State Convention president voices appreciation for GCRTF leadership
Supports dissolution of cooperative agreements with NAMB
Mar 24, 2010
By JONI B. HANNIGAN

JACKSONVILLE (FBW)—Noting an emphasis on revival and spiritual renewal—both personal and corporate—in the progress report presented to the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee by the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force Feb. 22, John Cross, president of the Florida Baptist State Convention, said he is grateful for a focus on the Great Commission—“because obviously that’s where it starts.”

Cross, pastor of South Biscayne Church in North Port, said the GCRTF has cast a vision moving Southern Baptists to repentance and prompting them to share in a sense of loss for unreached people groups globally and domestically.

Voicing appreciation for the GCRTF’s leadership and the spiritual context in which the chairman, Ronnie Floyd, delivered the recommendations, Cross told Florida Baptist Witness, “the overall recommendations, I thought, were great.” Floyd is pastor of First Baptist Church in Springdale, Ark.

CROSS
Cross, as president of the Florida Baptist State Convention, appointed Florida’s “Imagine If Great Commission Task Force” after its authorization in November at the state convention’s annual meeting in Pensacola.

He said the recommendations put forth by the GCRTF “will be an issue of dialogue” for Florida’s task force as it discusses the “potential impact on the state convention.”

Danny de Armas, chairman of Florida’s task force, told the Witness he was not surprised by the recommendations of the report he said is a process of “redefining and realigning our purpose, our funding, and our structure.”

The priorities of the national GCRTF are similar to Florida’s task force, de Armas said, “which tells me we do have significant consensus among our churches, just not sure that consensus is convention-wide.”

As president of the state convention, Cross said he believes the recommendation of the GCRTF related to cooperative agreements between the North American Mission Board and the state conventions is a good one.

De ARMAS
“It was a great mechanism perhaps at one time, but I don’t [know], for years I’ve not understood, why we send away money and then get back money,” Cross said. “Why not organize some type of process that would be much leaner and effective and efficient to adjust that area of our cooperation.”

The task force’s progress report included six “components,” and Cross referred to Component 2, which at seven pages is the report’s lengthiest detailing how it suggests NAMB should be “reinvented and released.” Part of that reinvention would involve decentralizing the Alpharetta, Ga., entity so that it has “up to” seven regional offices. In addition it recommends releasing the entity from “cooperative agreements” with state conventions over the course of four years to free up an estimated $50 million in funding for a national strategy.

In response to a question about whether Florida would need to keep more Cooperative Program money in the state if NAMB did not continue to support missions efforts within the state, Cross said, “that’s an issue that obviously would be decided by the State Board of Missions and then affirmed by the messengers at the Florida Baptist State Convention.”

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