Texas Baptist Convention?

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The Baptist Standard is reporting the Future Focus Committee is going to present a name change for the Baptist General Convention of Texas. The committee is going to put forth the name Texas Baptist Convention.

Messengers to the BGCT Annual Meeting will have the opportunity to vote on the proposed name. For the name to take effect, it must be approved during two consecutive annual meetings.

So what do you think of the proposed name change?

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44 Responses to “Texas Baptist Convention?”

  1. Lee Says:

    That’s not a bad idea, though it represents a cosmetic change. I hope the committee has come up with some suggestions of substance, that are representative of thinking which reflects serious consideration of the changes that the future will bring, and some kind of a plan for meeting those challenges.

  2. John Says:

    Lee, I asked Andy Pittman, co-chair of the committee, about that very thought this morning. Essentially, he told me this is just a first step. The committee put this forward first because it takes two years to get it done.

    To read more about what Andy and Stephen, co-chairs of the committee, said, go here: http://www.bgct.org/texasbaptists/Page.aspx?pid=5581&srcid=178

    Both of them believe there is more work to do.

  3. Mark Says:

    Of the many issues the Focus Committee is looking at I hope this is not the primary topic. This is such a non issue! I hope we don’t take much if any time at the convention discussing this name change. The BGCT is well known I believe. I can’t see why we would want to change. As long as we are not confused with the SBTC I’m pleased.

  4. spiritualsamurai Says:

    This is so bazaar. With all the problems facing our convention and the thing these folks want to bring up is a name change?

    Well, the BGCT has been ran by the TBC for years, it might as well be the TBC.

  5. wackypreacher Says:

    “This is so bazaar.” Well first of all David, spell it right, second, in the words of the “philosopher”—”Why so serious?”

    Somehow when I saw this article, I knew you would respond in a negative way. Hmm, I wonder why?

  6. David Lowrie Says:

    As a member of the future focus committee I can assure you as you can read in the comments of Stephen Hatfield and Andy Pittman that this is not all we have been doing.

    Think about it, when you speak of the work of the Baptist General Convention of Texas it is so tempting to speak of the work of “Texas Baptists”. The name is simple and concrete. We are the TEXAS BAPTIST CONVENTION. The name change alone would be like changing the name of the First Baptist Church of Canyon to the NEW First Baptist Church of Canyon hoping that people would think that my church was “new and improved”.

    No the real test of the vision will be to cast a bold, daring vision of the future that will challenge us to come together as TEXAS BAPTISTS to reach Texas and the world with the gospel of Jesus.

    On a side note, please be honest and direct with your feedback. Ideas are ideas. We are family and we want to hear from you.

    David Lowrie

  7. Spiritual Samurai Says:

    Sorry about that spelling Wackypreacher. No, it was a bazaar under Charles Wade (come, give the man praise and you get money). I was just shocked.

    Dr. Lowrie, I do not believe the name change will do anything more than create confusion. Why even think of a name change?

  8. Tim Dahl Says:

    If you do a youtube search under: “Mac Bean Counter” …you should find an interesting little commercial.

    I believe it says volumes about this.

    Tim

  9. David Lowrie Says:

    Dear Samurai,

    I believe you have a point. I have heard similar comments from others. As I suggested earlier the basic concept revolves around the idea that the name Texas Baptist Convention speaks to our identity and mission effectively. Our primary mission field and mission force lies within Texas. We are Baptist, and proud to carry on the Baptist voice in a world moving away from denominational labels. The Baptist name we have been given is a honored name in Christian history even though at times we have drug our name through the name by our own missteps. We are a “convention” that speaks of our coming together as autonomous churches for a common mission and purpose.

    The banner of the Baptist General Convention of Texas has been the flag I have served under since my first days as a pastor in Texas. It is a good name no doubt. However, the challenges we face in the future call for a fresh bold vision of mission and ministry. A new start as it were, and the name TEXAS BAPTIST CONVENTION

  10. David Lowrie Says:

    Oops–post before finishing my thought.

    The name Texas Baptist Convention could stand as a constant reminder that we must look to the future while building on the past.

