Vote Yes 4: Great Commission Baptists

It is official, in case you haven't heard, that the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention has voted overwhelmingly to approve a taskforce's recommendation that the name "Great Commission Baptists" be adopted as a sort of informal "nickname" for the denomination. Word is that churches will have the "option" to utilize the new name, but that those who didn't want to could stick with the old Southern Baptist label.

That a legal name change is not being put forward should come as no surprise to those following developments closely. The word for some time has been that pursuing more of an informal or "doing business as" approach to a name-change was likely (ala Baptist General Convention a.k.a. "Converge"). For those who have been worried about the legal ramifications or excessive costs of a name change, this should quell their concerns.

As the pastor of Trinity International Baptist Mission, I was quietly rooting for "International Baptist Convention", but "Great Commission Baptists" is okay too. It has the effect of capturing much of what many name-change opponents claimed the term "Southern Baptist" stood for. It is pretty clear as the missional heart and focus of our denomination and it is pretty impossible to conceive of it becoming dated (obeying the Great Commission will be relevant till Jesus comes). GCB moves us away from the regionalizing yoke of the term "Southern" and is free from the associations of slavery and racism.

So, in short, I am happy with the name and plan to be enthusiastically voting in favor of it at the SBC this year. Maybe I'll pack up a van of messengers and make it a New Orleans road trip. It should be a very historic time with not only the name change on the ballot, but also the opportunity to vote for our convention's first black president.

Illinois Baptist State Association: Home: IB: Convention will vote on optional 'Great Commission Baptist' identity for use by churches, while keeping legal name ‘Southern Baptist’: "NASHVILLE | Messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention will decide in June whether to call the denomination “Great Commission Baptists,” at least informally. The SBC Executive Committee approved a task force’s recommendation to adopt a name for optional use by churches, while keeping the legal name of the denomination in use since its founding in 1845."


  1. "The word for sometime has..." should read, "The word for some time has..."

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