As will be our custom in this space, I will try to give insight into the various aspects of the vision I believe God would have us pursue in California.
The two major aspects of that vision involve resourcing the vision of the churches that make up California Southern Baptist Convention and seeking to have strong, healthy, reproducing churches started and existing churches strengthened and revitalized.
I will deal with the first of these two priorities here.
“Resourcing” is a broad term that entails many different aspects such as coaching, providing materials and, at times, providing financial support. Resourcing church vision is not a passive activity. The state convention staff will not be waiting to react to a particular situation or need nor will the state convention staff usurp the role of the local church.
Resourcing the vision of the churches involves as much of a mindset shift as it does a change in action. Each CSBC team must evaluate whether their ministry is something the church should be doing or whether they should step in and provide assistance.
Some things are clearly a church ministry and not a ministry of the Convention. One criteria that can be used to help determine if it is a church ministry or Convention ministry relates to the amount of follow-up necessary should God see fit to bless the ministry. Churches are far better equipped to do follow-up than the state convention. Churches are where the manpower resides to successfully implement and measure the effectiveness of what has occurred.
The role the Convention seeks to play is facilitating churches to accomplish what they believe God has called them to do, not simply do it for them. We desire to coordinate with our partners in the associations who are more familiar with the needs of their churches than those of us who are one or more steps removed from the field.
We also desire to coordinate with other national entities to bring to bear all the expertise available through each one to our churches.
At the end of the day the question must be asked if California Southern Baptist Convention has been effective in moving the church closer to the fulfillment of its vision.