    The good news is motion is not an edict from on high. This is a recommendation from a group of your brothers and sisters in Christ. If you do not believe this would be a wise and prudent move then please by all means come to Fort Worth and get involved in the dialogue. Vote your convictions, and let’s seek the will of our Lord together.

    I agree with you all that the least of our challenges revolves around our name, but this motion was to encourage us to embrace our future with a renewed commitment and common vision as Texas Baptists.

    David Lowrie

  11. spiritualsamurai Says:

    Please, all, read McBeth’s “Texas Baptist” before we do this, this, this,

    Heaven help me I cannot write the words.

  12. David Troublefield Says:

    I’m OK if Dell wants to re-name its Inspiron 1150 to something like “Constellation 20″ or even “Buccaneer XYZ”–but what I really want is for the thing to operate everytime I turn it on, to help me get my work done efficiently.

    The BGCT–or TBC if it’s re-named–only is a tool my congregation (and yours) provides to itself via its CP dollars in order to help it accomplish its Great Commission responsibilities in Texas and the world (the same with local associations and national conventions). Period. It may feel like family because we know and love the staff working for the convention and the people volunteering to lead its committees, but the BGCT isn’t really family–it’s a huge religious non-profit organization requiring qualified employed/elected leadership and charged to help equip/resource Texas Baptists, as I said. Again, it’s a tool. When the tool doesn’t work well, it can be fine-tuned; when it no longer can be fine-tuned because the job has changed or the conditions of the work isn’t the same, the convention can be set aside for something that works. If a congregation decides to use another–or an entirely different–tool to accomplish its Great Commission responsibilities, it’s free to do so with the Lord’s leadership and it’s no other church’s business.

    I think Texas Baptist churches should set aside the sentimentality so many feel toward the BGCT, continually request the help from its employed staff that they already pay for via their tithes/offerings, and then actually get busy witnessing to other Texans.

    Obviously, the Future Focus Committee isn’t done with it’s work. It’s only gotten started, and surely it’ll move forward to the more important matters before long.

  13. David Troublefield Says:

    . . . AREN’T the same . . . (not “isn’t the same”)

  14. Dave Keith Says:

    After 25 years as pastor of the same small church with a 130 year history, the prospect of a name change will actually help me in communicating the identity of our congregation. Many years ago I stopped answering the question, “What kind of Baptist church are you?” by saying, “Southern Baptist.” My standard response became, “We are Texas Baptists.” I am one of the last people who would suggest change for its own sake, but a time to clarify who we are as a convention presents itself now.

    In the interest of full disclosure, I must tell you that I am a member of the FF committee. The unanimity I saw around the room Monday among a group of Texas Baptists who have collectively made sacrifices I can barely conceive, astounded me. If there were a group anywhere who might sentimentally cling to the BGCT name, they were in that room. Instead, there was a clear, quick consensus that a name change to Texas Baptist Convention would reflect the spirit of who we are.

    And I would echo Dr. Lowrie’s observation that this is not all the Future Focus Committee has been doing. The leadership and members have a laser beam focus on producing substantive, relevant suggestions for the future health of the Texas Baptist Convention.

  15. David Lowrie Says:

    Dear Samurai,

    The book TEXAS BAPTISTS has been distributed as required reading for our committee. I am working my way through the book, and have learned a great deal of our history and heritage. As you know the last twenty-five years in our history have been very challenging to say the least. One lesson learned from our past is that Texas Baptist are a people who have a frontier spirit and have a deep seated passion to take the gospel all across our state.

    I am confident the future recommendations of the Future Focus Committee will be in the same missional, frontier spirit of those who first founded our convention. As you know once again we are entering uncharted new territory. The challenges and opportunity of our day would have blown the minds of many who sacrificed for the institutions, and mission of our convention. Please pray for us that we will get our Kingdom Assignment right.

    As Texas Baptists, once again it is time for us to pull together and work together to share the hope of Jesus with everyone within our realms of influence.

    David Lowrie

  16. David Troublefield Says:

    If I’m not mistaken, the same book describes how Texas Baptists in decades gone by split several times–and not for godly reasons (instead, regional and “we’re not getting ours” reasons), and that it wasn’t necessarily for godly reasons (e.g., repentance) that they reunited to form the larger convention again years later. The times aren’t so different in the 21st century, it seems . . .

