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Bart Barber on IMB, NAMB, GCR

PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2009 2:14 am
by Big Daddy Weaver
William and others,

I'd like to hear your thoughts on Barber's most recent post which I thought made a number of salient points. Barber challenges a number of the "populist" ideas put forth by William and others here at on subjects such as the number of trustees, etc. by offering his own form of Southern Baptist populism.

Check out Barber here.

Re: Bart Barber on IMB, NAMB, GCR

PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2009 8:17 am
by William Thornton
Barber thinks combining the two mission boards is a bad idea. So do I, although he paints their entire 165 year history as a struggle for identity and good leadership. I don’t know about that but he says about the same thing I would about why it’s a bad idea to combine the two agencies.

Bart Barber wrote:Consolidation of these two boards would do nothing to simplify the tangled web of dissonant tasks existing within the NAMB. Rather, all it would accomplish is the robbing from the IMB of the simplicity and straightforwardness from which it has benefitted for a century and a half. All of these problems would simply move from Atlanta to Richmond…But the concept of consolidating the NAMB and the IMB does not represent a course correction from the Covenant for a New Century. No, quite the contrary, it represents a steaming full speed ahead on the same course of overconsolidation of muddled behemoth entities into even more gargantuan muddled entities. This is no slow turning of the Titanic; it is playing chicken with the iceberg.

Right. While the IMB is not perfect, any merging with NAMB would certainly contaminate former.

Barber likes more trustees not less. That certainly is the true populist position. With NAMB, trustees were asleep at the wheel while that outfit wasted millions upon millions of our dollars. With IMB, millions upon millions are spent on the personal expenses of trustees, 96 of them. There has to be some better way. If not fewer then what? I cannot imagine that 48 trustees couldn't do at least as good a job as the 96 and that with no reduction in church and individual support.

He has said that he doesn’t like the Great Commission Resurgence article that calls for “a commitment for a more effective convention structure.” He says,

the Southern Baptist Convention is entirely powerless to effect any of those changes. The state conventions are autonomous. The local associations are autonomous.

…a point we all understand. That no specifics came with this GCR article is the core of his objection to it. He further says,
…the only specific idea that I've heard anyone mention is the concept endorsed by Patterson: The consolidation of these two mission boards. Thus, in my analysis, voting on the GCR is essentially a vote on the consolidation of the mission boards.

That's just being silly. The GCR article’s intent is to start that conversation. The conversation has started with one trustee leader’s specific, if bad, idea. There will be more - even some good ideas. That’s the point.

While I appreciate him articulating his thinking on this and don’t mean to be blithely dismissive of him, I think he is just being contrarian on this. That would make him a fairly typical Baptist. Nothing wrong with that. I see nothing at all wrong with folks in the SBC, leaders and rank-and-file alike, stating the obvious: we need to look at better use of our resources.

Barber said he would put his own ideas out. I look forward to reading them.

Re: Bart Barber on IMB, NAMB, GCR

PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2009 12:44 pm
by Mark
Bart Barber, as cited by Wm, wrote:…the only specific idea that I've heard anyone mention is the concept endorsed by Patterson: The consolidation of these two mission boards...

Paige Patterson is in favor of combining the SBC's two mission boards?

Re: Bart Barber on IMB, NAMB, GCR

PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2009 2:25 pm
by William Thornton
Mark wrote:
Bart Barber, as cited by Wm, wrote:…the only specific idea that I've heard anyone mention is the concept endorsed by Patterson: The consolidation of these two mission boards...

Paige Patterson is in favor of combining the SBC's two mission boards?

The Patterson referenced is not Paige:

Baptist Press Posted on May 5, 2009 | by Staff
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (BP)--The trustee chairman of the North American Mission Board believes the "Great Commission Resurgence" declaration creates an opportunity for dialogue about an issue he believes needs to be addressed: a merger of the SBC's two mission boards.

Tim Patterson, pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla., told the Florida Baptist Witness that Southern Baptists should have a "singular world mission agency."

Re: Bart Barber on IMB, NAMB, GCR

PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2009 3:23 pm
by Mark
William Thornton wrote:The Patterson referenced is not Paige...
Tim Patterson, pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla...

