GCR task force to issue progress report

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (BP)--Great Commission Resurgence Task Force members have wrapped up three days of deliberations in advance of making a preliminary report on their findings in February.

At the meeting's adjournment on Jan. 28, task force chairman Ronnie Floyd said the 23-member group will make a "progress report" to the SBC Executive Committee when it meets in Nashville Feb. 22-23, with the entire document to be released May 3.

Floyd, pastor of First Baptist Church in Springdale, Ark., said the task force "still has a lot of work to do between now and June but we want to take this opportunity to bring Southern Baptists along in our work."

Floyd said the update will contain "several items, such as where we are at this point, how we see the final document shaping up, how our vision is coming together." He declined to be more specific.

There will be another meeting or two of the work group as it coalesces around a definitive statement on the spiritual condition of Southern Baptists and suggestions for how the convention can be more effective, Floyd said.

The San Antonio meeting occurred three days before Southern Baptists were to set aside Jan. 31 as a day of prayer for the future of the convention and its missions outreach. SBC President Johnny Hunt, pastor of First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Ga., issued the call to prayer after input from Richard Harris, interim president of the North American Mission Board, and Frank Page, NAMB's vice president for evangelism.

Floyd, as spokesman for the group appointed by Hunt at last year's SBC annual meeting, underscored the considerable amount of work yet to be done and the limited amount of time in which to accomplish its goals.

"Our task is very large and we all have full-time ministries and other normal demands on our time. We continue to be in the process of developing that vision and will continue to meet until we have finished the task," he said. "We still have a document to write."

Floyd did not specify how many other times the group may meet, but did say an unofficial timetable is to have the final document released by May 3 on its pray4gcr.com website.

"Southern Baptists will be able to go online and see for themselves what we believe" the future holds for the convention, Floyd said. "We will spend the month of May tweaking the document, if any tweaking is needed, before it is formally presented to messengers to the annual meeting in Orlando on June 15-16."

All 6,000 individuals who have registered at the site also will receive an e-mail copy of the document as soon as it is released, Floyd said.

The task force was the initiative of Hunt, who made the call for a Great Commission resurgence the hallmark of his presidency. He will complete his second term as SBC president at the Orlando meeting. With only five months to go, no one has yet been announced as a candidate for the open position.

The San Antonio meeting was the first public appearance by Hunt since his successful prostate surgery Jan. 7.

The task force has met on five occasions: twice in Atlanta and once in Springdale, Ark., at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and San Antonio.

Hunt's seminal document, called A Great Commission Declaration, was first posted to the website www.greatcommissionresurgence.com on April 27 of last year. That site has since become pray4gcr.com.

"The purpose of this is so that we may be a more effective people to carry the good news of the gospel to the ends of the earth," Hunt said at that time. The 10-point declaration calls for:

1. A Commitment to Christ's Lordship

2. A Commitment to Gospel-Centeredness

3. A Commitment to the Great Commandments

4. A Commitment to Biblical Inerrancy and Sufficiency

5. A Commitment to a Healthy Confessional Center

6. A Commitment to Biblically Healthy Churches

7. A Commitment to Sound Biblical Preaching

8. A Commitment to a Methodological Diversity that is Biblically Informed

9. A Commitment to a More Effective Convention Structure

10. A Commitment to Distinctively Christian Families


Joe Westbury is managing editor of The Christian Index, newsjournal of the Georgia Baptist Convention.

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