    Again, see the convention for what it is (a tool), remove the emotions (no one “loves” his circular saw or blender–though it’s OK to get excited when a tool costing lots of money actually does its job right), continually request the staff assistance already being paid for by CP contributions (demand that help if necessary; if current staff can’t provide it–or do so with a cooperative and non-arrogant spirit–demand that staff be replaced with qualified folks who can), and move forward evangelistically into the state. Simple. (Same thing on the association and national levels; we don’t have to share milllions of dollars because we share a common theology–except to pay for a really great tool to help us get the Great Commission done)

  17. Joe Byron Says:

    Baylor Newspaper Endorses Gay Marriage:

    Passage of Proposition 8 continues marginalization Nov. 5, 2008
    Proposition 8 was just passed in California, effectively banning gay marriage in the state. The amendment was the result of tireless efforts on the part of evangelical groups.

    Preachers from all over the country moved to California to join in the effort, calling people to fast and pray. Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, said of the passage of the measure, “It’s more important than the presidential election.”

    So much energy expended, so much idealism for a cause would be commendable if it weren’t in the interest of hate and oppression. It is disturbing that so many would rally together to ensure that so many others stay marginalized, others whose only indiscretion is to love someone of the same gender.

    For a short time, California, Maryland and Connecticut all recognized same-sex marriages as legal. Why is this a sign of the end of times for the Christian right? Imagine a scenario in which gays could marry across the country: it would be just like now, but gay couples that live together anyway would now have property and visitation rights like straight couples. They could call themselves wives or husbands. That’s it. Straight marriages would remain just as “sacred” as we make them.

    The same sort of rhetoric used to bar gays from marrying was used in the 1950′s in support of anti-miscegenation laws: it was implied that the ability of races to intermarry threatened the sanctity of normal (straight, white, Christian) marriages.

    That mentality is seen as bigoted and outdated now, as this current debate will be seen in, at most, a few decades. Proposition 8 in California is a temporary setback in an inevitable movement toward inclusiveness.

    Always instep with the Christian right, Baylor remains embarrassingly behind in its perception of gay rights. Baylor’s sexual misconduct policy calls human sexuality a “gift from the creator God” to be enjoyed through “heterosexual relationships within marriage.” Misuses of this gift include “sexual abuse, sexual harassment, sexual assault, incest, adultery, fornication and homosexual acts.”

    It is wrong to list rape and abuse in the same sentence with consensual sex between adults. That is a stinging, personal affront to the gay community.

    In 2005, Baylor kicked alumnus Tim Smith off the business school advisory board for refusing to deny his sexuality. He had personally donated $65,000 to Baylor and raised $60,000 more for a scholarship fund. He had an MBA from Harvard. Apparently it was his private life and not his loyalty or qualification for the job that mattered.

    This is an outrage that is, frankly, a joke at other universities. At any public university, he could sue for discrimination. Baylor ought to remember that just because it can legally do something doesn’t mean it should. If an act is questionably legal at all, shouldn’t we examine whether it should be done?

    In March of 2007, members of Soulforce, a Christian gay rights activist group, were arrested on campus in front of Waco Hall for chalking Bible quotes that support their message of tolerance and equality. As I watched them lead away in handcuffs, I cried with admiration of their stoicism. I was furious, and couldn’t imagine being led away peacefully. I also cried with disgust at the ignorant and mean-spirited behavior of institution that purports to be of higher learning.

    How can Baylor expect to compete in a new century with regressive ideas of segregation based on identity? It can’t, and unless some things change, it will become increasingly more embarrassing to identify oneself as an alumnus. I don’t want to be thought of as a close-minded bigot.

    Baylor does nothing to foster an atmosphere of tolerance. Even in the most inviting of environments on campus, ignorant or judgmental comments can be heard. Students can hardly be blamed for their ignorance. In denying gays and lesbians the right to have a recognized group on campus (like at any other university), Baylor legitimizes notions that gays and lesbians are secondary persons, or worse, that homosexuality is a choice or some sort or mental illness.

