Grand Partnership?

July 21, 2007

If you heard that a Christian organization was starting something they were calling "Grand Partnership," what would you think that might be? Maybe it would be something about working with Christian brothers and sisters to more effectively share the love of Jesus. Or maybe it would be something like raising a lot of money for a new and exciting missions project. Those seem like grand and worthy goals for a Christian organization.

However, the leadership of the Missouri Baptist Convention apparently has different ideas about how to define "grand partnership." Here is a report of a vote at the recent executive board meeting of the MBC:

Launch the Grand Partnership fundraising plan to benefit the Agency Restoration Fund. The campaign will begin with the mailing of the Grand Partnership letter that includes a request for 500 entities (churches, Sunday School classes, individuals or groups) to become Grand Partners;
The goal here is for these 500 "grand partners" to each give $1,000 to the Baptist Agency Restoration Fund (BARF). Their idea of a "grand partnership" is not working together with their brothers and sisters to share the love of Jesus but instead trying to raise more money to pay for their lawsuit against their brothers and sisters. And instead of raising money for missions work, they are hoping to raise half of a million dollars to line the pockets of attorneys (and this is after a couple of million dollars has already been spent on these lawsuits).

I hope and pray that churches and individuals will reject this solicitation. Think of all the Bibles that could be printed and distributed, all the needy people who could be clothed and feed, and all of the churches that could be started with half of a million dollars. The only thing that seems grand about this plan is how big of a waste it will be of the money God has entrusted with Missouri Baptists.

3 comments

  1. Ronda8:22 PM

    Is it seriously called the "Baptist Agency Restoration Fund?" What an interesting (and appropriate) acronym!

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  2. Chuck4:37 PM

    Okay, 'fess up, if necessary, Brian.

    Did you add "Baptist" to the "Agency Restoration Fund" referred to in the linked article, or did the MBC delete it upon discovering the resulting undesirable acronym "BARF"?

    It appears some of the Missouri Baptist entities pulled a "Baylor" and are being taken to legal-task for it, right? Very unfortunate for the cause of Christ.

    Wrong responses to wrong actions are double-damaging. I pray your two conventions will repent and be civil toward one another for the Kingdom's sake.

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  3. Thanks for the comments! It is true that the MBC calls the fund the "Agency Restoration Fund" but I think that adding "Baptist" makes it much more appropriate. Unfortunately, I cannot claim credit for thinking of this joke as it is one that has been circulating among Missouri Baptists almost since the fund was first set up.

    Chuck: You are correct that this is "Very unfortunate for the cause of Christ" and that "Wrong responses to wrong actions are double-damaging." These are arguments I made while defending my motion to stop the lawsuit at a MBC annual meeting a couple of months after the lawsuit was filed.

    I would note, however, that your comment about "two conventions" seems to be off-target as the BGCM is not in any way a part of the lawsuit. The ministries took their actions before the BGCM was even started and the MBC established their legal task force and authorized the lawsuit before the BGCM was even started. But there is one convention that needs to repent and be civil.

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