a church. We will work to develop leaders, pastors, staff ministers and laity. We want your church to be a strong church, and being a truly strong congregation means you will have the needs of your communities, your state and your world on your heart.

Therefore, we see our role as connecting you to the work of 27 entities related to this convention which are doing God’s work in Texas and beyond and with whom you and your church are a valued partner and participant in the ministry they do and victories they win.

I am saying that we not only serve you by encouraging and facilitating growth in your church, but by connecting you to a vision of service and involvement that touches lives all across Texas.

Every child loved and put to bed between clean sheets and with a full tummy because of one of our child care institutions…is your ministry, Texas Baptists.

Every student seeking desperately to make good friends, to deal intelligently with questions and doubts is blessed if they are in one of our 10 Baptist schools or in the Baptist Student Ministry on over 100 university and college campuses across Texas…that’s your ministry, Texas Baptists.

Every one of the ministerial students who come out of our churches, called and eager to serve, are blessed by the work of these schools and our two seminaries. There are many things we must do, but none is more important than properly equipping and preparing the next generation of preachers and ministers for Texas and the world. That’s your calling as Texas Baptists.

And, today, we welcome three professors from Nigeria who are spending time with our schools providing opportunities for us mutually to benefit our work and the cause of Christ in Texas and Africa.

Dr. Ezekial Bamigboye – Church History

Dr. Ezekial Nihinlola – Theology

Dr. Rachel Lateju – Religious Education

When you help your people “connect the dots” from their Cooperative Program giving to the ministries that happen because of your church’s generosity, it expands their vision of the Kingdom of God and the incredibly important place your church has in it as partners together with God.

We are all aware that our mission paradigm has been shifting…no longer is it simply give and let others go, pray and let others serve. So another way we serve the local church is by helping your people connect with missions around the world. Here are some of the ways we do that.

Some years ago I said one of our goals would be that every Baptist church gets involved in at least one mission trip. We are still trying to figure out how to get an accurate count, but the only way I can describe what is happening in our Texas churches is that there is a mission explosion going on.

Our intercultural ministries are reaching into 50 language groups in Texas. Your church can partner with one of these churches and have an open door to establish a mission presence in their country of origin with their expertise and passion linked to the mission commitment of your church.

At this convention we are unveiling a new web site, beonmission.org. You are a pastor, chair of your church’s mission committee, staff minister looking for a place to connect your group to a meaningful mission opportunity… Where do you go to get information? Beonmission.org is designed for you. When it is fully functional in coming months you will be able to click on a country or some area of the United States about which you have some interest. Up will pop the missions information from our BGCT mission ministries, and Texas Baptist institutions. When fully functional in coming months, there will even be a way for your church to share your ministry activity, in Texas and various parts of the world. Beonmission.org will be interactive, connecting churches with other churches and all the mission activities of the BGCT. You can communicate with other churches and groups and create a mission strategy plan. WorldconneX and our BGCT missions staff are committed to working together to see that this service becomes a missions tool beyond belief.

What is the mission vision of the BGCT? It is comprehensive, collaborative, Christ centered, cooperative (interactive), and it connects churches to the mission work their people can do. It leverages the work of our institutions. It invests in the efforts, for example, of the European Baptist Federation to begin a church starting ministry in Eastern Europe where now there are 62 church planters with support coming from ten Baptist bodies including the BGCT. The gifted leader, Daniel Trusiewicz, from Poland who serves as the Church Planting coordinator is here with us today. In the BGCT there is room for both the innovative and the traditional mission activities and strategies.

This convention needs you. Every church is needed. What we should not, but often do, is take what we have been given for granted. Conventions and institutions can lose their way if we neglect to be involved. Now is the time for every Texas Baptist church to say, “Yes. You can count on us, for the sake of Christ’s gospel, for the work God has given us to do, we will step forward.”

The BGCT is your network to the needs of Texas and the world.

It’s really a lot like an old Texas windmill whose 12 blades are angled just so to catch the slightest breeze and working in concert pull the water from the earth to quench the thirst of cattle, sheep, horses and humans. Or, it may be like one of the new huge three bladed wind turbines rising high above a Texas landscape angled to catch the wind of the spirit and provide high voltage energy for calling, equipping, and connecting our people to the needs of a lost Texas and a lost world.

It is this missions piece that has been the vision drawing us forward and filling me with hope and glad anticipation for what is yet to be and is just around the corner! As Paul said to the believers in Corinth: We do what we do to be accountable to God and to you in order that you can give gladly, generously, and with confidence and, most of all, in order to honor the Lord himself!

For all that has been, I say, “Thanks,” and for all that is yet to be, I say with Paul, “In Christ it is always, Yes and Amen.”

