So long, Tom Eliff

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So long, Tom Eliff

Postby Joseph Patrick » Fri Feb 28, 2014 12:05 am

From Joseph Patrick...A news communique announced that Tom Eliff plans to retire as President of the IMB, only three years after assuming that position. I wondered at that time, the wisdom of appointing a new president who was older than the one retiring. I cannot see any changes or progress within the IMB over the last three years, but maybe I'm missing something obvious. Hopefully, whomever is appointed to the position is a missiologist and not a "good ol' boy.
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Re: So long, Tom Eliff

Postby David Flick » Fri Feb 28, 2014 3:44 am

.
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Joseph Patrick wrote:From Joseph Patrick...A news communique announced that Tom Eliff plans to retire as President of the IMB, only three years after assuming that position. I wondered at that time, the wisdom of appointing a new president who was older than the one retiring. I cannot see any changes or progress within the IMB over the last three years, but maybe I'm missing something obvious. Hopefully, whomever is appointed to the position is a missiologist and not a "good ol' boy.
    That's very interesting, Patrick. I hadn't heard that bit of news. I wonder if he is going to serve as a campaign manager for his son-in-law, James Lankford? As an Okie, you are aware that Lankford, was one of Anthony Jordan's sidekicks. He jumped ship from the Jordan's inner circle after 13 years and ran for congress, taking Gov. Mary Fallin's old seat. Having been high up in BGCO politics, I imagine he learned the ropes of political maneuvering quite well. He's now running for the US Senate seat being vacated by Tom Coburn. Considering the huge number of Southern Baptists in the state, he should have a fairly easy time of getting that seat. I'm not going to vote for Lankford. My choice is T. W. Shannon. Shannon is a registered member of the Chickasaw Tribe of Oklahoma, one of the so-called "Five Civilized Tribes." I also am a registered member of one of the Five Tribes. We Native Americans stick together... :wink:

    Anyway back to Elliff. You can bet your bottom dollar that "Good Ole Boy" Elliff is going to wield a huge amount of influence here in Oklahoma trying to get Lankford elected by using his old position as pastor of Del City First Southern Baptist Church. Elliff is no slouch when it comes to the world of politics, both inside and outside the church. For those not familiar with Elliff's denominatioal politics, he was part of the SBC Takeover cabal. He served as SBC President in 1997–1998. A list of his accomplishments are briefly summed up as # 21 on this list. I guess the incident I remember most about Elliff is when he preached that infamous "Barnacles" sermon at the '98 SBC in Salt Lake City. As a searing attack on the CBF, he preached the sermon in near the end of the Takeover...

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Re: So long, Tom Eliff

Postby Sandy » Fri Feb 28, 2014 7:54 am

Joseph Patrick wrote:I cannot see any changes or progress within the IMB over the last three years, but maybe I'm missing something obvious.


I guess that would depend on what you call "change" or "progress." Expansion into areas where there has been no previous mission work, 18,000 new churches started in three years, mostly in areas where there has been no previous mission work, the work in 12 countries becoming self-sufficient in the past three years. I'd measure that as progress.
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Re: So long, Tom Eliff

Postby William Thornton » Fri Feb 28, 2014 11:27 am

I'm seeing the same path maintained over his tenure.
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Re: So long, Tom Eliff

Postby Joseph Patrick » Fri Feb 28, 2014 3:27 pm

From Joseph Patrick...

Sandy, Joseph Patrick wrote:
"I cannot see any changes or progress within the IMB over the last three years, but maybe I'm missing something obvious."

And you wrote:
"I guess that would depend on what you call "change" or "progress." Expansion into areas where there has been no previous mission work, 18,000 new churches started in three years, mostly in areas where there has been no previous mission work, the work in 12 countries becoming self-sufficient in the past three years. I'd measure that as progress."
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Re: So long, Tom Eliff

Postby Ed Pettibone » Fri Feb 28, 2014 3:41 pm

Sandy wrote:
Joseph Patrick wrote:I cannot see any changes or progress within the IMB over the last three years, but maybe I'm missing something obvious.


I guess that would depend on what you call "change" or "progress." Expansion into areas where there has been no previous mission work, 18,000 new churches started in three years, mostly in areas where there has been no previous mission work, the work in 12 countries becoming self-sufficient in the past three years. I'd measure that as progress.


