Ed Jackson’s motion to form a committee “to address the relationship between the BGCT and its institutions, set priorities, study changing missions strategies and analyze the impact of innovation on our ministries and the sustainability of all programs”, was replaced by a substitute motion from Phillip Wise, adjusting the number of reports back to the executive board. The substance of it reads like this:
“The committee will study, analyze and project income for the BGCT and address relationships between the BGCT and its institutions. The purpose of the committee is to determine the best use of resources to win Texas and the world to Jesus Christ and to encourage and support the ministries to which God has called us.”
The phrases “study changing mission strategies” and “analyzing the impact of innovation” were key, as far as I am concerned. It is becoming increasingly clear that denominational structures and organizations have entered into a post-denominational period in which their relevance, importance, and value have experienced a rather sudden and sharp decline. The terms “change” and “innovation” are key, in my opinion, if the BGCT is going to move toward any kind of future usefulness and relevance.
The chairman of the committee, Andy Pittman, whom I met briefly in Amarillo last October, is a very young man whose age and appearance would suggest that he has a strong grasp on the situation as it currently exists, and comprehends the need for deep change. You might be wondering how I could have gathered all of that from one brief meeting, and the fact is that it is an assumption for sure. But he has taken on the challenge of pastoring an extremely traditional church in East Texas, and appears to be moving it toward an effective future of ministry. And I do read his blog. David Lowrie’s presence on the committee is also a positive aspect of it.
I believe the BGCT’s universities and educational institutions are the key component of its ministry. Small, Christian affiliated universities have fallen on hard times in the past couple of decades, and many have closed their doors or merged with larger schools. Those are the places where our future church leaders are trained, and not only do they need to survive, and thrive, but they need to be on the cutting edge of the kinds of things that will help the ministers and church leaders they train be equipped and prepared to serve in a fast-changing world. I realize university presidents are busy men, but I am glad to see Paul Armes name on that list. Having other university officials or faculty from some of the other schools wouldn’t have been a bad thing, either.
I have trouble believing that in the 5,700 churches of the BGCT, which report something like 2.25 million members and a worship attendance of 700,000, enough individuals cannot be found to avoid putting some of the same old names and faces, some of whom have served on multiple committees and boards, on this committee. There isn’t anything wrong with these individuals, but one of the things that is wrong with the BGCT, and one of the reasons that it is now struggling with relevance, is the fact that its leadership is not broadened. Do we have to resort to passage of a bylaw restricting committee members and trustees to two terms of service on one board, and no duplicate members of the same church on any board to get that point across?