The Convention Advancement Advisory Council (CAAC) heard from SBC President J. D. Greear and WMU Executive Director-Treasurer Sandy Wisdom-Martin during its March 7–8 meeting in Atlanta, Georgia.
The council also received updates from various ethnic minority representatives concerning increased involvement in SBC life, awareness and support of Cooperative Program giving, evangelism, church planting, and representation on SBC boards of trustees and committees. In addition, the council welcomed its newest representatives from the Young Leaders Advisory Council, who joined the larger group for the first time following presentation of its report to the EC.
Elevating the “Gospel Above All” theme for this year’s SBC annual meeting in Birmingham, Greear gave an overview of six major initiatives of his presidency:
- Re-elevating and being “a people that are known for the Gospel”;
- Reflecting “diversity in leadership” at every level of Convention life and work so that the SBC “looks more like heaven”;
- Engaging the next generation of Southern Baptists to stay connected to and involved with the Convention, not viewing them as “the church for tomorrow, but [recognizing] they are the church for today”;
- Challenging churches to renew their commitment to cooperative missions through state conventions and associations even while calling on states and associations to “look at all options with regards to how we work together”;
- Calling on every Southern Baptist church to be “personally involved in church planting” at some level; and
- “Returning to the place where evangelism is our primary goal” as Southern Baptists.”
Speaking on “What’s New at WMU,” Wisdom-Martin gave an overview of the four sides of what she called WMU’s “vision frame”: WMU’s mandate, motives, map, and measures.
“In June of last year, our board approved our mandate. It is ‘making disciples of Jesus who live on mission.’ This is what we do,” she said.
Speaking of the motives that drive the missions organization’s vision, Wisdom-Martin told the council that WMU is “biblically rooted,” “missions focused,” “church based,” “world aware,” and “denominationally supportive.”
In terms of the organization’s map and measures, Wisdom-Martin listed a variety of resources WMU makes available to churches and lifted up several relationships WMU fosters with SBC entities, state conventions, and other Southern Baptist ministry endeavors. These include collaborative work with PrayerLink, Mississippi River Ministry, Appalachian Regional Ministry, Global Hunger Relief, Baptist Global Response, Bivocational and Small Church Leaders, and the One More Child initiative with Florida Baptists.
Everything we do, she said, “is to get us to our compelling vision,” of “making disciples of Jesus who live on mission.”
Representing over ten thousand ethnic and language congregations and thirty thousand bivocational and smaller membership congregations, the CAAC helps the Executive Committee and SBC entity heads better understand each group’s unique perspectives and needs.