By David Green
President, Tennessee Baptist Convention
Tennessee Baptists are amazing people. I already knew that through years of serving in various Tennessee Baptist Convention committees, boards and institutions. However, after traveling literally thousands of miles from one end of the state to the other this year as president of the TBC, I can say I love Tennessee Baptists more than ever.
Serving as president has allowed me to be in most of our associations, meet with all of our ministry partners, participate in many special events, visit most of our harvest fields and Baptist Collegiate Ministries, and work closely with our TBMB staff, board of directors, and committees.
I’ve been invited to preach in numerous churches and in chapel at both Carson-Newman and Union Universities. Through all those experiences I’ve heard how God is using you to reach your communities with the gospel, and I’ve gotten to celebrate with you the precious souls won by your churches. I’ve enjoyed celebrating salvations, baptisms and discipleship with pastors, churches and directors of missions across the state.
The journey isn’t quite over, however. We still have the 2019 Summit together and the important job of electing a new president and making decisions regarding convention business and direction. One of the important items we’ll vote on is the TBC Cooperative Program allocation budget. More specifically, how our Cooperative Program dollars will be used to reach people for Christ here in Tennessee and around the world.
I personally believe the Cooperative Program is the single most significant vehicle we’ve seen in our lifetime for supporting missions and advancing the gospel. I’m proud that my home church, First Baptist Church Greeneville, has historically been a strong giver through the Cooperative Program. I’m also proud to be a Tennessee Baptist where our network of churches stepped up Cooperative Program giving this year and exceeded the goal; and our giving is nearly a percentage point higher than the collective average across the Southern Baptist Convention.
This movement in giving is significant. In 2010 messengers to the annual Tennessee Baptist Convention meeting affirmed a resolution that encouraged Tennessee Baptist churches to “increase support for cooperative missions,” and to, “give sacrificially in a manner sufficient to achieve a 50/50 allocation between the TBC and SBC … all while being mindful to not hinder agencies or institutions in Tennessee.”
The issue has been discussed at succeeding conventions with the expectation that the distributions would be reviewed to determine the impact the 50/50 distribution is having on TBC and SBC entities. This will give us a point of reference and help us build a framework for future allocations. This summer, Mike Kemper, presiding chairman of the TBMB’s board of directors, and I recently appointed a task force to fulfill that expectation.
As part of the examination of allocations, this task force will also review how Cooperative Program funds are being applied by TBMB, TBC partner ministries and entities across the SBC. This effort will include interviews with representatives of all these ministry partners. The entire process will help us better understand Cooperative Program needs and ministry funding.
Our task force also wants to hear from you — every single Tennessee Baptist. The TBMB initiated a “Cooperative Program Distribution Survey” roughly 18 months ago. The purpose of that study was to gain a better understanding of how strongly Tennessee Baptists feel about the Cooperative Program and related issues that impact giving in the future. That study established a research baseline and it is time to repeat that study to gain comparative information. This is where we need your help. You’ll receive an e-mail the week of Jan. 6, 2020, that will have a link to the online survey. The survey will take less than 10 minutes. Please respond. Your participation is important.
Also, a web page will be launched on the TBMB website the first quarter of next year that will include data from the surveys, offer you opportunities for continued input and include other Cooperative Program resources. You’ll be notified when that is up and running.
Finally, I want to offer a special thanks to First Baptist Church, Greeneville, for allowing me the time to serve, and I praise the Lord for my wonderful wife, Tracy Green, who has sacrificed so much, prayed for me, encouraged me and selflessly shared me with Tennessee Baptists this year.
I continue to praise the Lord for all of the good work He is accomplishing and will continue to accomplish. B&R