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GCR Task Force recommends changes to ‘business as usual’comment (0)

March 4, 2010

Southern Baptists must be gripped anew by the lostness of the world, repent of their self-centeredness and focus their local churches on taking the gospel to those who have yet to hear, the chairman of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Great Commission Resurgence Task Force said Feb. 22.

Toward that end, Ronnie Floyd, senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Springdale, Ark., presented a “progress report” to the SBC’s Executive Committee on the task force’s work that included six “components” of a vision they believe Southern Baptists will rally around and experience renewed passion for the Great Commission — making disciples of all the world’s people groups.

To open his 90-minute presentation, Floyd drew on Joel 2:12–17 to deliver a challenge about the need for wholehearted repentance if Southern Baptists are to participate in the evangelistic harvest that will accompany the outpouring of God’s Spirit in the last days and can be seen already beginning in some parts of the world.

“I believe with all my heart that God is calling us to return to Him now in deep repentance of our sin, in brokenness over our sin, denying our pride and selfishness and returning to God with complete humility,” Floyd said. “The boasting, ego and pride that goes on in our lives, our churches and our denomination is unacceptable to God. The disunity in our churches and in our denomination is so wrong and sinful. We need to repent and return to God.

“With rhetoric we bemoan our dismal baptism numbers, our declining and plateaued churches, and our economic selfishness. The casting of criticism has resulted in a caustic cynicism that just adds to our rhetoric and writings,” Floyd said. “We attempt to treat symptoms rather than the root issues of sin and carnality. The rhetoric needs to cease and the repentance personally and corporately must begin. We need to repent of our sins and return to God.

“[W]e realize our No. 1 need is to return to God in deep repentance and experience a fresh wave of His Spirit upon our lives, ministries and work of our denomination,” Floyd said. “We need a fresh and compelling vision that will only come when we are right with Him.”

Southern Baptists need to understand the “staggering” lostness of North America — where 258 million of 340 million residents are estimated to be lost — and the entire world — where 4 billion of 6.8 billion people have little to no access to the gospel, Floyd said. Penetrating such lostness requires each of the 50,000-plus Southern Baptist churches to become its own “missional strategy center,” Floyd added. “If we do not begin to understand the complexity of lostness in our own backyard and strategize to reach them, the lostness will never be penetrated with the gospel.

“Business as usual and what we are doing as a whole is not working. It is said, ‘Facts are our friends.’ This is true, as long as we pay attention to the facts and do not act as though they are nonexistent. If we deny the present reality of where we really are, we are jeopardizing our future and the generations who will follow us. We need to return to God and recommit ourselves to advancing the gospel to all generations.

“We believe this vision we are unfolding to you tonight provides major momentum for the continuation of this Great Commission Resurgence movement and vision. However, a real, long-lasting Great Commission Resurgence must happen personally, as well as in our churches, and in all of our Southern Baptist local associations, state conventions and national entities.”

The Orlando meeting “can become a watershed moment for the reaching of the nations,” Floyd concluded. “May June 15–16, 2010, be the moment that will define the future for generations to come and show that Southern Baptists are a unified people, Bible-based, gospel-centered and set on fire by the Holy Spirit, believing we must join together like never before in presenting the gospel of Jesus Christ to every person in the world and to make disciples of all the nations.” (BP)

For more articles on the GCR Task Force progress report or to download the full report, click here.

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