20 Responses to “Wade speaks to messengers”

  1. John Says:

    “We have promised all our people and all churches who want to start churches, that we will not allow the Evil One to gain a victory here by causing us to withdraw from the field and close our eyes to the staggering needs in our state for new churches”

    The Devil made us do it? Is that really the best we’re going to get here? People blew it. This wasn’t spiritual warfare. And when the church tries to hold its leaders responsible . . .that’s not spiritual warfare, ether. . Shame on you, Charles Wade! You and others had a chance to take responsibility and restore confidence among Baptists who just want their leaders to show actual repentance and accountability. I and probably countless other Baptists are trying to wrestle with if and how we continue to support the Convention financially. Your speech may have made that decision easier for some, though not in the way you suppose . . .

  2. A Powerful Statement from the BGCT Blog « Spiritual Samurai Says:

    [...]  http://texasbaptists.wordpress.com/2007/10/29/wade-speaks-to-messengers/#comments [...]

  3. spiritualsamurai Says:

    Amen Brother John.

    It is like the Bay of Pigs incident. The group sits around and tells one another we can get away with this until disaster strikes.

  4. VB Says:

    Ferrell: So there was no substantive discussion about the Becker audit or the “Valleygate” story? Doesn’t that create even more suspicion and speculation about the leadership? When will the audit be complete?

  5. David Says:

    . . . As I typed before: “Technologically-advanced, spiritually-immature bloggers is how”.

    I can see that meeting with other Texas Baptists this week in Amarillo–and seeing first-hand how so very few agree with the incessant negativity and outright libel of the popular blogs on the matter–hasn’t changed a thing. I saw for myself what appeared to be a closer-than-20-feet personal opportunity to practice Matthew 18 passed up; maybe the apologies already had been offered/accepted–but it doesn’t seem so.

    Again: (1) charles.wade@bgct.org; (2) 333 Washington, Dallas; and/or, (3) 1-888-244-9400. And, Matthew 18:15-20. Let’s all grow up–before next year’s annual meeting.

  6. VB Says:

    Well I wasn’t at that meeting. And neither were a HUGE majority of Baptists across the great state of Texas. So for those of us who didn’t see what you saw first hand – I just want to know – as one whose money has been used for ill-gotten gain when I meant it to go to the cause of Christ – what is going to happen about all of this? This is not an attack on the Ex Bd or its Director – this is a question that should have been answered in the last 48 hours.

  7. David Says:

    VB:

    Your questions are valid–but asked of the wrong person/people. Don’t be afraid; use the same fingers typing your blog inquiry to type an email note directly to Dr. Wade or to dial the phone number at the Baptist Building to speak with him yourself. When I want to know something, that’s what I do–and I get an answer. I don’t waste time inquiring of blog authors who, if they do what the Lord commands, must ask the person directly and then report back to me.

    Again: (1) charles.wade@bgct.org; (2) 333 Washington, Dallas; and/or, (3) 1-888-244-9400. This is NOT rocket science. And, don’t believe anything any blogger–me included–tells you via a blog site; find out for yourself by going to the source.

  8. spiritualsamurai Says:

    The only thing done about Becker is that Charles Wade blames FBC Weslaco. It is all their fault.

    No one will ever answer for the theft this side of eternity.
    Charles Wade will be remembered for the scandal and little else in the history books of the future.

  9. Terry Says:

    David,
    In short, us “bloggers” have tried to contact the Executive Director. We have not received answers and some of us have not received any response to our inquiries.
    God Bless.

  10. David Says:

    Terry:

    I’m as much a blogger as you seem to be–but I try to provide balance to the misinformation and negative attitude that is circulated by others.

    Unless you’ve sought to make the ugly and unnecessary sort of contacts with the executive staff as some we know blogging at this site will/do, those staff members will dialog with you.

    If a clergyman is going to–at any time in the future–preach or teach from Matthew 18:15-20, that minister had better have made the Lord Jesus’ commands found there his practice. You and I both know that that has not happened–but that it should have–during the past year. The impression left by errant bloggers is that the executive staff is absolutely stupid and totally inept; that sentiment could not be farther from the truth! The executive staff members and trustees that I know would be willing for their church-staff and convention-related ministry service to be compared to that of the most vocal and vociferous bloggers. But, again, that it ever would come to something like that among Christian brothers is completely pathetic.

    In the BGCT–and in the church you now serve–there are 1000 great things taking place for every 1 real or imagined problem which may exist. If you, I, and the BGCT are going to see the kind of success we can in the future, we had better change our perspectives and work together. The state of Texas is depending on it, brother!

