On April 16th the WorldconneX Board of Trustees affirmed the recommendation from the executive leadership of the Baptist General Convention of Texas to dissolve the organization and to move three key facets of its work directly into the mission of the convention. This action ends a seven-year adventure of faith and creativity led by Bill Tinsley, a creative and loyal BGCT leader. I must confess my reflections on this transition in the life of WorldconneX will be colored by my long-term relationship with Tinsley. He has been my mentor, friend, and example in ministry now for over twenty-five years. We served shoulder to shoulder together in the Minnesota/Wisconsin Baptist Convention for several years. In my opinion, you will not find a better friend to the local pastor and a more passionate follower of Jesus than Tinsley.
I want to make two observations about WorldconneX as this chapter in our mission journey ends, and a new day dawns. It is my opinion that WorldConnex was hindered and limited by the struggles of the BGCT. Since WorldconneX was so closely linked to the BGCT, it suffered along with the BGCT leadership. While this dream was trying to take form and shape, the mission endeavors of the BGCT were struggling on many fronts. It is hard enough to dream new dreams and to be on the cutting edge of a new day in missions without struggling against the tide.
Secondly, I believe WorldconneX was just a bit ahead of its time. Pioneers and trailblazers are often misunderstood, and sadly sometimes the enemy of those who are in power. Change means new paradigms and possibly the ending of some long term efforts. The paradigms and ideas espoused by WorldconneX from my perspective were old and new at the same time. The vision of WorldconneX was as old as the book of Acts that paints a picture of local churches on mission to reach the world. WorldconneX envisioned a return of the local church to the front lines of missions. As the world increasingly became “flat” and advances in technology, communication, and travel made the world much smaller and much more interconnected, Tinsley and others saw an open door for the local church, big and small, to be one of the primary forces behind the Great Commission. Out of this old vision emerged its commitment to “front-line services” which help local churches deploy their own missionaries with the technical and practical help provided by WorldconneX. In addition, the “Inside/Out” weekends were designed to help each local church discover its own unique “Kingdom assignment.” These old ideas and paradigms were also taking on new shades of color and vibrancy. WorldconneX cut new ground in creating networks around the world for individuals and churches to do more together while following their own sense of the movement of the Holy Spirit.
We live in a time when hard decisions have to be made. I was not in the loop on the timing or all the deliberations behind this decision, but I strongly support Randel Everett and Bill Tinsley as they seek to pursue a new day in Texas Baptist life. Even though it saddens me to see WorldconneX end as an organization, much like an organ transplant gives new life and vitality to a body struggling for life, I believe the infusion of life coming from WorldconneX into the mission of the BGCT will lead to greater good, and possibly even a greater reality than WorldconneX could have seen on their own. Now these creative and innovative tools, ideas, and concepts will be mainstream in BGCT life. No longer will these endeavors be a sidebar to our work together, but will be part of our identity as a Kingdom, missional movement. Tinsley and his team of creative, innovative and persistent leaders have given Texas Baptists a gift that will color and shape our future for many years to come. For this I am personally and deeply grateful.