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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.