ATLANTA — The Great Commission Resurgence Task Force met Aug. 11-12 in Atlanta, burdened by the “absolutely enormous” and “extremely challenging” responsibility placed upon it by the Southern Baptist Convention, chairman Ronnie Floyd said Aug. 12 at a news conference following the group’s first meetings.
Floyd, pastor of First Baptist Church in Springdale, Ark., said the group is already “talking about big issues and looking at big questions” pertaining to Southern Baptists doing the Great Commission.
“I trust that all of us understand this, but we have a huge job to accomplish and looming deadline before us. This much is already clear. Our great passion is the Great Commission,” he said.
“With that as our passion, we will work long, hard and tirelessly to develop a report that will unleash a passion for the Great Commission that will energize Southern Baptists and prioritize our work together,” Floyd said.
The task force was appointed by SBC President Johnny Hunt in June after the SBC authorized its creation to study how Southern Baptists can work “more faithfully and effectively together in serving Christ through the Great Commission.”
The task force met privately with only members permitted to attend, although two of Hunt’s staff and his wife, Janet, participated on a limited basis. Other invited guests participated for portions of the two-day meeting, including Thom Rainer, president of LifeWay Christian Resources, and SBC chief parliamentarian Barry McCarty, who was in Atlanta Aug. 11 to assist the North American Mission Board in its trustees’ deliberations concerning President Geoff Hammond.
Floyd said the task force prayed several times during its meeting on Aug. 11 while the NAMB trustees were deliberating over the future of Hammond, who ultimately resigned with three associates late in the day.
Floyd said Hammond’s resignation “adds to our urgency and our burden. It adds to the challenges we have before us. But we are going to trust the trustee process of the SBC and really, it’s really not our issue to talk about.”
The task force heard presentations by Rainer, and task force members R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., and Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest.
Hunt, pastor of First Baptist Church of Woodstock, Ga., serves on the task force as an ex-officio member, along with Floyd and 21 other Southern Baptists. Only two members — Ted Traylor, pastor of Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola, and David Dockery, president of Union University — were not able to participate in any part of the meetings.
Floyd said the group engaged in an “extended period of prayer and then immediately got busy with the job that Southern Baptists have assigned to us.”
Floyd declined to elaborate on the group’s deliberations.
“The nature of the work … has got to be confidential to a degree, because of the kind of things we have to discuss,” he said. “We do not want to get us off on side streets that take us away from the main street we’re trying to go on right now.”
Floyd said that task force has not yet planned any future meetings, other than the previously announced gathering set for Aug. 26-27 in Rogers, Ark.. That meeting will be preceded by a luncheon hosted by Floyd’s church and a listening session with Hunt. Invitations have been mailed to approximately 1,800 Southern Baptists within a two-hour driving radius.
Floyd said he received a letter from SBC Executive Committee President Morris Chapman confirming the Executive Committee will fund its work.
(EDITOR’S NOTE — Smith is executive editor of the Florida Baptist Witness.)