Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The SBC Cooperative Program: Overrated?

The big pro of the Southern Baptist missions program (the Cooperative Program) is efficiency. More or less, once a missionary has cleared the vetting process, he or she is funded and sent to the field—no deputation! The big con is that the distance between the missionaries and local churches can be much greater, putting accountability in the hands of the Convention than the local churches. (Of course, these pros and cons barely scratch the surface of whether the Cooperative Program model is consistent with the NT model.)

Regardless, now Tom Ascol is asking some great questions about the presumed efficiency of the Cooperative Program approach. I'm particularly interested in his observations about younger generations of SBC pastors. I hope he's right.


jason janz said...

It's always been interesting to me that there are 10,000 independent Baptist churches and 40,000 SBC churches, but the cumulative total of missionaries represented in independent fundamental mission boards have more missionaries than the whole SBC.

Ben said...

I would be very interested to see the documentation for those statistics. I think the SBC numbers are pretty accessible, but how did you calculate the IFB numbers?

jason janz said...

You can access the World Mission Handbook published now by the Billy Graham Center. However, the BBF published an article about this a couple of years ago. The numbers on giving would also prove the ineffectiveness of the SBC program vs. a local-church-based missions program.

I don't like quoting this source, but I couldn't find the original BBF article. Here is the article - http://www.wayoflife.org/fbns/independentmissionaries.htm

gouge said...

Overall I would say there is a definite rise of concern within the SBC about the CP, especially amongst young leaders. I often run into training seminarians who are questioning whether or not the IMB is "for them" due to these concerns. There is much healthy conversation going on in several schools about this subject, and I, for one, am hopeful. Old paradigms and habits are hard to work through and for some of us, the work could not be fast enough. Nevertheless, I would agree with the posts sentiment to "watch this space," change is imminent.