May 4, 2010
Southern Baptists Make Plans to Tackle Declining Baptisms
Southern Baptist leaders, grappling with several years of declining baptisms, unveiled a proposal Monday challenging members and mission leaders to commit to new approaches to evangelism.
The report calls for individuals to increase financial support beyond the current average of 2.5 percent of annual income, and for its International Mission Board to evangelize foreign populations within U.S. borders.
"When the Southern Baptist Convention was founded, the world was rather easily divided into `home' and `foreign' missions," states the report from the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force. "Now, with revolutions in transportation and the movement of peoples, the world has come to North America."
The proposal calls for a "refocused" North American Mission Board that will prioritize starting new churches and working in regions where there is not a high concentration of Southern Baptists.
The report suggests that individual Southern Baptists strive to give at least 10 percent of their income to their churches, and that families use vacation time for mission trips. It also seeks greater giving from churches and state conventions to the denomination's central funding program to aid missions work.
The report will be voted on at the annual June meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in Orlando, Fla.