Last week the news spread across the media of another reduction of staff by the Baptist General Convention of Texas. As president of the convention I was deeply saddened and disappointed that this action of necessary. However, our current economic condition and indicators made this action necessary.
Dr. Randel Everett believes that one of the driving forces behind the BGCT downturn in income revolves around our continuing sluggish economy. I suspect there is much truth to this, but I would also add that the economy has forced our churches to make choices of priority. These choices have not deemed well of cooperative efforts.
In the past couple of decades more and more churches are doing more hands on ministry locally and internationally. While denominations were struggling and fighting, local churches were moving outward. As the world became flatter and international communication and travel became more streamlined the world opened up to local churches.
In the churches I have previously served I have worked hard to have a “both/and” mentality to our work. We sought to do hands on missions around the world–often funding these endeavors through special gifts and we maintained our historic commitment to Cooperative Program giving because I still believe it is one of the most effective ways to touch the world. However, I suspect I am in the minority.
As we reflect on this recent trimming of our BGCT staff, I would remind us that these workers who are losing their jobs are not the problem. They have sacrificed for the greater good. I pray the Lord will bless them during the next chapter of their lives.
I wish I had the answer for our financial woes. I believe our vision of Texas Hope 2010, and Hope 1:8 that will be communicated in more detail in McAllen are a return to the bedrock values of our Texas Baptist family.
In closing I am reminded of the words of our LORD:
“No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:62
During these difficult trying times, we would be wish to keep working and plowing as we trust the LORD of the harvest to do what only He can do–bring life!