Recently David Currie, Executive Director of the Texas Baptist Committed, stepped down as its leader and there was a public announcement the TBC will be moving their headquarters to Dallas. These historic moves indicate a new day is dawning for the TBC because the challenges faced by the Baptist General Convention of Texas are much different today than they were in days gone by.
On October 19th, Marv Knox, editor of the Baptist Standard, wrote an editorial speculated about what was next for the TBC. In the editorial he championed the work of the TBC during the volatile days of the Conservative Resurgence in the Southern Baptist Convention, and the struggle for the soul of the BGCT. Without doubt the TBC stood as a powerful, organized force fighting off the abuses and threats of fundamentalism in Texas Baptist life. As part of their strategy of leadership, the TBC took an aggressive role of endorsing the officers of the BGCT, and giving their stamp of approval to the men and women who held these posts for over fifteen years.
In recent years after the split of the Southern Baptists of Texas convention made up of hundreds of former BGCT churches, the challenges facing the BGCT shifted. In fact, if my memory serves correct, Knox spoke of the future challenges facing the convention were those of “winning the peace.”
Knox in his editorial called for the TBC to become a “first-rate educational organization.” He noted that Baptists need “to know our heritage.” He also called for the TBC to continue to be on the watch for the “clear” danger of fundamentalism.
As I reflect on the “clear dangers” facing the BGCT I would humble suggest the TBC focus on one or all of the following challenges:
- Cooperative Program Promotion: The life blood of the BGCT and its institutions continues to be the Cooperative Program. With recent cuts in the staffing of the BGCT those commissioned with the task of the telling the CP story are few and far between. The TBC could take up this mantle and get the story out of all the ways the BGCT is impacting Texas and the world. In the recent political struggles the story of our working together has been lost as back page news. I would encourage the TBC to put the CP and its work on the front page. I also believe this will be a key strategy of protecting our ranks because the BGCT is today focused on Texas Hope 2010 by implementing our historic values of evangelism/missions, Christian education, and advocacy. There is no better place in Texas to give your mission dollars than the BGCT if you truly want to impact the world. We need to tell this story far and wide.
- New Generation of “Baptist” Leaders: I personally believe the greatest threat to our future is the loss of a generation of young leaders who have deemed denominational involvement irrelevant, insignificant and old fashioned. Of course, I would highly questions these judgments, but these are their perspective is real to them none the less. Part of reaching this generation I believe will involve building relationships with these leaders, and listening to their perspectives and stories. I would recommend the TBC develop some “think tanks” to help create new models for Kingdom cooperation and collaboration. Pull together the brightest and the best of these young leaders to form a younger version of the “Future Focus Committee” and begin now to begin thinking about the future. How do will we do evangelism/missions, Christian education, and advocacy in the next twenty-five years. What part will our institutions play in extending the work of the Kingdom and promoting the “Baptist-brand” church life?
- Lie Detecting: I also believe the TBC should continue to monitor attempts by some to promote half-truths, and out and out lies about the BGCT and its mission and institutions. Like some of those “urban legends” that continue to circulate on the World Wide Web, there are still some who try to pass off lies about the BGCT as factual truth. I hope those days will soon come to an end, but unfortunately I suspect we still have some work to do to get the truth out.
- Restore Bridges: I would also encourage the TBC to help pull together our Texas Baptist family. In recent years I have seen many of the walls of suspicion and fear fall around us, and I would encourage the TBC to take those stones and restore the bridges among our Texas Baptist leaders. I would pay special attention to fostering authentic relationships between loyal BGCT leaders who continue to be active in the SBC, and those who either cooperate with the CBF, the BGCT, or other networks.
Over the past year as president of the BGCT to get more people at the table, I believe the TBC will continue to play a significant role in our future. Their perspective and tenacious commitment to Baptist distinctive are critical for our future together as build for a new tomorrow.