The Baptist “Press” reports Ronnie Floyd’s admonition to Southern Baptist pastors that a good vision can bring in the money. The President of the SBC (nominated by Albert Mohler and JD Greear for two consecutive terms), who happens to have a fire engine baptistry in his church that shoots confetti over the children’s church audience (seriously, here’s the link), wants pastors to know that “when people engage and embrace the vision, they will support it financially.”
Floyd, if you recall, gave Southern Baptists until December 31 to pay our tithes in order to reap God’s blessings for 2014 (link). And if you’re not familiar with Floyd, he’s a video of his church doing the Harlem Shake (link). Here’s a video of one of the youth pastor’s doing karaoke to Right Thurr, a very vulgar rap song, at the church…with the youth (link). But, God regularly speaks to Ronnie Floyd (link), so who are we to judge?
When we communicate our vision consistently and effectively, we will lead others to not only engage in our vision, but also embrace it.
Mmmkay. But here’s the thing. This whole “vision thing” is not actually something that the Bible…ever…tells us pastors are supposed to receive from God. While Ronnie mentions “reaching the world for Christ” is that vision (I would counter with a more specific Great Commission and the making of disciples, baptizing believers, teaching what we’ve been commanded because “reaching people” is something Joel Osteen does too, but I digress…), to make a fringe benefit of that “vision” increased tithes and offerings is troubling.
I am convinced money will follow the vision of reaching the world for Christ. People will give more money to our churches when we accomplish and forward this vision regionally, statewide, nationally and internationally. Churches will give more money to our associations when this vision is being accomplished in our communities. Churches will forward more money through the Cooperative Program when they are convinced that state conventions and entities are supporting and assisting our churches in this grand, singular vision of reaching the world for Christ.
Ronnie Floyd, who received the nickname “Ronnie Armani” years ago for his fine taste in suits and who has owned foreign luxury automobiles (like, really, really expensive ones) must be really, really reaching the world for Christ. His vision must be epic.
Here’s the thing about giving through the Cooperative Program. It’s not that Southern Baptists don’t understand our “vision.” It’s that we don’t trust our entities to carry it out. Maybe if we didn’t have the North American Mission Board letting its president resign with a 500k severance package after mishandling millions of dollars on first class plane tickets, ice sculptures and staff retreats to the Islands, people would be more eager to send in their money. Perhaps if the IMB didn’t overspend tens of millions and is now bringing home 600 missionaries without cutting any bureaucratic overhead from their own home offices, people would be more eager to send in their money. Perhaps if the ERLC wasn’t run by a socially progressive, race-obsessed, pro-illegal immigration, gay wedding reception former Democratic staffer, people would be more eager to send in their money. Perhaps if Paige Patterson wasn’t enrolling Muslims at SouthWestern and our colleges like Louisiana College (link), Brewton-Parker (link), and North Greenville University (link) weren’t hotbeds of deceit and corruption, people would be more likely to support the Cooperative Program.
Southern Baptist leaders seem intent on fixing everything except that which needs fixing – our corruption.