NASHVILLE — The Vision 2021 Strategy Planning Team began a series of meetings across Tennessee on Monday, June 11.
Danny Sinquefield, chairman of the Vision 2021 team, and Randy C. Davis, executive director/treasurer of the Tennessee Baptist Convention, met in three locations on Monday to begin sharing “a working outline” of the report and recommendations that will be made at the TBC annual meeting in November.
They will be joined in the informational meetings by various Vision Team members and TBC staff.
The Vision 2021 team was created in 2010 at the TBC annual meeting in Knoxville. They were charged with four major tasks: (1) Serve as a forum within the life of Tennessee Baptists to discern the preferred future for impacting the harvest field called Tennessee and guide Tennessee Baptists in living out this reality; (2) Study how Tennessee Baptists can work together more faithfully and effectively in serving Christ through the Great Commission; (3) Review and recommend to messengers ways that Tennessee Baptists can improve our strategy, structure and funding base in order to reach the next generation and the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ; and (4) Develop a clear vision for the TBC and a strategic implementation process to achieve that vision within the next 10 years, for recommendation to messengers.
Tennessee Baptists who attend the sessions will be given a copy of the “working outline” and have an opportunity to ask questions and provide insight and suggestions, Sinquefield said.
“This is not what we are doing. It’s what do you think about what we are doing,” he continued.
“We value input,” Sinquefield added.
The first three meetings on Monday were held at Lexington, Nashville and Crossville. Meetings also were slated for Knoxville, Morristown and Jonesborough on Tuesday and Lenoir City and Madisonville on Wednesday.
The meetings will conclude this week on Thursday at Westwood Baptist Church in Cleveland at 9:30 a.m. and the Tennessee Baptist Children’s Homes campus in Chattanooga at 2 p.m. See list of additional meetings and sites at the end of this article.
Sinquefield and Davis summarized the material given to those in attendance.
In the introductory material in the handout, the Vision 2021 team noted they have “listened to Tennessee Baptists, studied the work of Tennessee Baptists and considered the future of Tennessee Baptists.”
The Vision 2021 team also has been “very deliberate and very determined in our assignment and we are grateful for this opportunity to report to you the convictions and recommendations resulting from our journey together.”
The report is divided into three sections — a call to confession, a call for clarity and a call for cooperation.
Each section will contain recommendations for convention messengers to consider for adoption in November.
The call to confession centers around the need for “personal and corporate confession of sin and our need to confess our total dependence upon God for the effective ministry of the churches of this convention.”
Recommendation one asks Tennessee Baptists to adopt the following as the vision statement of the TBC: “Our vision is to penetrate lostness and advance the gospel across Tennessee and to the ends of the earth by asking God to bring a sweeping spiritual awakening in our churches transforming our hearts toward radical obedience.”
The second recommendation deals with six core values.
• Humility. “We will recognize, with deep conviction, our desperate need for, and dependency upon God for revival and renewal.”
• Honesty. “We will accept, with broken hearts, the truth that our world is in trouble and our effectiveness is lacking.”
• Urgency. “We will embrace, with renewed energy, the priority for sharing the gospel and making disciples.”
• Unity. “We will seek, with appreciation for our diversity, a dynamic and vibrant sense of harmony in our mission and ministry partnerships.”
• Generosity. “We will practice, with a sacrificial spirit, an intentional increase in generous cooperative giving for mission causes.”
• Accountability. “We will require of ourselves, with a diligent focus upon our mission, faithful stewardship of God’s resources.”
The third recommendation calls for Tennessee Baptists to adopt an “It’s Time! (Hosea 10:12) revival theme beginning immediately for TBC churches as their focus for the year ahead (2012-13).
The call for clarity contains a “consensus conclusion that we must enter the next 10-year period with greater focus on the Great Commission and clear plans for how we, as a convention of churches, will engage in God’s mission in the world.”
Recommendation four asks Tennessee Baptists to adopt the following mission statement: “The Tennessee Baptist Convention is a cooperating network of churches committed to reaching Tennessee and the world for God’s glory by sharing the gospel and multiplying disciples.”
Recommendation five requests the TBC Executive Board to affirm the following as priority ministries (to be evaluated annually) and that the TBC Executive Board Ministries follow these priorities in staffing and structure.
• Sending Churches (Mobilization for Evangelism, Mission and Ministry)
• Strengthening Churches (Renewal/Revitalization; Leader Development; Disciple Development)
• Starting Churches (Church Planting in a variety of forms)
• Supporting Churches (Developing initiatives and strategies in response to our churches and associations in resourcing their mission)
The final section (a call for cooperation) reminds Tennessee Baptists to (1) “embrace our responsibility to be faithful stewards of God’s work together in our state and beyond; (2) to have a commitment “to do whatever it takes to extend the gospel to the ends of the earth and advance God’s kingdom in the power of the Holy Spirit; and (3) to “acknowledge our diversity and prayerfully seek unity and harmony for the cause of Christ as we serve together in our various mission fields.”
This section includes the final five recommendations from the Vision 2021 Team:
Recommendation six asks Tennessee Baptists to “affirm The Baptist Faith and Message (2000) as our confessional foundation guiding our faith and practice as a convention of churches.”
Recommendation seven “respectfully requests that each church consider increasing their support of the Cooperative Program making this a significant part of their church’s mission giving strategy as we partner together in fulfilling the Great Commission.
Recommendation eight requests the TBC Executive Board to “facilitate increased global mission cooperation through the development of TBC Cooperative Budgets that allocate no less than 50 percent of Cooperative Program receipts to SBC causes in a process beginning with the 2013-14 budget and reaching the 50 percent (equal distribution level) in five years.”
Recommendation nine requests the Executive Board “to facilitate statewide cooperation through the establishment of a strategic regional TBC presence focused on engaging churches and associations in the development and deployment of strategies for sending, starting, strengthening and supporting churches.”
The final recommendation authorizes the formation of the Vision 2021 Transition Team, consisting of seven members from the Vision Team and two officers (president of the convention and president of the Executive Board) with the TBC executive director serving as an ex officio member.
The recommendation notes that the “transition team will guide the process toward accomplishment of the actions approved by this convention, receive reports from TBC entities regarding actions taken in response to requests, report progress and response to the convention; and recommend to the convention additional actions necessary to the fulfillment of the convention’s vision, mission, priorities and budget.
Sinquefield said it is the Vision Team’s “sincere prayer that this report will result in a fresh vision and a unifying focus for our churches as we seek to fulfill the Great Commission.”
Davis encouraged Tennessee Baptists to attend one of the series of meetings in his “Clarity” column printed in the June 6 issue of the B&R.
“Our desire and hope that men and women who are walking with the Lord will help us further define and refine the vision that God has laid on our hearts. Help us bring clarity and sharpness to this vision.
The schedule for the final sessions are:
June 25: Pomona Baptist Church, Dickson, 9:30 a.m.; Grace Baptist Church, Springfield, 2 p.m.; Riverdale Baptist Church, Murfreesboro, 7 p.m.
June 26: West End Baptist Church, Columbia, 9:30 a.m.; Green River Baptist Church, Waynesboro, 2 p.m.; Shiloh Baptist Association office, Adamsville, 7 p.m.
June 27: Calvary Baptist Church, Jackson, 9:30 a.m.; First Baptist Church, Dyersburg, 2 p.m.
June 28: Mid-South Baptist Association office, Bartlett, 9:30 a.m.