JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri Baptist Convention Executive Director David Tolliver will attempt to make a motion at the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in June asking messengers to receive the report by the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force (GCRTF) and delay any action for one year until all entities involved can do a spiritual/financial impact study.
The motion by Tolliver was sanctioned by the 54-member MBC executive board in an April 13 vote without opposition. The vote also gives Tolliver authority to speak for the board as a messenger from his church, Concord Baptist Church in Jefferson City.
The executive board also passed a resolution without opposition urging the GCRTF to postpone action on their report until the SBC’s 2011 annual meeting, while pledging to pray for a Great Commission resurgence in the SBC and for the work of the task force.
The intent of this action is to allow impacted entities sufficient time to study the ramifications of the GCRTF’s recommendations, Tolliver said, noting that the dissolving of cooperative agreements between state conventions and the North American Mission Board is among the GCRTF’s proposals.
Such a move could cost the MBC the loss of 18 employees and an estimated $1.8 million in annual revenue, Tolliver said. Concern was raised by the MBC executive board that SBC governance was not being respected as the GCRTF process has progressed.
Board member Larry Lewis of First Baptist Church in Centralia and president of the former Home Mission Board (now NAMB) from 1987-97, was among those who expressed such a view.
“In Baptist polity, we don’t basically try to operate and run agencies by group action,” Lewis said. “We elect trustees to do that. And so we want to refer this whole issue to the trustees.”
Tolliver said he was pleased the board decided to speak to the GCRTF issue and hopes messengers will hear his motion and approve it. The board’s action came just days after eight state executive directors met with six members of the GCRTF for a private meeting at Union University in Jackson, Tenn., hosted by Union President David S. Dockery.
Tolliver said he was not invited and was unaware of the meeting until he received an e-mail informing him about it after the fact.
The GCRTF report is expected to come before messengers on the first day of the June 14-15 SBC annual meeting in Orlando, Fla.
(EDITOR’S NOTE — Reported by the staff of The Pathway, newsjournal of the Missouri Baptist Convention.)