Why Are We Southern Baptist?
Cornerstone is part of the Southern Baptist Convention. To some this may not mean much, so we’d like to explain our denominational affiliation. A Southern Baptist church (such as CCC) is simply a local church that has chosen to be “in friendly cooperation with the Convention and sympathetic with its purposes and work.” That language comes straight from the SBC Constitution.
Though it may be surprising, that is all that it means to be a Southern Baptist church. The SBC is simply an organization comprised of thousands of local churches who share a basic theology and choose to cooperate together for the advancement of missions and education. Therefore, the Southern Baptist Convention is a very undenominational denomination. There is no hierarchy where the convention makes binding decisions that are passed on to the local churches, but rather each local church is autonomous, governing itself, owning its own building(s), paying its own staff, and worshiping in a manner they feel in most consistent with the Bible. Should a church cease to fall within the parameters of practice acceptable for those churches belonging to the SBC the church would simply be asked to stop cooperating with the other churches which comprise the SBC.
What does the SBC do?
With over 40,000 local churches in friendly cooperation with the SBC, the Convention is able to operate the following six agencies:
International Mission Board (IMB)
The IMB oversees and enables over 5,000 missionaries who take the gospel to individuals around the world. They do this by ensuring the missionaries are equipped and provided for as they go, fulfilling the great commission. Currently the annual budget of the IMB is over $300,000,000.
North American Mission Board (NAMB)
The NAMB oversees and enables a few thousand missionaries and church planters who labor in North America to proclaim the gospel, plant churches, and equip others to obey Christ.
There are six seminaries which are operated by the SBC spread across the United States. They are: Golden Gate (San Francisco), Midwestern (Kansas City), New Orleans, Southeastern (Wake Forest), Southwestern (Dallas), and Southern (Louisville).
GuideStone Financial Resources
This agency aids ministers in Southern Baptist churches with retirement and insurance investments.
Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission
The ERLC aids in promoting Christian values in the public square as well as in day-to-day life.
The Executive Committee oversees the agencies operated by the SBC and recommends the annual budget of the SBC.
How do churches cooperate with the SBC?
Churches cooperate with the SBC in two ways. The first is by sending representatives to the annual meeting of the convention. For two days each year, each church in the convention is able to send a few representatives who vote on matters affecting the agencies operated by the SBC. The second way churches cooperate with the SBC is by sending financial resources to the convention which allow the convention to meet its annual operating budget. The budget of the SBC is known as the Cooperative Program as it reminds us that our cooperative resources can accomplish more than any church can accomplish individually.
What about Cornerstone and the SBC?
Cornerstone is in cooperation with the SBC and also cooperates with churches in the SBC on the local and state level. Our budget calls for a portion of our financial resources to be allotted to the SBC. We give this money by giving first to our state convention (the Tennessee Baptist Convention) which keeps roughly half of the money to operate those agencies within the state of Tennessee (e.g. Union University) and then sends the rest to the SBC. We also allot a portion of our resources to be sent to the local association.
We believe it is good to be a part of the SBC because we believe in the advantage of churches cooperating together. We simply can do more together than we can separately. Therefore, Cornerstone Community Church is proud to be recognized as a local church in friendly cooperation with the Southern Baptist Convention. May God use this effort of cooperation among like-minded churches to further his purposes and his kingdom.