    That this oppression happens in the name of a “god of love” is the biggest insult and biggest joke of all.

    Jade Ortego is a senior journalism major from Sweeny and is a staff writer for The Baylor Lariat.

    More News …

  18. Ken Coffee Says:

    I am going to wait to hear more about what the rationale is for this change. At present, I have heard little that seems to make a lot of sense. For well over a century BGCT stood for something great. I am not one who will let the last few years negate all that. I might eventually vote to throw away the name BGCT, but I will have to be convinced beyond what I am currently feeling. I understand that this name change recommendation is a two year process, but I wish it could have been accompanied by other recommendations, instead of a stand alone recommendation that has the appearance of rearranging the deck chairs on a sinking ship. I do not believe the BGCT is sinking, but I do believe she has a limited window of opportunity for substantive change. I long to see what other changes may come.

  19. Stephen G. Hatfield Says:

    I consider myself computer/internet competent, but not blogger competent—this posting is my first ever. I want to respond to comments made on two fronts:
    1) concerning the work of the Future Focus Committee, which I co-chair along with Andy Pittman, and 2) the election of officers for the BGCT at the annual meeting next week.

    The name change recommendation (from BGCT to Texas Baptist Convention) is not the sum total of our work. We planned to give a brief report at the 2008 Convention, since our final report and recommendations will not be presented until the 2009 Convention. The name change proposal was one we felt we should present now, but it is only one of several proposals our committee will present to Texas Baptists for consideration. I would encourage messengers to come to the meeting next week and hear our rationale, discuss its merits, and vote one’s conscience. We have a blessed heritage and we feel this name change will help us identify who we are to the more than 11 million people who live in our great multiethnic state. In my mind, it is simply formalizing the informal language we have used for years—we are Texas Baptists. Nothing more, nothing less.

    I will be nominated for election as President of our Convention when we meet next week. I remember the days when messengers would nominate one or more persons to serve as officers, giving people a choice. This is the way it should be. I love the life God has given me—to live my life as a pastor. I have had the privilege of pastoring Texas churches in Venus (yes, it’s a real place), Grandview, and Lewisville. I also spent four years pastoring in North Little Rock, Arkansas. The church I presently serve (FBC Lewisville) gives generously to the Cooperative Program, supporting BGCT and SBC ministries and institutions. I spent eleven years as a student at Southwestern Seminary. Like many others, seminary is what brought me to Texas in the first place. And I now consider it a privilege to teach New Testament, as a teaching fellow, for the B. H. Carroll Theological Institute—an innovative seminary that will impact future generations. I look forward to working with those who want to see our convention move forward in evangelism/missions, Christian education, and meeting the needs of desperate people. If elected, I will serve to the best of my ability. If not elected, I will still serve our Convention to the best of my ability.

  20. David Troublefield Says:

    Stephen:

    It’s good to be a part of your first blogging experience. Thanks for the update provided to readers here. Keep up the good work both as pastor (Mike Tucker gives me reports, as a happy FBC-L member, when he travels through for LifeWay and we eat lunch together) and committee co-chair.

  21. Andy Says:

    The Baptist Standard article and John Hall’s article told almost everything I wanted to say about the proposed name change. Anyone who wants to read more about the Future Focus Committee’s rationale can find a statement on my blog: http://andypittman.blogspot.com/

    While my comments on the blog are written in first person, please understand that Stephen Hatfield helped to write and edit.

  22. Tim Dahl Says:

    Something to think about, we are some of the Texas Baptists. There are quite a few Texas Baptists that aren’t aligned with the BGCT, SBC, or just about anything. There are many independents, many Free Will, many 7th Day Baptists, etc. The ones I’ve spoken with mention the arrogance of the BGCT to use the term “Texas Baptists” to refer to their members, as if they are the only ones. I believe this name change will just cement that thought in the minds of the larger “Texas Baptist” family.

    We are not the only Baptists in Texas. Lets stop pretending that we are.

    Tim Dahl

  23. David Troublefield Says:

    Can’t the others get their own updated name?

