I believe that the SBC has a terrible image problem and the following story confirms this. There are a number of SBC pastors that I love and respect. Wade Burleson’s sermons are featured on our EChurch and the guys over at SBC Voices are great. One of them makes an appearance in this story. I was a member of a Reformed Baptist church for a number of years. Before things got bad, I would tell people I was Baptist. I can’t imagine denying who I am.
My husband and I love Saturday evenings. We go to church, grab food to go (we are in a Jersey Mike’s phase) and come home to watch some of our favorite programs. Besides news shows, we are currently watching Star Trek Discovery (no surprise there), Ozark, and Grantchester. Sometimes I’ll keep an eye on Twitter while watching my shows. I learn a lot about what’s going on in the church world there. Earlier in the day, I had posted about an SBC megachurch in my area, Hope Community Church, which was going to address a couple of issues regarding abuse. I am not currently in a position to comment on the church’s explanation since I don’t know the details but will continue to follow it.
And then, I entered the Twilight Zone…
An individual responded, telling me that I was wrong. Hope Community Church is nondenominational and not Baptist. She made the claim that she had been going there for 12 years and she *knew* it wasn’t Baptist. More folks weighed in.
Update 10/27 The inclusion of tweets in this post does not mean that they should be viewed negatively. They were helpful at getting to the bottom of what constitutes SBC membership.
I had attended this church for a short period of time as we were reconsidering our church affiliation. At this stage, we were deeply dissatisfied and were trying to figure out what to do. During this period, the church did not have actual members but that changed after we left.
So, Dee, ever the teacher, decided to help these folks understand that the church was a member of the SBC. It is quite simple.
- Go to the Church directory search at the SBC. https://churches.sbc.net
- Enter the name of the location of a churhc and voilà!
- Hope Community Church is listed as a member.
I use this site frequently. I noticed that Andy Savage’s Highpoint Church was a member of the SBC when Jules’ story became well known. I posted a screenshot in one of my posts. I discovered that the church had removed themselves from the SBC listing a few weeks later.
One individual became incensed, claiming that giving money to the SBC doesn’t mean a church is a member. But others knew that the listing is correct.
By this point, I began to suspect that some of what appeared to be angry responses had nothing to do with needing proof. That shouldn’t cause anger. It had to do with some folks wanting to deny that they were members of an SBC church and I began to get really interested in the exchange! Amy Smith noticed the issue and chimed in. Both of us had been members of SBC churches and both of us left the denomination over what we believe was the mishandling of sex abuse
The discussion turned to what constitutes SBC membership. It seemed to me that some folks wanted to deny their church was SBC due to lax standards of membership. However, the rules of the game are the rules of the game. Lax standards or not, thems the standards! Besides, I believe the underlying frustration was due to something else entirely.
William Thornton from SBC Voices arrived to rescue me. This guy knows his SBC. (Thank you, William.)
Why do people deny that their church is SBC?
I summed up this part of the conversation like this.
What is the deal with folks being upset when they discover their church is a member of the SBC-so much so that they feel they must deny it?
I dealt with my dissatisfaction by becoming a Lutheran. I would never be a member of an organization or church in which I would try everything I could to pretend that I’m not a member. In this particular situation, I called a dear friend who attends Hope Community Church and is very involved. When I told him of this discussion, he said that the pastor, Mike Lee, is very open about being a member of the SBC. In other words, it is the individual members who are either not paying attention or something else is going on. I think it is something else.
In my post in 2019, We Are Not Baptists…Are We? Why Are SBC Churches Hiding Their SBC Affiliation From Their Church Members? you can see a video of Greear explain to the church that they really are SBC and he is going to be the President of the SBC. When I watched this, I had a good laugh, remembering my conversations with Summit members who were adamant that they were not Baptists. Then, their own pastor became the SBC President.
Others chimed in on Twitter.
Here is a quote from my post about a stealth SBC church in my area.
I have discovered a number of churches in my area are stealth SBC churches. For example here is a statement of one large *nondenominational” church. Notice how they slip the SBC into a list of other organizations with which they affiliate. Membership in the SBC has simply become just another bit of fine print that no one reads. Is this what the SBC has intended?
Read this statement carefully. They claim they are a nondenominational church. But…they are members of the SBC. Notice how they hide the membership[ in the SBC below Campus Crusade for Christ which has changed its name to CRU.There is a world of difference to supporting Campus Crusade and being a member of the SBC. This church statement appears to be deliberately misleading. Nothing to see here, folks, move along.
We are a non-denominational church, which means we are not formally aligned with an established denomination and are completely autonomous. The governing leadership of this church, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, is vested in the Elder Board, whose authority is derived from the body of believers who compose this church.
We have the privilege of affiliating and financially partnering with numerous faith-based organizations who also practice the great commission as outlined in Matthew 28:18-20.
Willow Creek Association
Campus Crusade for Christ International
Southern Baptist Convention and the North Carolina State Baptist Convention
Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches
Southern Baptists or Great Commission Baptists: a name change is coming but…there are problems.
The SBC moniker has negative connotations to it. It is now widely associated with racism and abuse. The latest thing is to go with Great Commission Baptists. How many of you know that there is a task force that has been around for quite a long time? In 2010, the task force (another money pit) formed in order to get under the problems of perception, amongst other things. This name was approved in 2012. Southern Baptists approve alternate name, but barely.
Southern Baptist researchers recently found that more than 70 percent of Southern Baptist pastors think the official name should continue, and more than half had no plans to use “Great Commission Baptists.”
Here is one of the posts I wrote on the matter. Why Did the SBC Seal the Records of the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force Deliberations for 15 Years (2025?)
- Did you know this discussion has been ongoing since 2010?
- Did you know that the deliberation of this committee will be kept secret until 2025?
- Why in the world are they keeping it a secret?
- What is the scope of this committee?
- How much money has been *utilized* during these years?
- Did you know that Ronnie Floyd is leading this task force along with credentialing and everything else? I wonder how much he’s being paid on top of his other *appointments?*
- Why have churches refused to use the name? It’s been around for a number of years?
Why GCB name could be a bad idea.
In an episode of Ozark, a young boy was told to change his name to Michael Fleming in order to protect himself and his family. He said “I don’t want to be called Michael Fleming. They will call me Flem (phlegm)” Is the SBC aware of the potential problem of the initials *GCB?* During the time of the early deliberations, there was a book(semiautobiographical) and a television series named GCB I(Good Christian B****es.) Having spent 10 years in Dallas, I have to admit that the show nailed the culture.
Based on the semi-autobiographical 2008 novel Good Christian B*****s by Kim Gatlin, the series centers on a recently widowed woman who moves her family back to the upscale Dallas-area town where she grew up.
The series debuted on ABC as a mid-season replacement for Pan Am in the 2011–12 television season, on March 4, 2012. On May 11, 2012, both series were canceled by ABC. In its series finale, GCB drew 5.6 million viewers.
A reboot of the series, also titled Good Christian Bitches, was greenlit by The CW in November 2018.
Folks, the potential for uncomfortable okes is evident. I would suggest going back to the drawing board and thinking up something simple.