Ed: And Sandy how cany you be sure that the numbers presented by your sources are real? I have been to too many areas in this country where the North American Mission Board of the SBC has claimed had no Christian witness and found that to be untrue. Sometimes they answer we mean "no Evangelical witness", but that is still not true.

And as I have reported the former home Mission Board in 2001 paid myself and fellow student at SBTS to do a church planting praxis just south of Indianapolis, We where assigned to a supervisor who had been pastor of two failed church plants with in 20 miles of the area they where looking at, and within a mile and a half of a, struggling but growing SBC mission, in a suburban neighborhood with less than 250 People per square mile, 4.5 Miles from a large independent Baptist Church and less than 2.5 miles of an American Baptist Church that was considering expansion. Each of these locations where easily within a 10 to 12 min drive of one another. And there where another half dozen protestant churches in the same proximity.

Due to that experience I have to agree with the skepticism expressed by Joseph Patrick.
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Re: So long, Tom Eliff

Postby Sandy » Fri Feb 28, 2014 3:44 pm

I rounded the figures off, taken from the IMB's website. The information about the advance of work in unreached areas, and of the countries where work is now self-sustaining comes from the IMB's annual reports to the SBC. All of that can be easily accessed on the internet, at either the IMB website, or the SBC's. William says he's seeing the same path maintained over his tenure. It's what the IMB does. The key word is support. The goal is to support and strengthen churches and their ministry in areas where it is needed, with the goal in mind to turn the work over to the indigenous leadership at a point when it can be self sustaining. The executive director is a manager, oversees the distribution of resources, makes decisions related to the various needs that occur, and manages personnel. The trajectory of the "statistical analysis" has been stable for decades.

As I said, it depends on how you define "progress." What would you expect the IMB to be doing that would meet your definition of "progress."
Last edited by Sandy on Fri Feb 28, 2014 3:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: So long, Tom Eliff

Postby Ed Pettibone » Fri Feb 28, 2014 3:48 pm

Sandy wrote:I rounded the figures off, taken from the IMB's website. The information about the advance of work in unreached areas, and of the countries where work is now self-sustaining comes from the IMB's annual reports to the SBC. All of that can be easily accessed on the internet, at either the IMB website, or the SBC's.


Ed; Sandy, That is the problem.
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Re: So long, Tom Eliff

Postby Sandy » Fri Feb 28, 2014 3:55 pm

Ed Pettibone wrote:
Sandy wrote:I rounded the figures off, taken from the IMB's website. The information about the advance of work in unreached areas, and of the countries where work is now self-sustaining comes from the IMB's annual reports to the SBC. All of that can be easily accessed on the internet, at either the IMB website, or the SBC's.


Ed; Sandy, That is the problem.


How is that? There's nothing in there that can't be verified.
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Re: So long, Tom Eliff

Postby Sandy » Fri Feb 28, 2014 3:56 pm

Joseph Patrick wrote:From Joseph Patrick...

Sandy, Joseph Patrick wrote:
"I cannot see any changes or progress within the IMB over the last three years, but maybe I'm missing something obvious."

And you wrote:
"I guess that would depend on what you call "change" or "progress." Expansion into areas where there has been no previous mission work, 18,000 new churches started in three years, mostly in areas where there has been no previous mission work, the work in 12 countries becoming self-sufficient in the past three years. I'd measure that as progress."
Sandy

If you believe those inflated statistics allow me to sell you a bridge over the Oklahoma River


Unless you've got proof they are inflated, you need to get back in your boat and keep rowing down the Oklahoma River. :lol:
And unless you can define what you mean by "progress," your criticism is just a snarky comment laced with bias.
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Re: So long, Tom Eliff

Postby Ed Pettibone » Fri Feb 28, 2014 4:10 pm

Sandy wrote:
Joseph Patrick wrote:From Joseph Patrick...

Sandy, Joseph Patrick wrote:
"I cannot see any changes or progress within the IMB over the last three years, but maybe I'm missing something obvious."

And you wrote:
"I guess that would depend on what you call "change" or "progress." Expansion into areas where there has been no previous mission work, 18,000 new churches started in three years, mostly in areas where there has been no previous mission work, the work in 12 countries becoming self-sufficient in the past three years. I'd measure that as progress."
Sandy

If you believe those inflated statistics allow me to sell you a bridge over the Oklahoma River


Unless you've got proof they are inflated, you need to get back in your boat and keep rowing down the Oklahoma River. :lol:
And unless you can define what you mean by "progress," your criticism is just a snarky comment laced with bias.


