These are from David Currie, executive director of Texas Baptists Committed. 

The idea that Texas Baptists should become self-supporting, and do their own thing apart from other Baptists isn’t really new.   I believe that there was talk at one time of the BGCT becoming the center of a Baptist Convention of the Americas, in the wake of the conservative resurgence in the SBC.  I guess the vision for that has not yet been followed through.

I don’t believe the BGCT could compete, even within Texas, with the SBC and CBF in its bid to get churches to support its own world missions enterprise at the same level that the SBC and CBF support theirs.  If the option to forward were not available to the SBC and CBF churches, I think the vast majority of them would continue to support their national causes at the same level, and either quit the BGCT altogether, or give minimal amounts to its causes.  I don’t believe the resources would be there for the BGCT to sustain much of a world missionary effort. 

Without the pass-through option, in which churches can determine their own giving to state and national causes, I don’t think the BGCT would be able to raise enough funding to support what it does now, much less its own world missions enterprises.


About LS

I'm 56, happily married for 25 years, B.A., M.A., career educator with experience in education as a teacher and administrator, native Arizonan living in Pennsylvania, working on a PhD and a big fan of the Arizona Wildcats, mainly in football and basketball.

11 responses

  1. A Baptist in General says:

    Since the official definition of Cooperative Program giving was changed this June, Currie’s proposition would cause churches to long be considered a CP giving church.

    I think there is an opportunity for to highlight differences between the a positive alternative vision of the BGCT and the vision of the TxBC crowd. A more Texas Baptist response would be to allow churches to choose who CP finds go to and how much. Churches should be able determine the national group to give to and the ratio that stays in state. If these funds can be called CP at the state level, that will preserve the churches standing with the SBC or other national groups.

    So, rather than keeping all funds in state and possibly causing churches to lose standing with the SBC, make a state CP definition that is more open and inclusive. Wouldn’t that be more in line with a Texas Baptist value?

    This article gives the loyal reformists an opportunity to define a positive and encouraging vision for the BGCT that is a response (as opposed to a reaction) to the vision that the TxBC have for the convention. If a vision can be defined, it may gives churches on the edge something to rally around.

  2. A Baptist in General says:

    Need to proof before posting. First sentence should be: Since the official definition of Cooperative Program giving was changed this June, Currie’s proposition would cause churches to NO longER be considered a CP giving church.

  3. In light of money troubles and a divided convention, why would these proposals make sense to anyone?

    This “go it alone” Texas attitude is unattractive to non-native Texans such as myself. Moderate churches that do support both the BGCT and CBF have no interest in directly funding Texas missionaries. To do so would hurt the CBF. Our Texas churches have CBF missionaries already out on the field. We’re committed. Reynolds plan of a super-denomination was good conversation a decade ago. Currie’s plan seems ten years too late.

    If successful, Currie’s plan would have be devastating for “mainstream Baptists” who have invested years and much money in CBF Global Missions. However, I’m not sure such a plan could even succeed. If it does, CBFers like myself will no longer have a reason to bear the tag Texas Baptist.

  4. Lee says:

    As it stands currently, churches in the BGCT do determine both the national group they want to give to, and the percentage. That’s one of the reasons many SBC-supporting churches have remained in the BGCT rather than joining the SBTC. In the BGCT, you can give as much to the SBC as you want, and there are a lot of churches that give them 60% or more of their CP dollars. That’s why, even though the relationship between the two groups is somewhat frosty, the dollar amount that comes from the BGCT is higher than just about any other state convention except for a couple of the very largest ones.

    The BGCT has some international partnerships with Baptist groups around the world, the most recent one being with Venezuela. That makes it possible for staff to use travel expense money to fly there for short term visits, and opens the door to churches doing the same. Those short term opportunities, a “hands on” approach, are popular with churches today but I think that would be the extend of what the BGCT could do with limited resources.

    Currie is obviously bothered by the SBC connections to the religious right and by their requiring missionaries, employees and professors to sign the BFM2K. So am I. And it’s extremely tough to change the entrenched bureaucracy that now exists on its boards and committees. But if you are doing Kingdom work, the secular politics and doctrinal conformity fades in comparison, and you learn how to work around those things. But you don’t use Cooperative Program money as a wedge to force change in the denominational political structure.

