In a recent meeting of our state convention’s board of directors, I proposed the formation of a Mission Advance Team for the BGCO. I stated to the board, “With a desire greater than ever before to be missional and cooperative in reaching our state, nation and world with the Gospel, it is time to intensely examine every part of our convention ministries and structure to ensure that we are strategic and intentional in every area for Kingdom advance.”
In 1995-96, a very significant strategic plan that addressed mission, direction and staff structure was developed for the convention. I was a part of that strategic planning committee and remember well the dynamic changes that were recommended and then approved by the convention. In fact, after I was elected executive director-treasurer of the BGCO, my team and I spent the first three years of my tenure implementing the changes set forth in the plan.
On two other occasions the convention has called groups together to address strategic issues related to our organizational life and ministry. In each case, we have become stronger and more missional. We have become more nimble and able to respond to the needs of our churches and to mission opportunities that present themselves. We have tried to develop a learning organization that thinks strategically as a regular part of our work.
Yet every organization, whether a church or a convention, needs to step back and take a more intense look at itself. When you consider that we are Great Commission driven, it is imperative that we constantly ask ourselves hard questions and seek strategic answers. We can never be satisfied with successes of the past.
I believe it is time for us to invite a broad-based group of Oklahoma Baptists to look intently at the convention’s mission, priorities, ministries and values. What needs to be affirmed and continued? What needs to change or be eliminated? What must we do to move from good to great as a missional convention? How do we better serve our churches as they embrace an ever changing world? How do we structure staff and ministries for the future? How do we become more efficient and effective so we can move dollars to reach a lost world at home and abroad?
I, like you, have a passion to reach the nations. We need to find ways to make greater impact financially and lead our churches to have greater involvement in hands-on missions. Can we find efficiencies and effectiveness that will allow us to do more?
At the heart of any plan is a focus on the local church and an unfailing commitment to cooperate. How do we better serve the local church and enhance the effectiveness of the local church in its community? It is imperative that we strengthen our ability to connect local churches in communities, states, our nation and world in evangelism and missions.
I think it is also of utmost importance that we look at our approach to funding. Churches and conventions must seek to stretch in sending more beyond their boundaries to reach the dark places. The great cities of our nation and world await a powerful witness. It will take people and dollars.
The Mission Advance Team will have broad representation from Oklahoma Baptists. With only 23 members, it will not be perfect in this regard. Those who serve will have a demanding and intense responsibility. They will need our prayer support and encouragement.
The Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma is doing a good work today. We are well organized, creative and missional. But we can be better. May the Lord show us how to move from good to great in doing Great Commission ministry cooperatively.
Anthony L. Jordan is executive director-treasurer of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.