Ed: Let's see Joseph Patrick has hands on experience as a Southern Baptist Missionary and Sandy (AKA Lee Sanders) reads SBC mission Board reports. I cast my lot with Joseph Patrick.
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Re: So long, Tom Eliff

Postby David Flick » Fri Feb 28, 2014 5:52 pm

Sandy wrote:
Joseph Patrick wrote:From Joseph Patrick...

Sandy, Joseph Patrick wrote:
"I cannot see any changes or progress within the IMB over the last three years, but maybe I'm missing something obvious."

And you wrote:
"I guess that would depend on what you call "change" or "progress." Expansion into areas where there has been no previous mission work, 18,000 new churches started in three years, mostly in areas where there has been no previous mission work, the work in 12 countries becoming self-sufficient in the past three years. I'd measure that as progress."
Sandy

If you believe those inflated statistics allow me to sell you a bridge over the Oklahoma River


Unless you've got proof they are inflated, you need to get back in your boat and keep rowing down the Oklahoma River. :lol:
And unless you can define what you mean by "progress," your criticism is just a snarky comment laced with bias.

    Ed Pettibone wrote:Ed: Let's see Joseph Patrick has hands on experience as a Southern Baptist Missionary and Sandy (AKA Lee Sanders) reads SBC mission Board reports. I cast my lot with Joseph Patrick.
      Ditto what Ed wrote...
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For once

Postby Stephen Fox » Fri Feb 28, 2014 6:33 pm

ditto ed and flick.

David, off thread for a little; you remember the picture with members of my family and lamar in Atlanta. Had a grand bday party for my Dad's remaining sister last Saturday and they were all there including the former member of this board. Recently the family history page has investigated our Indian heritage and how it came to be. Thought you would want to know.
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Re: So long, Tom Eliff

Postby Sandy » Sat Mar 01, 2014 9:53 am

Well then, if he has "experience" as a Southern Baptist missionary, then he needs to rely on that experience and provide substantiated evidence with specific examples that the statistics are inflated.

I've got a dozen close, personal friends, from college,seminary, and two families from our last church in Houston, who are currently serving on the mission field with the IMB, I receive their newsletters and e-correspondence, and speak with several of them on the phone fairly frequently. From what I hear from them, the stats that are reported, which only include mission work directly under the supervision of IMB personnel, are perhaps a bit understated.

The direction and movement of the IMB isn't the result of the work of the executive director. It's the result of the 4,500+ people who are on the field.
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Re: So long, Tom Eliff

Postby Ed Pettibone » Sat Mar 01, 2014 1:20 pm

Ed: Sandy, you are the one whose claim has been challenged by Joseph Patrick, my self, David Flick, and Fox. I think you are the one needing to provide substantiated evidence with specific examples that the statistics you provided are valid. Note Joseph Patrick said "...but maybe I'm missing something obvious," Would you suggest that he is indeed missing something, if so what.


Perhaps you recall this exchange from yeasterday ;
Ed Pettibone wrote:
Sandy wrote:I rounded the figures off, taken from the IMB's website. The information about the advance of work in unreached areas, and of the countries where work is now self-sustaining comes from the IMB's annual reports to the SBC. All of that can be easily accessed on the internet, at either the IMB website, or the SBC's.


Ed; Sandy, That is the problem.


If you did not understand that last comment. I was saying from my short time experience working with an SBC agency I do not trust their reporting.

You may recall that I wrote "Ed: And Sandy how can you be sure that the numbers presented by your sources are real? I have been to too many areas in this country where the North American Mission Board of the SBC has claimed had no Christian witness and found that to be untrue. Sometimes they answer we mean 'no Evangelical witness', but that is still not true."

