The needs are “glaringly obvious in our 21st-century world,” Frank S. Page said in setting forth a Great Commission Advance 10-year initiative among Southern Baptists.
“The need for a larger mission force, not a smaller one, is greater than ever,” Page, president of the SBC Executive Committee, said during the opening session of the EC’s Sept. 21-22 meeting in Nashville.
The Great Commission Advance, Page noted, will focus on the Cooperative Program, Southern Baptists’ channel for national, international and state-by-state missions and ministries.
“The need for evangelistic church plants … is greater than ever, as our own continent is more lost than ever before,” said Page, speaking at the five-year point of his service as EC president.
“The need for excellent theological education is more necessary now than ever before. The need for an ethical voice in our society and our culture is certainly more crucial than ever before,” Page said. “The need for missions education, the need for godly resources and assistance to our churches and our pastors is absolutely imperative. …
“We need to have a Great Commission Advance, and the best way to fund it is through the Cooperative Program,” Page said.
The 10-year emphasis, now in development with SBC entity and state convention partners, will culminate with the 100th anniversary of the Cooperative Program’s founding in 1925.
The Great Commission Advance, Page said, will provide pastors and churches with ongoing encouragement “to look at the wisdom of supporting missions and ministries through the Cooperative Program. We’re always seeking ways to improve it, to review it. However, its underlying principles, we believe, are sound.
“Through the Cooperative Program, we definitely are not alone,” Page stated. “That is the theme of this emphasis: We are not alone. I truly believe that often-quoted phrase: We can go more together than we can do separately.”
Several thousand churches have embraced the 1% CP Challenge to increase their giving to Southern Baptist causes by 1 percentage point of their yearly budgets, Page reported.
“But I think it’s also time to call our churches to a 1% increase in baptisms and a 1% increase in stewardship,” he said. “We’re seeing less money given to the Cooperative Program because we have less people in our churches. And those that are in the churches are giving less than ever before.
“We must approach these issues with great, great purposefulness.”
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SOURCE: Baptist Press