Thanks... Guess I coulda read the article before I asked that question. :oops:

Re: Bart Barber on IMB, NAMB, GCR

PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2009 7:28 pm
by Sandy
NAMB is already a merger of several former agencies, part of the Brotherhood Commission and Radio and TV commission landed there, and some of the programs it inherited were preserved not because of their success, but because someone who worked for them was connected to someone influential enough to keep the program alive. That's at least part of the problem at NAMB. To merge it with the IMB would be, IMHO disastrous to both, and counterproductive to current efforts underway to streamline NAMB.

The term "populist" is getting a lot of use these days, it seems, in both secular politics and denominational politics. I've been a fairly regular participant and observer in Baptist convention life since 1979, in three state conventions and the SBC, and it seems that, more than any other organization I've been involved in, Baptist conventions are more prone to personal kingdom building, influence peddling and the development of a good-ole-boy power structure that both makes us look like total backwoods bumpkins and by putting certain people in position to grant favors (i.e. denominational jobs with high salaries) makes the operation of our entities extremely inefficient. That is the sort of thing that has pushed a lot of gifted and talented Baptists into both mainline Protestant and non-denominational churches for service, and has caused thousands of churches to re-evaluate their contributions to the Cooperative Program. It is why there was a conservative resurgence, a CBF, an Alliance of Baptist, a Texas Baptists Committed, a SBCV and an SBTC. It is why I received over 500 email responses to my blog post advocating a limit on trustee and committee terms in the BGCT, the vast majority saying "about time" and "go get 'em."

Re: Bart Barber on IMB, NAMB, GCR

PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2009 10:11 pm
by Gary
The problem with large committees, Boards of Trustees, and Boards of Directors is that there is little or no accountability because of defacto anonymity due to size. IMO that was/is one of the systemic problems with the IMB BOT - the sheer size prevents any meaningful debate and decision making by the Committee of the Whole, therefore it ends up in the lap of some Executive or Steering committee which ramrods through their own agenda. Programs bloat, staff and field personnel are intimidated, progress stagnates, recriminations begin, lather, rinse, repeat.

NAMB was saddled with junk and through some very real leadership issues and inertia of extreme mass wallowed, teetered and fell.

Rome was neither built in a day, nor fell in a day. But it certainly was built and it certainly did fall. Not comparing NAMB or IMB with Rome, but there are certainly parallels.

I've yet to see anyone or any group who has the gravitas or fortitude to accomplish real change in the SBC. The way the SBC is structured and has bloated AT THE TOP, there is no real way to turn the ship other than sinking it and starting fresh. But as I opined, I don't see it.

NAMB will be rolled into IMB because someone with pull will get to a microphone and make believers out of the Messengers. This will be to the detriment of all.

Just call me the Friday evening Blue Bird of Happiness.


Checkout Bart again

PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2009 4:16 pm
by Cathy

Re: Checkout Bart again

PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2009 4:39 pm
by William Thornton

Yeah, I saw this this morning but was gone most of the day. I'll probably do a topic on it tomorrow when I am at the computer where I have all the links.

So far, it's ugly.

Re: Bart Barber on IMB, NAMB, GCR

PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2009 5:04 pm
by Big Daddy Weaver
Looks like Barber's sources gave him bad information.

I'm still waiting to see if Barber/Rogers/SBC Today will make any changes to the blog post's title/content.

Re: Bart Barber on IMB, NAMB, GCR

PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2009 9:20 pm
by Big Daddy Weaver
The comment thread on this post is incredible.

Clark Logan, Vice President for Business and Finance for the SBC Executive Committee, writes this:

The initial blog entry, “BGCT Refusing to Release Lottie Moon Funds, Sources Report,” and some of the subsequent comments have been inaccurate and unfair to the BGCT, the IMB, and the SBC Executive Committee.

1. The BGCT has a consistent history of forwarding funds to the SBC Executive Committee. As shown on the official report of Designated Receipts (of which the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering is a part) released by the SBC Executive Committee for February, the BGCT forwarded over $6.3 million. While the March report shows a “0.00,” the April report shows over $4.2 million (which includes over $3.3 million actually forwarded on March 23 – explained below).