And as I have reported "The former home Mission Board in 2001 ( note: :oops: That should have been 1991) paid myself and fellow student at SBTS to do a church planting praxis just south of Indianapolis, We where assigned to a supervisor who had been pastor of two failed church plants with in 20 miles of the area they where looking at, and within a mile and a half of a, struggling but growing SBC mission, in a suburban neighborhood with less than 250 People per square mile, 4.5 Miles from a large independent Baptist Church and less than 2.5 miles of an American Baptist Church that was considering expansion. Each of these locations where easily within a 10 to 12 min drive of one another. And there where another half dozen protestant churches in the same proximity."
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Re: So long, Tom Eliff

Postby Sandy » Sat Mar 01, 2014 5:00 pm

Ed Pettibone wrote:And as I have reported "The former home Mission Board in 2001 ( note: :oops: That should have been 1991) paid myself and fellow student at SBTS to do a church planting praxis just south of Indianapolis, We where assigned to a supervisor who had been pastor of two failed church plants with in 20 miles of the area they where looking at, and within a mile and a half of a, struggling but growing SBC mission, in a suburban neighborhood with less than 250 People per square mile, 4.5 Miles from a large independent Baptist Church and less than 2.5 miles of an American Baptist Church that was considering expansion. Each of these locations where easily within a 10 to 12 min drive of one another. And there where another half dozen protestant churches in the same proximity."


I don't see what that has to do with reports that the IMB makes to the SBC, or the data it puts on its website.

I cited the stats from the IMB's website, and its reports to the SBC. If you don't accept that data as reliable, prove that it isn't.

I still haven't seen a post from Joseph Patrick with anything that supports his contention, or explains his criticism of Tom Elliff's tenure at the IMB. I guess, by the same logic that you, Flick and Stephen demonstrated, I can simply write off his criticism as that of another disgruntled moderate Baptist.

As to the "encroachment" of Southern Baptist church plants on churches of other denominations using the reasoning that there's no other "Evangelical" witness in a neighborhood, well, the fact of the matter is that just because there might be a scattering of churches of other denominations here and there in a given area, doesn't mean there's not a need for a new church. Most established churches are deader than doornails, and are unattractive and closed off groups. A new church has the capability of reaching people that the old ones either can't or won't. Maybe if a few more would get off their duff, a church planting ministry wouldn't see a need to start a new congregation.
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Re: So long, Tom Eliff

Postby Ed Pettibone » Sun Mar 02, 2014 1:38 am

Sandy wrote:
Ed Pettibone wrote:And as I have reported "The former home Mission Board in 2001 ( note: :oops: That should have been 1991) paid myself and fellow student at SBTS to do a church planting praxis just south of Indianapolis, We where assigned to a supervisor who had been pastor of two failed church plants with in 20 miles of the area they where looking at, and within a mile and a half of a, struggling but growing SBC mission, in a suburban neighborhood with less than 250 People per square mile, 4.5 Miles from a large independent Baptist Church and less than 2.5 miles of an American Baptist Church that was considering expansion. Each of these locations where easily within a 10 to 12 min drive of one another. And there where another half dozen protestant churches in the same proximity."


I don't see what that has to do with reports that the IMB makes to the SBC, or the data it puts on its website.

I cited the stats from the IMB's website, and its reports to the SBC. If you don't accept that data as reliable, prove that it isn't.
"

Ed: Sandy I have told you I do not trust SBC stats and provided an example of why. Still waiting for an explanation of the huge hole that I pointed out in the map pf SBC churches in Cincinnati.

Sandy writes: "As to the "encroachment" of Southern Baptist church plants on churches of other denominations using the reasoning that there's no other "Evangelical" witness in a neighborhood, well, the fact of the matter is that just because there might be a scattering of churches of other denominations here and there in a given area, doesn't mean there's not a need for a new church. Most established churches are deader than doornails, and are unattractive and closed off groups. A new church has the capability of reaching people that the old ones either can't or won't. Maybe if a few more would get off their duff, a church planting ministry wouldn't see a need to start a new congregation."

Ed: I have said nothing about "encroachment of Southern Baptist church plants on churches of other denominations using the reasoning that there's no other Evangelical witness in a neighborhood." In fact with the exception of Gene S. using the term on feb.17 of 2013, a search of this site show only yours current and Gene's use a year ago of the term "encroachment" and Gene was talking about the South.

I have talked about the SBC recruiting pastors to come north using the ploy that there is no evangelical witness in the Northeast, and how much "whiter to harvest are the fields of the North are than those in the South. Several have found that to just not be true.