  24. spiritualsamurai Says:

    Dr. Hatfield,

    When you post the same reply to several sites, that is usually known as spam. Almost makes me wonder if it was suggested by Currie. He is usually a bit behind in using technology in the election process.

    I remember your father in Arkansas during the Don Moore, John Finn days. He was a solid servant.

    One thing this name change may do is bring more people to Ft. Worth (or keep them home in disgust). Either way, you have pretty well assured it will not be a quiet convention.

  25. Dave Keith Says:

    Well spiritualsamurai, that was a cheap shot! The sad reality is that when you are relatively high profile, you have to refrain from shooting from the lip, as folks will seize on every imagined nuance of phrasing.

    I’m also a newcomer to this blog thing so I don’t know any personal history, but your obvious disaffection and sarcasm sadden me.

  26. JND Says:

    It’s a bad idea. History matters.

  27. David Troublefield Says:

    I think everyone should remember what the BGCT is–and what it isn’t–and the Focus committee should be permitted to do its job completely without conflict. If there’s to be “conflict,” it can be later when the committee makes its suggestions and the brotherly dialog begins. Even at that point, the suggestions will be only that–suggestions. No one can hijack a state convention without the congregations composing letting it happen (and a convention with as little member involvement as that probably would deserve it).

    Again: take out the emotions–past, present, or future. There’s no need for it, or reasonable point in it. What’s done is done; we’re all moving forward now–even if under watchful eyes. Reaching every region of Texas obviously is going to depend on it, and I don’t doubt that everybody can understand that.

    Next happy topic?

  28. David Troublefield Says:

    From Dr. Everett’s October 31 letter posted at http://www.bgct.org/texasbaptists/Page.aspx?pid=5586:

    “. . . By God’s grace, we must commit to share the hope of Christ with every person in Texas in his or her own language and context by Resurrection Sunday 2010. This is something God obviously already desires. Each person in Texas is someone God created, loves and is calling to himself. When we meet with each other, we cannot forget about the least of those among us. Who are the lost and forgotten of Texas?

    “The annual meeting must be a time of prayer for God to convict us of our need to intercede, for God to open our eyes to the opportunities surrounding us, and for God to bring the lost to himself. The meeting must be a time of commitment to share the hope of Christ with our families, friends and even strangers. It also must be a time of committing our resources to share with those who have too little.

    “It’s time for another big dream. Pray that God will do something transformational in our midst.”

    Maybe the transformation’s already begun. I believe God is committed to doing His part in reaching Texas for Christ–and that He’s also committed NOT to do our part. I think that Christians should pray prayers God already is committed to answering–and that prayers for our cities or towns are some of those prayers. I believe that God will straighten out every crooked thing and fix every broken thing in our communities to reach residents for Himself; some of those crooked things are crooked Christians and some of those broken things are our broken churches. Can you feel tension and pain?–It’s the feeling of crooked things straightened and broken things being fixed. And transformation taking place? Don’t know what to do?–Keep praying for your community.

  29. Mark Says:

    On the dawn of the 2008 BGCT annual meeting I have an alarming feeling that we are going backwards toward the old SBC again. Yuck, the thought of being aligned with the SBC is sickening. The SBC has maligned us and despised the BGCT time and time again. I am a proud part of the BGCT and NOT a part in any manner whatsoever with the SBC. My church proudly supports the BGCT and the CBF along with the BWA. To move toward the SBC in any manner is simply beyond my comprehension. Yes, I will be at the BGCT meeting in Ft. Worth and do all I can to vote for REAL Baptists and not those who “long to go back to Egypt”

  30. David Troublefield Says:

    I doubt seriously that informed Texas Baptists (BGCT Baptists) could be persuaded easily to break entirely from the SBC–I can’t be. But, the SBC needs the BGCT–at least, it needs the BGCT’s dollars–more than we need the SBC. The BGCT certainly has demonstrated that it has the courage which should accompany its biblical convictions–in the face of significant SBC and SBTC pressure; that’s a trait we never should lose (again, the SBC needs the BGCT)–and the need for it hasn’t necessarily changed (I HOPE ALL CANDIDATES FOR BGCT OFFICER POSITIONS UNDERSTAND THAT: THE STANCE OF THE SBC’S LEADERSHIP HASN’T CHANGED OVER THESE YEARS, AND FUNDAMENTALISM STILL IS A VERY REAL ISSUE IN THE SBC!–WE LIKE ALL OF YOU GUYS, BUT DON’T LEAD US WRONG IN THIS MATTER). Some of our leaders may have made mistakes in recent years, but facing down the SBC’s leaders over biblical issues in those years wasn’t one of them.

