First of all, thanks to everyone who responded in some way, either by email or on the blog, or over at Baptistlife.com, to the proposed amendments I plan to bring as a motion at the BGCT annual meeting in Houston this year.  Even if you disagree with the proposals, your input and feedback was welcome, and for the most part, what I received from those who held a different opinion was respectful.  There were a few who couldn’t resist a personal jab or two, or a condescending tone, but for the most part, the debate was friendly, proving, at least to me, that Baptists can discuss differences of opinion in a Christlike manner.

I think I have finally answered all of the emails that were sent.  To those of you who sent them, thank you for taking the time to do so.  If those of you who responded with support would get involved, get your church to elect you as a messenger and show up at the convention in Houston this fall, it would go a long way toward helping get these proposals into consideration.  If you would recruit one other like minded person, that might be just enough support to see this through. 

Somewhere out there, in the churches of the convention, scattered all over the state, are individuals whose leadership ability, combined with their personal experiences and their service in the church, will bring ideas and energy to the table that will help the convention with regard to its future relevance and vitality as it supports missions and ministry cooperation.  Most of them, under the current system, will probably never be asked to serve.  By limiting terms of service, as well as the number of individuals who can be appointed from any individual church, the potential leadership pool can be expanded rapidly.  Including more people not only opens up the convention’s boards and committees to fresh ideas, and makes them far more representative of the various constituencies that exist within the affiliated churches, but it would generate more interest in the BGCT, as a larger number of churches begin to have members who serve on boards and committees.  Those people become BGCT boosters in their local churches. 

Those in opposition to something like this tend to be those who already have some kind of stake in the convention, and whose own interests are served by the status quo.  Personally, I think that is shortsighted.  Considering the size and scope of the mission field that now exists within the state of Texas, and the energy and resources required to have an impact in that field, efforts devoted mainly to ensuring that one particular denominational-political perspective remains in control of the convention’s governance is counterproductive to cooperation, and flies in the face of claims of inclusiveness.  Let’s be genuinely inclusive. 

My intention in making these proposals was to start a discussion.  It did.  The general gist of the response I received can be put in three categories:

1.  It is about time someone tried to do something to bring true reform to the way the BGCT operates.  The future demands this kind of change at the very least.

2.  While you may find a lot of agreement with what you are trying to do, the establishment in the Baptist building will make sure that your proposals are referred to the executive board, where they will either be squashed, or altered into absolute ineffectiveness. 

3.  You might find even broader support for what you are trying to do if your proposals are not set in stone, but are open to being changed as people offer suggestions which may help get them to a vote on the floor, and perhaps even passed through the convention.

I am absolutely open to any suggestions.  The comment section here is open, as is my email at deepintheheart2009@gmail.com.  Your participation in the discussion is welcome.  If, for some reason, I did not get around to answering your email, send me another one, and I will do my best to respond.

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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.

6 responses

  1. Colby Evans says:

    I don’t expect to see much “genuine inclusion” in most Baptist bodies, including the BGCT. We’ve had the “token” demonstrations of inclusiveness with regard to the racial and cultural background of a few officers, but unless you hold to a specific theological position, and are connected via friendships or position to individuals who call the shots, you have no voice in convention matters. There are a few people under 50 who are the “token” board and committee members, but by and large, like most of its churches, the BGCT has positioned itself to try to preserve, and hold on to, its past. The future focus committee is a lame, and far too late attempt to try to interest a younger generation in a convention operation that is a dinosaur on the way to quick extinction. The younger generation of Texas Baptists has already flown the coop, either to non-denominational churches, or away from the church, most of which have absolutely no understanding (or desire to understand) what it will take to involve younger people in ministry.

  2. Robert says:

    Lee,

    At Shadow Hills in Lubbock, a 1-200 member church, we implemented a term limit rule for committees(without reference to spouses or second committees) and so far after 3-4 years have experienced a rise in participation by otherwise
    ‘wallflower’ type members. We seem to be experiencing an uptick in the effect of our outreach in a positive way on inclusion and assiimilation of prospects.

    For your proposals to the BGCT, I wonder if a required period of reflection or sabbatical before re-enlisment or enlistment of spouse, perhaps even fellow church member, might work toward retention of the ideas and service of proven, worthy, willing, and able volunteers while allowing for the influx of new creativity and energy.

  3. Lee says:

    The problem in the BGCT, at least as I see it, is that some people move from one committee or board right on to another, some serve on more than one at a time, and some churches have as many as a dozen members on boards and committees at a time. I think the committees and boards are already term-limited, or at least the committees are, but the limits also need to extend to different committees and boards to be effective. I’m re-thinking the spouse limits. Though I just do not see why, in a convention where the churches collectively have 2.25 million members, and a weekly average worship attendance of 700,000, enough qualified people could not be found to avoid stacking committees and boards with family members, I do understand that sometimes spouses can bring a different perspective to the table, but on the other hand, employing spouses is generally considered nepotism within the organization.

    There is no need for half a dozen or more church members from the same congregation to be in service at the same time, nor is there a need for individuals to serve on more than one board or committee at a time. In the BGCT, we have both of those situations occurring frequently. That’s when it is not just a matter of not being able to find anyone, but a matter of who calls the shots and who is in control.

    50 churches leave the BGCT each quarter.

  4. K Gray says:

    “50 churches leave the BGCT each quarter”

    Where is that stat from?

  5. Robert says:

    we haven’t taken it that far but we are a small church and the roiling of the committee membership has been beneficiaol to the overall spirit of the place in terms of people feeling they have a say and a role and a responsibility. That was one of the first things God did was give Adam an assignment and allow him to tend to it. I think some of the folks involved in committee work may think they are the only ones who can and so much talent is being left out and by that ignorance(sic) driven away.

    If we send someone to convention maybe I can go and surely vote for these ideas you have so skillfully ferreted out.

  6. Lee says:

    The SBTC “welcomed” 58 new churches at its quarterly executive board meeting last month. I noticed in the SB Texan that they acknowledged 8 church starts during that time, so where did the other 50 churches come from? Three guesses and the first two don’t count.