At the annual meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma last week, our Executive Director Anthony Jordan shared his annual convention message, titled "Going First Class to the Wrong Destination." "Dr. J" as we call him with all due affection, made several outstanding points in his message, but one of them deserves extra consideration in light of the considerations of our Great Commission Resurgence Task Force.
Dr. J pointed out that the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma is "not a convention of denominational structures but of partnering churches". It seems to me that we Baptists seem to struggle over structure. Apparently, no matter what structure we are using, it is not good enough. Dr. Jordan's point is that ultimately, we are a group of people and churches who have chosen to partner together for the advancement of the gospel. Structure is a tool to help us with our partnership. Structure is not the message, the gospel is our message!
In his book, The Forgotten Ways, Alan Hirsch makes this comment which I believe that we could apply to our denomination: "Start with the church and the mission will be lost. Start with the mission and the church will be found."