    As for aligning with the CBF: it’s the choice of all local churches–and not the business of other local churches–as long as the CBF is true to the Scriptures; if it isn’t, fellowship obviously is affected.

    Texas Baptists Committed: give us your research and then back off; each of us can make his own choice based on it as he sees fit.

  31. MSC Says:

    Is one motive behind the name change to distinguish the BGCT from the SBTC?

    When the old folks (and young) need a scorecard to differentiate our two state conventions, it shows we have not kept our history and doctrine before our people. Will a name change bring any clarity?

    I hope to hear a solid motive or two for a BGCT name change from the committee.

  32. Jason Says:

    I am sad to see this name change. I feel that it is another way to distance the BGCT from the national convention – the SBC. After being at the BGCT convention this year, I feel that I am able to support the decisions of the BGCT less and less. I do not like this. I am not sure what David Troublefield’s definition of a fundamentalist is, but I believe in the fundamentals of the Bible. I even agree with the SBC on almost every issue. I agree with the BGCT on many issues, the border ministry, student ministries and other ministries are wonderful. However, it seems more and more evident to me that the BGCT is pulling away and to the left and being aligned with national conventions that allow churches who practice un-godly activites to still be members.

    For me, the name change will be the last straw. I will encourage our church to pull out of the convention. I am not sure where we will go – if we even need join another state convention. Our local association is going very strong and 20k annually would help them out greatly. But, I do this with a heavy heart and sadness.

    I do not say any of this to belittle any of you – so please belittle me as little as possible. I am just frustrated by the way the BGCT is turning out. We need godly men of character who will stand up for the truths of the scripture and not lead us to join groups that allow unbiblical practices.
    We need an “Adrian Rogers.”

    From a frustrated pastor

  33. David Troublefield Says:

    I sat through all the sessions of the BGCT annual meeting on Monday and Tuesday of this week–and saw little which concerned me either theologically or politically. I observed no obvious pull either to the left or to the right, as I had expected–especially to the right, though that still may be to come with our elected leadership (for whatever the reason, attendance was low). My only concern about anything “to the left” was a reference from the platform to a woman deacon, which I don’t believe can be supported directly from the Scriptures (unless congregational polity permits it; I’m open to instruction here, but we all read the same Bible . . .). My definition of fundamentalist doesn’t include all Baptists with whom I disagree; by it, I refer to those who demonstrate a spirit and practice of forcing/attempting to force all others to believe/practice what they do theologically. A present-day example on the state convention level: the Missouri Baptist Convention, which I personally observed being taken over earlier in this decade as a trustee of its executive board (all the trustees were theologically conservative; a minority were fundamentalists in the sense I mention above–and they succeeded in forcing a take-over of the convention in 2001 for political purposes, not theology; again, I was there to see it for myself). Fundamentalists might be either conservative or liberal theologically; they’re distinguished by their attempts to force others to believe/practice their brand of theology (99.8% of SBCers are conservative theologically BUT moderate politically, not being willing to MAKE anyone believe/practice what they believe as we all answer to God for that; the problem: 99.3% of all SBCers are uninvolved in convention/denominational matters).

    Again, the BGCT simply is a tool your congregation already helps to pay for via its CP contributions in order to assist it in getting done its Great Commission responsibilities (a huge religious non-profit organization whose existence makes no sense apart from the evangelistic activities of mission-active local churches, staffed with people who are the most “expert” in their fields employed to assist churches in accomplishing their ministries). What kind of tool specifically, and what quality of tool, the BGCT is will be up to you. Don’t call on its staff–whose salaries and expertise you already pay for–frequently to assist you, don’t elect messengers to attend the meetings, don’t suggest church members to serve on its committees, don’t set the pace for the convention as a local church actively working its own strategy for reaching your community for Christ THEN you’ll get the kind of convention you really may not want. To pull out over a name change seems fairly silly; I personally don’t care what it’s called as long as it–as a tool I help to pay for–works every time I need/want to use it and with a spirit of cooperation.