2. It is correct that the official report of Designated Receipts released by the SBC Executive Committee did show a “$0.00” for the BGCT for the month of March. This is why:

• The BGCT, like all state convention partners, forwards both Cooperative Program funds and Designated Funds to the SBC Executive for distribution to SBC entities at least once (and sometimes two or three times) a month.
• As is usual, in March (March 23rd to be exact), the BGCT wired their designated gifts to the SBC Executive Committee in the amount $3,301,826.17.
• As is not usual, the BGCT did not send a remittance form or any paperwork showing how the money it sent should be applied.
• Apparently the implementation of new software at the BGCT complicated their ability to compile and issue the needed distribution report until after April 1. Therefore, even though the SBC Executive Committee was in possession of the Designated Fund sent on March 23, “$0.00” was reported because the proper application of those funds had not been verified by the BGCT.

3. Distribution and reporting of Designated Funds cannot be made by the Executive Committee until the distribution paperwork is received from the state conventions. In the (normally very few) days between receipt of the funds by the SBC Executive Committee and distribution of the funds by the SBC Executive Committee, the funds are invested on behalf of the entities by the SBC Executive Committee and all interest earned is passed on to the entities pro rata. Rarely does the time frame of this delay overlap the last day of the month – which is the day the books are closed and the monthly Designated Receipts report is prepared for distribution to state conventions and SBC entities. In this case, the delay did overlap the last day of the month, and therefore a “0.00” was reported for the BGCT for the month of March. As previously stated, however, the April report includes both the April gifts and the gifts tendered on March 23. For these reasons, any claim that the BGCT “held money” is erroneous.

4. The Business and Finance division of the SBC Executive Committee works closely with the finance offices at all of the entities. Persons in those offices would have knowledge of or opportunity to access all of the above information. Anytime there is a question, I believe all of those offices would welcome the opportunity to respond to any inquiries from interested Southern Baptists. I wish our office had been called about this matter before various erroneous theories were proposed.

Tim Rogers, editor of SBC Today, responds with this:

Brother Clark Logan,

If what you report is true, which I accept, I have one question.

Why did the personnel of the IMB tell the trustees and the SBC President that funds were in escrow? Also, would you make public the paperwork revealing that as of 5/20/2009 the report going to the IMB reveals that the BGCT's funds were release from the EC to the IMB?


Blogger Alan Cross responds to Tim:


Are you really asking Clark Logan, Vice President for Business and Finance for ExComm to prove to you that he isn't lying when he explained to you in detail what happened?

Come on, Tim. You are better than that.

You guys just need to admit you were wrong and move on. No big deal.

And finally, David Lowrie - President of the BGCT - weighs in:

As President of the BGCT, I want to encourage you to remove your post, and to straighten out this mess. The church I serve is a SBC church with a number of IMB missionaries. It is true that we have been working hard to turn walls into bridges to advance the Great Commission around the world.

I too am a blogger, so I know the challenges of getting the story straight. We must be very careful in these days. I believe a fresh wind is blowing for greater understanding and cooperation in the future on Kingdom causes. We cannot continue the stereotypes of the past.

I believe this was an honest mistake. Please remove the post. Clear the reputation of the leaders of the BGCT, and work hard to help us work effectively together in the days ahead.

The stakes are too high for us to waste our time on matters like this. Let's unite to do the work Jesus called us to do. If the Great Commission Resurgence is to be more than a slogan or motto, we must learn to trust each other and work together again.

David Lowrie
President of the BGCT
Pastor of First Baptist Church of Canyon, TX

The best comment came from "William" ( moderator William?) who wrote:

Someone was wrong on this and it was Barber and SBCToday. The protests otherwise are ludicrous. The headline was a deliberately framed, agressive shot at the BGCT. It should have been checked out.

Go ahead and straighten this mess out with respect to the BGCT before you lose any additional credibility.

I admit that the SBC Today crowd is losing more and more credibility especially in light of their attacks on Wade Burleson for his posts that rely exclusively on anyonymous sources. Tim Rogers just can't seem to fully admit these mistakes and move on. Ironically, this whole conversation concerning a controversial SBC Today post authored by Bart Barber is taking place at Barber's personal blog because SBC Today will not allow comments. So, SBC Today editor Rogers is forced to respond and defend himself at someone's elses blog-home due to their anti-comments policy.