  11. John Says:

    David:

    1) I think you’re really misapplying Matthew 18 here. This is talking about sins done in private between brothers. When things are done and said publicly (as this speech was, for example), then a public is discussion and accountability is appropriate, and possibly even necessary, I think. I don’t personally think that Jesus had this sort of scenario in mind at all. I agree with you that the tone of some of the dialogue lately has been a little scary; the ultimate goal here ought to be to reconcile. However, with no repentance and confession, how can there be reconciliation?

    2) We’re both interpreting Matthew 18. You’re applying it one way here; I don’t think you can do that, personally. However, we are both applying a principle. You are making your interpretation the same thing as God’s command. That is both inappropriate and very dangerous for you, given how seriously God takes folks putting words in His mouth. I’m not saying your application might not be right, but don’t push it so far as to equate it with the only possible interpretation and application of this passage. Don’t play the God card here. Your comments have basically left those disagreeing with you as unorthodox and sinful; that cannot happen in discussion among believers.

  12. David Says:

    John:

    Thanks for your note to me, though I don’t think that I’m misapplying Jesus’ principles found in Matthew 18–or “playing the God card” in my comments.

    It’s clear in the Scriptures: no believer is free in Christ to fail to choose his brother in the Lord; the apostle Paul disagreed even theologically with some of his Christian brothers in his time, and wrote to the believers in Rome and Corinth about it. But, despite the disagreement, Paul said that he would exercise his liberty in Christ always to choose his believing brother–and all Texas Baptists should do the same exactly. That’s what I’m saying, and I believe that’s what the Lord Jesus meant by what He spoke as recorded in Matthew 18.

    Any way a person slices it, the behavior and rhetoric of certain bloggers in regard to recent BGCT matters is just plain wrong. If those individuals don’t understand that, they have no business–really–serving as they do in Christian ministry. The church gets a bad-enough name as it is, without the caustic comments blogged continually by those individuals–without their making some sustained personal efforts to understand matters or to correct wrongs. Instead, libel–as legally defined–and probably slander is what they’ve been guilt of for quite some time now.

    When the BGCT was coming apart at its seams in the late ’90′s (resulting in the SBTC), there were only 2 Texas Baptists–that I can recall–who were publicly seeking to do something constructive to keep the sides together. You weren’t one of them, and I wasn’t the other–but I’m willing to be one now, and I hope you’ll be one this time too.

    If you understand anything about reconciliation, share it with the bloggers you know I mean above.

  13. John Says:

    David:

    Thanks for your thoughts in response to my comment. And thank you for responding with a spirit of humility that I think my comments lacked. So for that I apologize to you. I sincerely hope that something can be done to keep the Convention going. There is so much great ministry that happens; it would be a great tragedy to lose what our cooperation in the past has gained.

  14. David Says:

    John:

    No apology necessary.

    And, there is no doubt that the BGCT will continue–and as strongly as ever. Again, for each real or perceived problem in the BGCT, God is doing 1000–100,000!–wonderful things among us. Unfortunately, problems get our attention; but, growing believers keep their eyes on the Lord Jesus and take steps forward together in evangelistic ministry. That’s the kind of thing that Rick Warren spoke about during the Monday evening session of the annual meeting. If any state Baptist convention needs to take those forward steps now, it’s the BGCT–and if any state Baptist convention CAN take those forward steps together, it’s the BGCT too!

    Stay personally involved and encourage all others to do the same; be a problem-solver personally, and help the Baptist General Convention of Texas move ahead with the gospel, not get or stay high-centered! Precious souls are at stake.

    Have a great week where you are, John. Exodus 14:14 (the way out: up)

  15. Ferrell Says:

    I’ve been away from my computer since earlyTuesday, so I’m just now catching up. I’m glad a few of you have used this blog to share your thoughts. As we all know, blogging is a conversation; and conversing is healthy for our Baptist family. I think blogging, not just here but elsewhere, has great potential for us if we all approach it with the Great Commandments in mind — and we all know what a Jesus-kind-of-love looks and sounds like.

  16. David Says:

    Ferrell:

    You’re a good blog administrator and moderator. Thank you for the reminder above–and for your hard work on behalf of Texas Baptists.

    Great Commandment Christians cannot exist apart from the Holy Spirit, and Great Commission churches cannot exist apart from Great Commandment Christians. If Texas Baptists ever have needed to yield to the Spirit for His production of Christlike love in our lives, we’ve demonstrated during the past year that we’ve never needed it more than now. If Texas ever needed Great Commandment Christians becoming Great Commission churches, it’s also never needed both more than now.

    There’s no more time for the sort of fussing that’s gone on needlessly; everyone hold hands and take two steps forward with the gospel into the state where hurting people are lost but can be loved to Christ as Savior.

