Very interesting article in the Wall Street Journal yesterday on the expansion of the Southern Baptist Convention into, well, the North. Recent reports have shown that the Northeast and West are the least “churched” regions of America and those areas are being targeted by the SBC. Given the state of the economy and the limited funding of the SBC, that means something else has to give:
A preliminary report by the task force calls for phasing out longstanding funding agreements to established Southern Baptist state conventions in order to spend the money in places where there are fewer churches. "If we are going to reach a major city like New York City, we need an explosion in church planting to occur," says the report.
The state conventions are going to take a hit here. That probably is OK because I think there is way too much money being collected on Sunday morning that is used to fund the bureaucracy of the SBC and the various state conventions. If there is not as much money funneling back from Nashville, I guess people in places like Mississippi and Texas will have to just get out there and preach Christ themselves instead of leaving it to the paid professionals. I think this is a healthy move for the SBC, moving away from being a regional denomination and back to cooperative organization dedicated to preaching the Gospel.
I did get a kick out of a couple of quotes in the article like this one:
That sense of urgency makes sense to Tara Smith, a worshipper at the First Baptist Church of Woodstock, and a home-schooling mother of five. "There are places where they are not even doing church on Sunday night," she said, shaking her head.
No Sunday evening service, the horror! I guess “By this all men will know you are my disciples, if you have a Sunday evening church service” was what He meant.