    The inclusion of out of state “fellowships” in this proposal is a surprise, though I expect it is to keep down the talk about moving the BGCT to the left. While TBC and CBF are not the same group in Texas, there is a lot of overlap. Some of CBF’s biggest Texas supporters are also major supporters and participants in TBC. CBF’s global missions is finally on a solid footing, and showing some development into maturity with veteran staff. I think these proposals are just talk, since it is highly unlikely that the BGCT would ever go in that direction.

  5. Jay Fleming says:

    Lee, having read several of Currie’s weekly articles on the TBC website, I have seen how he has personally grieved over Herb Reynold’s death. Do you think that what he was doing in this speech was an attempt to ‘take up the mantle’ of Reynold’s vision for that Baptist Convention of the Americas and carry it forward? If so, then I would take the speech as less something he expects to see soon and more of a vision-casting sort of exercise.

  6. A Baptist in General says:

    Lee, the new definition for the CP from the SBC this June is undesignated receipts to the state convention. The second that a church designates a percentage it is no longer considered CP giving. If I have read the language correctly. Look at this article :
    The pay off on the article is about 11 paragraphs down. Wilson’s church would NOT be credited as giving to the cooperative program since they designate the receipts. What I am saying is, as Texas Baptist, we need to be proactive in defining cp giving as more than just the suggested ratio. We need to make sure that our churches’ money gets counted as CP giving to whatever national group a church chooses to partner.

  7. Lee says:

    I did pick up on the connection between what Currie is saying, and the Baptist Convention of the Americas vision that Herb Reynolds once cast, but didn’t pick up on Currie’s connection to it. It does look similar.

  8. Lee says:

    The CP definition of “undesignated” giving is whatever the state convention considers undesignated. Since the BGCT requires the church to determine its percentage of “undesignated” giving, that portion counts as CP giving.

    Wilson’s church would not be credited as giving to the CP because the old state convention set the percentages and the new convention has not been recognized by the SBC. The BGCT is recognized, so whatever procedure it uses to determine the split with the SBC is “undesignated” CP giving.

    This is all the product of the mentality that “money is control.” Everyone wants a share of the revenue stream, and thinks their causes are more important than other causes, so you have to have a complicated set of rules to make sure that doesn’t happen. In that regard, Currie’s proposal would certainly simplify things.

  9. Tim Dahl says:

    I was there during his speech. As I recall, he said that he was tired of the politics and fighting. The main reason there is still such a problem is due to the money. He also said that he was tired of people making missionaries into political pawns. So, his idea was for the BGCT to make a Texas only budget, and then churches can send their missions money any where they want. Also, if there is a missionary that hails from Texas, then the BGCT would pay a portion of their salary on the field, if they were a part of the IMB or CBF. However, if a missionary didn’t want to be a part of either of those organizations, then the BGCT would fully fund them.

    Basically, people fight over money; so let’s not make money an issue…especially when it’s making missionary sell their baptist identity for lintel stew.

    Now, (imo) I kind of like the idea. It would cost my church a whopping 49 cents to make a check out to the SBC and mail it. We’re not tied to giving through the convention. I mean come on, we’re an autonomous body of believers.

    However, I also see the great amount of political conflict this kind of thing would bring until it came into fruition. Will this happen any time soon? Nope, I don’t think so. Will this ever happen? No, probably not.

    However, it is still yet to be seen if the BGCT and the SBC will be relevant in the next 10-20-30 years. With most of our churches plateaued and in decline, the future doesn’t look good for the conventions.

    Tim Dahl

  10. Gary says:

    Ken Hall shares a vision for the convention of the Americas. Check out his article in the TBC newsletter from last month.

  11. Dylan says:

    Tired of the politics and fighting? That means doing missions and cooperative ministry without a convention or a multi-million dollar administrative office complex where executives make hundreds of thousands of dollars in salaries by “directing” and “administering” missions and ministry enterprises.

    It might be time for Baptists to take a look at how the churches of Christ, or the non-denominationals do missions and cooperative ministry.

    Why does it take so many people in a four story building near the Baylor hospital complex to “administer” the cooperative missions ministry of 5,700 churches?