“Change is seldom popular, often challenged, and in most instances not without cost.” I made that statement earlier this year when I requested input from the Tennessee Baptist Convention family as the Transition Team started its work.
Throughout our journey we have sought to consider each suggestion made by the members of our TBC family whether from an entity leader, director of missions, past president of the TBC, pastor, or lay leader. It has been our prayer from the beginning that we would hear from the Lord and from His people as we developed a report with recommendations intended to direct our cooperative effort to honor the command of the Great Commission for the foreseeable future.
As your Transition Committee, we believe we have indeed found God’s guidance in the report we have presented. At the same time we recognize that our moment in history is filled with many challenges. Ours is an urgent hour that requires us to be very intentional as we respond to the ever changing world around us.
Doing business as usual will not meet the challenges we face as we seek to penetrate the lostness in our state and around the globe. If the Lord’s command had been to focus only on our local communities we could become very narrow in our approach to reaching the lost with the gospel. However, the scope of our Lord’s command extends far beyond the boundaries of our community, city, county, state, country, and continent.
As you well know we have been commanded to go into all the world with the gospel. As we go forward in obedience to the Lord’s command we must consider how we are to utilize the resources God’s people are giving in support of our Great Commission effort.
The Transition Committee has taken into account our reality at this time as it relates to Cooperative Program giving and the directive of our convention to move to an equal distribution of these funds (50/50 split of CP).
As a result, our recommendations ask that we consider new ways of relating to our Great Commission partners (entities) and that everyone recognize the sacrifices (personal and corporate) necessary for a greater thrust of the “Light of the World” into the darkness of the lost. It has become evident as we have crossed the state the last two weeks talking with members of the TBC family that we need more time to communicate our vision and direction for the future. As a family we need time to reflect on our future. Therefore, our committee will not ask for a vote on our report in Chattanooga.
Our recommendations ask for a new direction that some are finding difficult to embrace with one reading. We must seek unity as we move forward with the task we have been given. I am reminded of the words from the Psalmist: “I waited patiently for the LORD, and He turned to me and heard my cry for help” (Psalm 40:1, HCSB).
I have asked the TBC family to join the Transition Committee in prayer as we have gone about our work.
Now I am asking you to pray again, as we wait patiently for the Lord to hear our cry for help as we face the challenges and cost associated with a greater impact on the lostness around the world.
We recognize that our recommendations involve a major shift for Tennessee Baptists. Our recommendations call for a new day and a new way of doing the Lord’s business in the life of Tennessee Baptists.
We need and we are requesting more time to sit together as a family to reflect on our future.
— Groover is pastor of Victory Baptist Church, Mount Juliet.