Are you quite sure you want to say "Most established churches are deader than door nails, and are unattractive and closed off groups."? That would include at least according to their count, 20.000 SBC churches. Which leads me to ask if the SBC is so terrific at planting churches, why is it that you and your family are not in a SBC Church in somewhere in your part of PA. Southern Baptist have been mining that area for decades. And in you description of "Most established churches" when you say they "are unattractive and closed off groups." What is "unattractive" about them? The Buildings of any troubled churches that I am aware of in this area, are beautiful. In fact some of us who have not been in the area "Forever" quip about the edifice complex of many congregations. They do seem believe any talk of down sizing is to dishonor not only their ancestors who built the building but God to whom they where dedicated. Our church has spent more than $100,000 in the past 10 years on a building built in 1838. Some will argue that part of that was spent on upkeep of the Fellowship hall that wasn't built until the 1950's. :wink: But as i have said they are generous with the pastor. Just this Wednesday they had a new Dishwasher installed in the parsonage. In the past two years they have replaced the Washing Machine, the water heater and now the dishwasher. Also last fall they had the driveway resealed and it is all paid for. Most of them where here when the Parsonage was built in the mid 1970s and they did much of the work. How could I forget they also had four old huge trees near the property line removed last summer and have refilled that area with new shrubs and re-stained the deck. The Church where she Did an interim when we first came to NY in 2002 Is holding its own as for membership although several who where there when we where have died. The two churches in the Paired Parish in the Adirondacks where she pastored for 6 years.
Are still moving along but have a problem attracting a new pastor on the salary they can afford. Here is that edifice complex at work. As I have said I would like to see them build a new building halfway between the two present buildings salvaging as much material from each as possible. Both churches celebrated the 200th the anniversary of one while we where there and the other is trying to hold out till 2024 for their turn. I know of a few churches that seem to be on life support provided sacrificially by a few, but I know of none "deader than door nails."
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Re: So long, Tom Eliff

Postby Sandy » Sun Mar 02, 2014 9:02 am

Ed Pettibone wrote:Are you quite sure you want to say "Most established churches are deader than door nails, and are unattractive and closed off groups."? That would include at least according to their count, 20.000 SBC churches. Which leads me to ask if the SBC is so terrific at planting churches, why is it that you and your family are not in a SBC Church in somewhere in your part of PA. Southern Baptist have been mining that area for decades.


I would agree that there are probably at least 20,000 SBC congregations who fall into the category of "deader than door nails," closed off, and unattractive in that the way they do ministry is inwardly focused and not evangelistically oriented. There are a lot of places, especially in the South, where congregations sit on top of each other, and where the maintenance mode has become the way the church operates.

Southern Baptists haven't been "mining" Western Pennsylvania for decades. There are about 50 churches in the entire Southwestern part of the state, with a population of over 4 million, and most of those are concentrated in the Pittsburgh metro area. Our county has two SBC churches, one is a "re-start", a congregation of about 30 people who were without a pastor for three years, the other is about 10 years old, and they also had trouble keeping a full time pastor on the field. They're bi-vocational now. Those are the only two SBC churches in a five county area with a population of 400,000. The next closest SBC churches are 30 miles away in Pittsburgh, or 25 miles across the line in Ohio or the West Virginia panhandle. About a third of the churches are former ABC-USA congregations that have switched affiliation in the past decade over perceived liberalism in their own denomination. We visited two of those after coming here, both at a fair distance from home, both congregations of mostly senior adults. The pastors and church planters are attracted to the Philadelphia area and Southern New Jersey, where there's been a lot of growth, and a lot of NAMB resources. Philadelphia is one of their "focus cities" and there is a lot of new work, and some booming congregations over there.

But I believe your contention was that you couldn't trust the IMB's statistical data. Don't know how that proves your point.
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Re: So long, Tom Eliff

Postby William Thornton » Sun Mar 02, 2014 10:17 am

Ed, I'd make a distinction between NAMB stats and IMB stats.

Since NAMB starts SBC churches, many of those have ACP filings and the stats are of the same reliability as my church. You cite an experience over two decades ago. I would update my thinking on this if I were you. The new NAMB leader has said that they will tighten reporting and have imposed some requirements on state conventions for this. I trust 2014 stats out of NAMB a lot more than anything prior to 2012.

IMB stats are problematic, seems to me, once you get beyond the head count of personnel. Since we don't start SBC churches anywhere in the world, there's no equivalent ACP for overseas work and our personnel works with national bodies and some other likeminded organizations. Exactly what is reported out of these is necessarily soft, as I see it. But the overall IMB work cannot be based on the usual metrics for success that we use here, since many personnel are in areas where there is just not much that could or should be reported.