  17. John Says:

    The only real problem I have with what you’re suggesting, David is that I don’t think it can happen just yet. Should it happen? Yes. But not yet. To use a tortured metaphor, you sweep ashes under a rug, not a live fire. We cannot let go of what has happened until several things take place:

    1) those who are responsible need to be held accountable; this is not about revenge, but is actually about reconciliation (if done properly), and we as believers would actually be harming them if we just let these actions slide with no confession, repentance, or whatever might be necessary

    2) I, at least, have heard of no changes in policy, personnel, or process that will guarantee this never happens again or to suggest that folks at the top have learned lessons from this. The events of the past year or so have demonstrated that — while the BGCT has done some great good for folks — there are fundamental issues in how the convention and its leaders operate and perceive themselves. We MUST address these things before we can put this behind us. Otherwise, things like this will keep happening.

    I think that the Convention has been and can be an incredible blessing. I almost wept last night as I thought about what the fall out of all of this will likely be, and how many great ministries will suffer. But to me, this is about stewardship and not politics. God requires of me to be a faithful steward of the money He gives me, and I have no seen no evidence that the BGCT has taken steps to make itself a safer place to use those funds in ministry. Does the BGCT do alot of good? Yes! Is the whole convention corrupt, inept, or insert your favorite word here? Of course not! BUT these are serious issues, and I cannot in good faith give kingdom resources to those not demonstrating responsibility, honesty, and accountability.

    Someone has got to address these issues from the top, or churches will leave the convention, and it may not survive. And that would be a tragedy.

  18. David Says:

    John:

    Your concern for convention matters–and Kingdom matters–is obvious and commendable. However, you seem to lack information which already has been made available about the issues you mention. Again, go directly to the source of info for the answers you need: ____.____@bgct.org (insert first name and insert last name before and after the dot; eg., charles.wade@bgct.org, or ron.gunter@bgct.org), or dial 1-888-244-9400. No one in the Baptist Building is hiding from you, or hoping you won’t make a personal contact to learn the answers you need.

    If the BGCT–which is your congregation associating with my congregation in order to share resources for evangelistic ministry neither church can do as well alone–is to be all it can be in the future, the dysfunctional characteristics and emotional immaturity displayed by some bloggers during the past year will have to cease. It will be an organizationally-healthy–and spiritually-healthy–BGCT which God uses best in the future, not one behaving like a dysfunctional family.

    This is NOT hard, and walking away is NOT a mature option for anyone. People or congregations choosing to exit any time in the future will not be able to report that they acted–in regard to the circumstances of the past 12-18 months–in a mature fashion. Period. During its 150-year history, the state Baptist convention in Texas has split several times–but NEVER for godly reasons (check the history for yourself); when it came back together years later, that also wasn’t truly for godly reasons (no honest repentance displayed, from what I can see that the history reports). That kind of behavior between blood-bought brothers must come to an end; the Lord Jesus permitted Himself to be hammered onto a rugged wooden cross for MUCH better behavior than that from those who would become His followers. If we are Jesus’ followers, those kinds of actions are totally unacceptable.

    Make the call or send the email–or drive to the Baptist Building–to get your answers, John.

  19. Ferrell Says:

    This has been a good conversation. I think this is good for our community of faith. I will throw in a few thoughts:

    1) I believe Charles has been a bit misunderstood regarding the “Evil One” comment. I’ve heard him say similar things in private, and the sense I get is that he doesn’t want the failures in the Valley situation to become a foothold for Satan to use in slowing down genuine church starting efforts. In other words, while some previously trusted people misused BGCT funds, we must continue to push forward in funding efforts, and that does require trust. Of course, everyone now quotes the mantra, “trust, but verify,” and that’s a good word for us. Church starting doesn’t simply involve financial transactions or covenant agreements; it’s a kingdom task that, by its nature, will involve spiritual warfare. While we must deal with the transactions and agreements with the highest of integrity, we must never forget the spiritual battle that is going on, as well.

    2) A great deal has been done to see that similar problems do not happen again. New church starting guidelines are in place, and our new church starting team leader, Paul Atkinson, is firmly committed to the integrity of our processes. I think the real challenge will come a few years down the road when the problems begin to recede in our collective memory. All of us who have walked through this time must remind those coming after us of what can happen if we ever forget the “verify” part of “trust, but verify.”

    3) The BGCT leadership fully supports the sentiment stated by John: “… these are serious issues, and I cannot in good faith give kingdom resources to those not demonstrating responsibility, honesty, and accountability.” Texas Baptists should always expect those three attributes in the handling of God’s resources. While we had failures in that regard, I am proud to be part of an organization that is so committed to responsibility, honesty and accountability that we would fess up to the problems in public and make changes so that it would not happen again.

  20. John Says:

    Ferrel:

    Thank you for the clarification. It is encouraging to see that these issues are being addressed for the future.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: