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November 25, 2008Humor, Leadership

Cooperation Part 2: SBC Cooperation?

This is the longest time I have gone without posting to the blog.

I have been super busy, speaking this weekend at The Summit Church and C3 Church, both in Raleigh Durham. I was there with my daughter Jaclyn so I did not have time to post. I will make up for it this week.

The last time I wrote, I mentioned that my denomination has a statement of faith that includes an article on cooperation:

Article 14 on Cooperation

Christ's people should, as occasion requires, organize such associations and conventions as may best secure cooperation for the great objects of the Kingdom of God. Such organizations have no authority over one another or over the churches. They are voluntary and advisory bodies designed to elicit, combine, and direct the energies of our people in the most effective manner. Members of New Testament churches should cooperate with one another in carrying forward the missionary, educational, and benevolent ministries for the extension of Christ's Kingdom. Christian unity in the New Testament sense is spiritual harmony and voluntary cooperation for common ends by various groups of Christ's people. Cooperation is desirable between the various Christian denominations, when the end to be attained is itself justified, and when such cooperation involves no violation of conscience or compromise of loyalty to Christ and His Word as revealed in the New Testament.

Of course, I am not unaware of the irony that there is an article on cooperation in the SBC statement of faith. We are still unsure if we can cooperate with churches that ALREADY affirm our statement of faith, but are contemporary, emerging, Reformed, or missional.

Yet, believe it or not, we actually have a statement of faith that affirms cooperation--inside and outside the denomination. Who knew? (How I wish those who are as excited about the Baptism section were also excited about the cooperation section.)

So, yes, our SBC article on cooperation sort of comes off like the Orthodox Presbyterian Church passing a resolution on the value of "positive thinking preaching." But the fact that we do have this article in our statement of faith encourages me. It calls us to continue to unite around the gospel and the mission for the glory of God and the good of all who believe. We can do that through our convention and with others who name the name of Jesus.

I believe in cooperation and think you should too. I have seen too many disconnected pastors and churches. And, I believe if they partnered with others, they would be able to more effectively engage in God's global mission, would be stretched to work with others doing church in places different than theirs, and we would accomplish more together than we can alone.

I am involved in some networks and value them, but I spend most of my time with my denomination and helping other denominations. I will talk more about networks later, but first I want to talk about denominations (my own in particular).

For more on that, come back throughout the week.

Also up this week: a response to some comments about our research, another book leadership interview, and some other things I have not yet found!

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Cooperation Part 2: SBC Cooperation?