Eliff pointedly said he was not going to be a seat warmer. Fair enough. I don't see him as that. I cannot point to any drastic shift in strategy or implementation of any major changes and his relatively short term points to a legacy of maintaining the work and the present focus. I have no complaints there. I'd expect something different for the next guy.
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Re: So long, Tom Eliff

Postby Ed Pettibone » Sun Mar 02, 2014 10:27 am

Ed: Sandy I said nothing about the success of the SBC mining of western Pa. But
this comes from one of the 100 + SBC churches in Western PA "In April of 2006, we celebrated our 30th Anniversary" In other words they are closing in on the end of their 4th decade. So how can you deny that Southern Baptist have been mining PA for decades? If they had only been there 21 years my statement would be true. And they are not alone, and granted there are not a lot . I did not say they where effective.

And Since you say that there are "probably at least 20,000 SBC congregations who fall into the category of "deader than door nails," Don't you think such an admission from a person arguing the merits of the SBC, might have a negative effect on all SBC work every where?

Ed: And when you say "About a third of the churches are former ABC-USA congregations that have switched affiliation in the past decade over perceived liberalism in their own denomination." If I where a betting man, I would put money behind a claim that those SBC pastors did noting to dispel that perception, and in fact fostered it be cause they have the same errant belief. Now I am not claiming that there is no liberalism in some ABC churches and institutions, but there preponderance are rather conservative. I am going shortly to the final service led by an ABC pastor who is retiring.
We have known her for the full time we have been in NY, and for a while I had the notion that she was liberal, I am not sure why, But in the last 6 years we have been part of a group of pastors and their spouses who gather for lunch once a month, in which she participates and I have discovered that she is quite conservative.

Sandy my distrust of the SBC Stats comes from having been in the SBC through the takeover. and personal observation of how they manipulate and double count.
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Re: So long, Tom Eliff

Postby Ed Pettibone » Sun Mar 02, 2014 7:40 pm

William Thornton wrote:Ed, I'd make a distinction between NAMB stats and IMB stats.

Since NAMB starts SBC churches, many of those have ACP filings and the stats are of the same reliability as my church. You cite an experience over two decades ago. I would update my thinking on this if I were you. The new NAMB leader has said that they will tighten reporting and have imposed some requirements on state conventions for this. I trust 2014 stats out of NAMB a lot more than anything prior to 2012.

IMB stats are problematic, seems to me, once you get beyond the head count of personnel. Since we don't start SBC churches anywhere in the world, there's no equivalent ACP for overseas work and our personnel works with national bodies and some other likeminded organizations. Exactly what is reported out of these is necessarily soft, as I see it. But the overall IMB work cannot be based on the usual metrics for success that we use here, since many personnel are in areas where there is just not much that could or should be reported.

Eliff pointedly said he was not going to be a seat warmer. Fair enough. I don't see him as that. I cannot point to any drastic shift in strategy or implementation of any major changes and his relatively short term points to a legacy of maintaining the work and the present focus. I have no complaints there. I'd expect something different for the next guy.


Ed: William I have heard NAMB talk about tightening reporting before. When some one can demonstrate it, I will be glad to look at the figures and sources in the reports But I am curious what changes have you seen between 2012 and now that makes you so confident? Although I sometime question you analysis of facts I do respect your presentation of said facts over Sandy's' times 10.

Apparently you have ignored my opinion of Eliff for about 16 or 17 years.
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Re: So long, Tom Eliff

Postby William Thornton » Sun Mar 02, 2014 7:50 pm

NAMB requires that new churches be reported with their name, address, name of pastor. This wasn't done in the past and states gave a number.

I don't see much of anything different in Eliff's tenure, nor anything amiss. All field people I have had contact with (several,not scads) like him. He hasn't had a high profile for years and years.
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Re: So long, Tom Eliff

Postby Sandy » Sun Mar 02, 2014 9:17 pm

Ed Pettibone wrote:But this comes from one of the 100 + SBC churches in Western PA "In April of 2006, we celebrated our 30th Anniversary" In other words they are closing in on the end of their 4th decade. So how can you deny that Southern Baptist have been mining PA for decades?