  34. Jason Says:

    David.

    By not telling you all the reasons why I am not happy with the BGCT would make it sound silly to pull out over a name change. (By the way, I do not have to go into that, but like I said – it is the straw not the main reason.)

    But, one of the reasons I am upset with the BGCT is that the IMB is not longer directly supported. After looking at the proposed budget and seeing how everyone voted, it tells me that the original CP – the one that supports the SBC is not highly valued.

    Yes, I understand that I can tell the BGCT to direct my money to them, but how sad it is that as a convention, the national convention is no longer supported.

    Have a great Sunday worship!
    Jason

  35. David Troublefield Says:

    Jason:

    I’m not AT ALL the big fan of the BGCT now that I was a few months ago–for my own good reasons, as well. However, if I understand anything about the recent funding choices made by Texas Baptists (BGCT ones) as it relates to missions it’s that the population of the state of Texas continues to grow astronomically by comparison with other states–the world is coming to Texas, along with hundreds of thousands of our fellow Americans and even more on the way (23 million here now; Houston ISD has almost 100 languages represented among its students). In order to reach our state ourselves, more of our CP dollars must remain here. It’s an explanation I’m good with, even if it means fewer dollars for the IMB (the BGCT continues to be one of the IMB’s biggest contributors).

    Recently, our town experienced considerable rain resulting in much flooding of homes (160 houses–on top of many others flooded earlier in the summer), including homes owned by members of our church. That day, our office contacted the BGCT’s Congregational Strategist serving our area of the state; the next day, he was here with paperwork to be completed for the financial assistance which the BGCT is able to provide directly to flood-affected families. The next week, those families had that money in-hand to apply to their own disaster recovery efforts. Our local Director of Missions phoned the offices of our sister Baptist convention in Texas to find out whether or not it offers similar assistance; he was phoned back the next day by a staff member of that convention reporting that it doesn’t–and I realize that it’s because that convention passes along so much of its CP contributions to the national level that it can’t help Texans when they’re in serious need; their only hope is for a part of that money to come back from NAMB, but it won’t.

    You have your own reasons for quitting the BGCT. If you feel the way I do about the poor management/work habits and sheer arrogance of some convention employees on the top 4 tiers, then I certainly can understand. But, I think I’d encourage you not to give up without standing up for what your congregation already has bought and paid for by its present CP contributions (i.e., get more involved?). Whatever other group you choice likely won’t be much different, brother. So, be a congregation on-mission in your community, request (insist on) the assistance of the BGCT staff members you may need to do that ministry well, and don’t stop until you’ve reached your church’s evangelism goals by their deadlines–then start over again.

    I hope your Sunday is better than you can stand, it’s so blessed by the Lord!

  36. Ferrell Says:

    David, I love how you ended that last post. The part about on mission and requesting assistance from the BGCT.

    As someone in the top four tiers, that part stung; but we need to hear what people think.

    Jason, I would hate to see your church pull away from the BGCT. I invite you and your congregation to explore more closely what the BGCT is all about. I will come to your church and visit, if you like; and there are others on our staff who would do the same. My email is ferrell.foster@bgct.org.

    The best way to describe our relationship with the national bodies is in the traditional Baptist terminology of autonomy. The BGCT is simply an autonomous conduit whereby churches seek to accomplish missions, evangelism, ministry and education that they cannot do by themselves. We work with the SBC, CBF, BWA and others. In fact, we probably work more with the SBC than the others.

    More than 70 percent of BGCT churches that give through CP are SBC churches. Our new president, David Lowrie, is pastor of a strong SBC church. But we do not require BGCT churches to relate to the SBC, and many do not. The churches, in other words, call the shots.

    By the way, the BGCT has never directly supported the IMB or its predecessor the FMB (at least as far as I know). The SBC sets the funding formula for how its CP receipts are disbursed.

