I have been a Southern Baptist (SBC) my whole life, all 42 years. Born and raised in a Southern Baptist church (baptized at age 7). I attended a Southern Baptist university for 4 years (BS degree), attended a Southern Baptist seminary 4 years (MDiv degree), full-time pastored Southern Baptist churches for 5 years, and bivocational pastor for a Southern Baptist church for the past 3 years. I am knee deep in SBC. I have attended endless meetings and have read the latest statistics (all the numbers are DOWN). I LOVE the SBC and have a deep care and concern for many of the wonderful employees of the SBC entities. No one asked me but this is what I would do if asked to help the Southern Baptist Convention survive for another generation.
My Ideas for Southern Baptist Convention to survive
- Streamline convention. Focus on 4-5 organizations—Lifeway, IMB, Seminaries, Ethics & Religious Life Committee, Disaster Relief.
- Make the SBC Annual Meeting an every two year meeting. No need to rally only 5,000 people once a year. Just imagine what could be done for those in need with the amount of Cooperate Program, NAMB, IMB, etc. promotional money which is spent on the annual meeting.
- Outsource and create Mission partnerships with Operation Mobilization, Campus Crusade, Samaritan’s Purse, Awana, Celebrate Recovery, DivorceCare. Why recreate the wheel & duplicate?
- More webinars & cancel a lot of very costly (due to travel) Committee meetings & conferences. Switch to Webinars, GoToMeeting, Skype, etc.
- Ask who is doing the best continuing education conferences? If the SBC is not (like the Orange Conferences), support those conferences. Is spending CP money on 2nd rate conferences just so we can say we put one on being good stewards of our resources? How many poorly attended conferences should be replaced by online training? A lot!
- Focus like a laser on church planting and relaunching dying churches. Have as many church plants strategically aligned with a sending church as possible.
- Have the key metric for Director of Mission positions as coaching and church planting. Otherwise, eliminate the DOM position.
- Make Lifeway a for-profit entity but provide for discounts and support for SBC literature.
- Recognize we are speaking to a dying, lost, sinful world with depraved minds. Putting out proclamations and boycotting Disney is idiotic.
- Network less on region, more on interests and do so by online resource centers. Put a big emphasis on online resource centers. Skype, You Tube Live, Cisco Webex, Facebook Live
- Sell administration buildings. Rent office space from churches & rest work from home. Honestly, the church member who is paying for the Cooperative Program (CP) does not care one bit about the office space of convention administrative staff. It crushes their argument for churches to give more to the CP when they working out of fancy, plush office space. Follow Golden Gate Seminary and Lifeway’s lead and sell valuable properties and pour the income back into growth of the ministry. Less focus on fancy buildings, beautiful campuses and more focus on effective, streamlined ministry.
- Partner with groups and orgs that are working…Catalyst, Passion Conferences, Youth Specialties–humbly join what is working. Cut what is dead. Save money on full time staff and outsource training.
- Actively connect seminary graduates with a mentor. Aggressively connect retired pastors to pass the baton. Don’t just leave it to seminaries.
–Facebook Live–answering quick questions
–Support what is already organically working. Think beyond territory.
- Seminaries expand existing partnerships in OVERDRIVE with other universities for bivocational degrees—MBA, JD, Teaching certificate, Engineer. Share campus space and realistically prepare grads for bivocational work. 80% bivocational. Prepare that way and EMPHASIZE it!
- To reduce conflict, make for smooth transitions, and empower the younger generation, have a 70 yr old mandatory retirement for seminary presidents and top executives. Openly plan for transitions and begin the mentor process.
What are your thoughts???