A new set of five proposed strategic actions to unite the denomination around the Great Commission will greet Southern Baptists convening at the 2021 SBC annual meeting.
“This is our opportunity for our generation of Baptists to stand tall together with a passionate vision, and it begins now,” Ronnie Floyd said of the Vision 2025 plan he will present in Nashville. Floyd is president of the SBC Executive Committee. He outlined the five strategic actions in a February commentary for Baptist Press. They include new goals in church planting, evangelism, and cooperative giving, to be accomplished by the end of 2025.
Strategic Action #1: Increase full-time, fully funded missionaries by a net gain of 500, giving the SBC 4,200 full-time, fully funded missionaries through the International Mission Board.
Strategic Action #2: Add 5,000 new SBC congregations to the Southern Baptist family, giving the SBC more than 50,000 congregations. An increase of 5,000 churches would require 1,250 annually, Floyd said, or 600 new church plants, 200 replants, 100 new campuses, and 350 new church affilliations each year.
Strategic Action #3: Increase the total number of workers in the field through a new emphasis on “calling out the called” and then preparing those who are called out by the Lord. “I believe that pastors and churches of all sizes, universities, seminaries, conferences, and conventions should regularly call out the called to go to the nations in gospel ministry” Floyd said. “Then, we prepare and equip them for the call God has placed on their lives.
Strategic Action #4: Turn around the ongoing decline in reaching, baptizing, and discipling 12- to 17-year-olds. The SBC is baptizing 38% fewer teenagers than in the year 2000, Floyd noted. In partnership with Vision 2025 efforts, he said, the North American Mission Board will invest an additional $5 million to support student evangelism efforts across the continent. A portion of the funds will be sent to state conventions to use in more localized student evangelism events, strategies, and resources.
Strategic Action #5: Increase giving through the Cooperative Program and surpass 500 million in annual giving. Noting the challenges of the last year, Floyd said the goal is to increase giving in successive years and “establish a new path of growth” for the Cooperative Program.
“In order for us to accomplish this grand task, we must have all hands on deck,” Floyd said, calling on churches of all sizes, local associations, state conventions, and Baptist entities. “Vision 2025 is for everyone.”