    I hope that is a little help. Again, let me know if I can be of any help. My main desire is to help your church accomplish its Kingdom tasks.

  37. David Troublefield Says:

    Ferrell:

    My reference was to “some” in the top 4 tiers of the organizational structure–but not to all, and not to you specifically. The “some” to whom I refer know who they are because I myself have told them so; my interest in making reference to them in this posting is so that those individuals and any Texas Baptists reading here will remember that Texas Baptists employ the convention’s staff via our CP contributions for one reason: to respond well to requests of local churches for aid in our evangelistic ministries–and certainly not to experience arrogance or blame from BGCT employees who request our help with their work (again, the ones to whom I refer know what I mean). If the employees in the top 4 tiers ever meet together, I wouldn’t at all mind that a reminder of those things be given to those employees on behalf of Texas Baptists. Texas Baptists love the BGCT’s staff, but the BGCT with its employees simply is a tool Texas Baptists provide to themselves for furthering the ministries of their local churches.

    The “on mission and requesting assistance” part: local Texas Baptist churches should set the pace for evangelism, not the staff of the BGCT. When the employees of the convention must set the pace as with Texas Hope 2010, it’s a sad day for Texas Baptist churches. Maybe Dr. Everett was told by elected representatives of Texas Baptist churches during the ED search and interview process that our congregations desire emphasis on a concerted state-wide evangelism effort with goals and deadlines; if so, our local churches set the pace. If not, we should have.

  38. Robert F Revier Says:

    Oh?! Your’e that group that changed their name?

  39. David Troublefield Says:

    Robert:

    Read the latest here: http://www.baptiststandard.com (name change deferred for now; more listening/thinking/teamwork required before moving forward–no big deal, really).

    Have a great weekend where you are.

  40. Bobby Cates Says:

    I am a relatively young and new pastor so I try not to focus on the politics of “Texas Baptist” life. When I do, I tend to lose sight of what matters to my church and, ultimately, my God. However, I can’t pass this conversation up.

    I do believe the name change is just the first step for the BGCT. My concern is that it will be the first of a series of changes that will either re-define or reveal the true identity of the convention.

    I’ve heard some quotes from TBC’s David Currie and some from the various Standard write-ups about the issue that seem to indicate this is going to lead to a “non” or “anti” Southern Baptist state convention. Some of these comments sound like this…

    “We are Texas Baptists, and we don’t need to tie ourselves to or define ourselves by some national convention”

    “I don’t understand how any church can by aligned with the BGCT and the SBC.”

    “Texas Baptists just do things their own way. We are different here.”

    “We want to build a broader base where all Texas Baptists can cooperate.”

    All of this points to an eventual distancing from the SBC. The BGCT has every right to do that because that’s the freedom that we believe churches have. I just wish the subterfuge would fade away and the leaders of the convention would actually say exactly what they are thinking.

    If the BCGT wants to paint with a broader brush, go right ahead. However, in doing so churches will continue to leave because they don’t want to see the pool widened for the sake of depth and theological or doctrinal integrity.

    This proposed name change isn’t just window-dressing. There is definitely more in store. The question is whether it is where most BGCT-affiliated churches want to go. As for the church I serve, we aren’t too excited about where this convention is headed. I pray that changes from our end and the BGCT’s end.

  41. Robert F Revier Says:

    David,

    I forget the stiff nature of the medium here in the blogosphere and was speaking ‘tongue in cheek’.<8~} I voted for the ‘research into a name change’ realizing later that the way it was presented was more to the effect that after next year’s reading depending on the vote, it will become TBC. I guess that comes from my novice experience at messengering. Alth9ough I see the same inference in your comment. Thanks for the link tothe Baptist Journal article.

    Robert

  42. David Troublefield Says:

    Robert:

    No problem. Glad you were there–really, thousands more should have chosen to be.

    David

  43. Matt Says:

    To quote Mr. Bill Shakespeare, “What’s in a name?” Call it whatever you want, it is what it is.

  44. kurier dhl Says:

    kurier dhl…

    [...]Texas Baptist Convention? « We Are Texas Baptists[...]…

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