One church having a 30th anniversary is not an indication that Southern Baptists have been "mining" (a term that I am interpreting from you with negative connotations) this area for decades. The first SBC congregation established in the Western part of PA came into existence in Pittsburgh in 1959, when a group of Southern Baptists from West Virginia and Ohio formed a congregation aimed at continuing their support for Southern Baptist mission work. If you do some research into the history of church planting by SBC congregations in Western Pennsylvania, both prior to and after the formation of the state convention, you would see that the size of the churches and the limited resources precluded planting congregations without discerning locations and communities where there was a very clear need for a church of any kind, especially a missions oriented, evangelistic work that is characteristic of SBC churches in Pennsylvania. When the 30 year old congregation was started, there were just 28 SBC affiliated congregations in the western half of the state. Most of those churches were started by other churches around groups of people from Appalachia who migrated up here to work in the mills. Over the past two decades, as most of the mills have closed, the church planting effort has shifted. Many established congregations of a wide variety of denominations have closed, especially in small towns and rural areas, leaving large areas without any church at all, and no options for people who can't drive to the suburban megachurches. The association, state convention, and the limited NAMB effort here has never wasted resources on starting churches with the intention of collecting people out of the existing churches they already attend. So there's no "mining" going on.

Ed Pettibone wrote:And when you say "About a third of the churches are former ABC-USA congregations that have switched affiliation in the past decade over perceived liberalism in their own denomination." If I where a betting man, I would put money behind a claim that those SBC pastors did noting to dispel that perception, and in fact fostered it be cause they have the same errant belief. Now I am not claiming that there is no liberalism in some ABC churches and institutions, but there preponderance are rather conservative.


There was considerable conversation and consideration given to accepting churches from ABC-USA that wanted to join the association. Generally, most of those that are now in the association left ABC-USA and spent several years as independent churches before being accepted into the SBC association and state convention. I don't think there is one that came in directly. The association has been very careful to avoid the appearance of encouraging churches to leave, or "recruiting them."

William Thornton wrote:IMB stats are problematic, seems to me, once you get beyond the head count of personnel. Since we don't start SBC churches anywhere in the world, there's no equivalent ACP for overseas work and our personnel works with national bodies and some other likeminded organizations. Exactly what is reported out of these is necessarily soft, as I see it. But the overall IMB work cannot be based on the usual metrics for success that we use here, since many personnel are in areas where there is just not much that could or should be reported.


I've been told that the only statistics that are reported are those that come from churches and areas where IMB personnel are involved directly, and as William says, the churches that are started are affiliated with national Baptist bodies, and not the SBC. But I don't think a statistical analysis is the only thing that needs to be included in an analysis of the executive director's performance. Could be that Elliff is stepping down because there are some paradigm shifts taking place in international Christian missions and he sees that his leadership, while providing stability, might not be effective in bringing the kind of creativity and change that will be necessary for the future?

I don't think there's a problem with trusting the statistical data. I see accusations here from moderate-leaning Baptists who are critical of the SBC, but what I don't see is hard evidence that there is a problem.
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Re: So long, Tom Eliff

Postby Ed Pettibone » Sun Mar 02, 2014 9:30 pm

William Thornton wrote:NAMB requires that new churches be reported with their name, address, name of pastor. This wasn't done in the past and states gave a number.

I don't see much of anything different in Eliff's tenure, nor anything amiss. All field people I have had contact with (several,not scads) like him. He hasn't had a high profile for years and years.


Ed: And what sort of systematic follow up is there for the list of Church names, and address and the name of the pastor" What about an address and phone number for the pastor? Who does the reporting? And is that for all new churches or just the ones getting NAMB assistance? Are there minimum requirements for thee pastor and or staff. And where is this list published?
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Re: So long, Tom Eliff

Postby Sandy » Sun Mar 02, 2014 11:26 pm

Ed Pettibone wrote:
William Thornton wrote:NAMB requires that new churches be reported with their name, address, name of pastor. This wasn't done in the past and states gave a number.

I don't see much of anything different in Eliff's tenure, nor anything amiss. All field people I have had contact with (several,not scads) like him. He hasn't had a high profile for years and years.


Ed: And what sort of systematic follow up is there for the list of Church names, and address and the name of the pastor" What about an address and phone number for the pastor? Who does the reporting? And is that for all new churches or just the ones getting NAMB assistance? Are there minimum requirements for thee pastor and or staff. And where is this list published?


I don't think there's a problem with trusting the statistical data. I see accusations here from moderate-leaning Baptists who are critical of the SBC, but what I don't see is hard evidence that there is a problem.
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