"...When He [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." Matt 9:36

"Do not rob the poor, because he is poor... for the Lord will take up their case and plunder those who plunder them." Proverbs 22:22-23

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Southern Baptist Name Change: It is About Helping to Gain Access to the "Pockets and Portfolios" of Northerners

Bryant Wright, the Southern Baptist Convention prez, has authorized another study to be done about changing the name of the Southern Baptist Convention. Read this article from Fox News about the change, with quotes from various Southern Baptists.

Why the name change?

The Southern Baptists are trying to extend their brand into the north and northeast, plain and simple. SBC mega pastors like Wright and others who regularly employ the services of church marketing consultants to grab market share in the south, would naturally view a move into the north as one of marketing strategy.

Expanding beyond the southeast and into the rest of the U.S. is part of their "Great Commission Resurgence" (GCR) strategy, but they have an image problem: "Baptist" doesn't sell all that well in the north, and "Southern" definitely doesn't sell. Might as well let the Yankee Baptist Convention try to make inroads in Georgia.

And why do they want to move to the Northeast and get more churches started? I know, they want people to pray a prayer and "accept Jesus". But in this day of churches paying marketing consultants and generosity consultants to attract people and to get them to let loose of more of their money - this is all about coming up with ways to gain access to a mostly untapped market of tithers. The SBC's seminaries are cranking out more and more professional ministers, and they need to grow their market as the south becomes more saturated. The SBC can't wait to get people up north to give money to churches so they can build buildings and hire full-time professional ministers.

And of course these mega church pastors down south need some churches up north to expand their preaching circuit, especially during those hot summer months. Imagine, a brand new market that hasn't heard all of their recycled preaching-circuit sermons!

I would remind you what Ronnie "Max Headroom" Floyd, mega church pastor and the head man of the GCR said in February 2010 in one of his GCR video taped presentations (this is the actual slide):

Yes, Yankees, you have money right now in your pockets and in your financial portfolios that the heavies in the SBC have their eyes on. Us church members down south are stingier than ever, still giving less than 3% of our income. They need you and your money now to advance the gospel (i.e. build church buildings and hire ministers), and they might change their name so you don't know who they really are.

The fundamental problem with their approach is that a brand name cannot mask the cold-hard facts of what the brand IS.

Maurilio Amorim has written a piece on this issue from a branding perspective, since he is a church marketer who makes a good living applying Marketing 101 principles to churches. Maurilio's number one point: "A new name doesn't mean you have a new brand." In fact, changing the name without making fundamental changes to the product can be seen as "bait and switch". People in our country already know what the SBC is, and to change the name to help them move north is nothing short of being deceptive, trying to mask who and what they are. Whatever the new name is, for the next generation the new abbreviation will be followed with "formerly the SBC."

Let's face it: "Southern Baptist" is a powerful brand name in western religion. They ARE southern. They espouse "southern" traditions: they interpret the Bible very strictly, they require strict adherence to secondary doctrinal matters, women have a very limited role in leadership, they pick and choose Old Testament doctrines to apply legalistically to church members and drinking any alcohol is considered a terrible sin.

And the SBC is and always will be known as the convention that uses "church autonomy" as an excuse to not hold their participating churches accountable for harboring and then allowing pedophiles to move on undetected. They are the convention that takes swift action to dis-fellowship churches who hire women pastors, yet takes no action to do the same with those that protect pedophiles.

It is this, it is what they ARE, that will be offensive to northerners, not the name.

And wait till Joe and Jill Yankee hear the first sermon on storehouse tithing, when they find out there was a minor detail left out of the gospel presentation: that once they are saved God requires them to give 10% on the gross to their "storehouse" to receive God's blessings and to redeem their income. Calling people up north who pay enormous income taxes to all levels of government "selfish" or "stingy" or "driving stolen cars" or "God collects" won't go over too well. People outside the Bible belt haven't been raised to believe the nonsense that Old Testament verses meant for the care of Israel apply also to their paycheck - they'll see right through that trick.

Maurilio says that a brand name should align with the "brand promise". I like Ergun Caner's idea for a new name for the SBC. Ergun tweeted today:
My SBC Name Change: "Fundamental Anabaptist Conservative Local Church Immersion Revivalistic Tithing Convention"
Amen. Now that would be aligning the SBC brand name with the brand promise!

28 comments:

PreacherBill said...

Leave it to Ergun Caner to make the Convention's new name something that doesn't reflect what it is. He has a long history of 'inflating' the facts.

Anonymous said...

Modern church planting in New England started well before the GCR, and has been fruitful. Church planters I've met in Boston and the area around it are there to start new churches no matter what, though they are supported to some extent by Baptist conventions. They are demonstrating that residents in New England are searching spiritually; biblical answers provided in relevant ways are welcomed.

Anonymous said...

The North is moving to Texas and the South in big numbers.

Anonymous said...

I don't see the younger, intelligent, well educated families who havent been exposed to the bible belt mentality of man centered worship & belittling of women putting up with the type of teaching coming from the the SBC. No matter what they call themselves to get in the back door. The Philadelphia area is thriving with young church planters. No room for that garbage thats ruining churches & ministers in the South...IMO

Jesse said...

Call it the Progressive monetary baptist convention,,,no but honestly, I with what your saying. Having been in the system for years, the legalism to second hand doctrine really becomes a stumbling block just like works were to the Jew.

Richard said...

Wouldn't some of the negative connotations come from the history that the southern baptists have, as far as civil rights and slavery were concerned?

Anonymous said...

The SBC have been in Canada since 1953.

The Canadian Southern Baptist Conference was formed in 1963.
1985 the name was changed to Canadian Convention of Southern Baptists.

In 2008 the name as changed again to Canadian National Baptist Convention.

In 1987 Canadian Southern Baptist Seminary & College opened. They haven’t changed their name.
11 Seminary and profs, 8 from the US. I wonder how they like winter?:^)

Bene D

Anonymous said...

WD, I appreciate, and most time agree with your opinion. On this one I have a different opinion. I think the name change is so that the SBC can simply plant churches and better take the gospel to areas that do not have a strong church presence. Does it expand the SBC? Yes, but, is that a bad thing? I mean we go around the world planting churches, why not try to plant churches north into our own country? If the name Southern has the possibility of limiting church planting then I cannot see the big deal in a name change.
Plus I do not think all SBC preachers, preach the whole "curse to those who fail to tithe" philosophy that some of our middle aged, mega guys teach. I could be wrong on this and I have zero facts as to how many teach this to their congregations. The young guys I see coming out of seminary would agree with you on that issue and reject the mega boys and their manipulative preaching. But of course I am limited on what I see out there. I could be way off and this is simply opinion on my part.

Anonymous said...

Do you think it might actually be so they can reach more people for Christ?

Its not always about the mega church pastors and their deluded views of themselves and Scripture.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon - I understand your view, but let me explain further:

The average church planter, or even the average pastor in the SBC right now doesn't care about a name change. The convention was not concerned about a name change at the last convention or two, as the messengers didn't authorize this study to be done! This study and task force was appointed by mega church pastor Bryant Wright, which he really doesn't have the authority to do. The convention should be authorizing such a study, and voting on the people to conduct the study.

Who would think of changing the SBC name? Someone who believes in "branding" to achieve market share. Many mega church pastors utilize consultants to determine how to advertise, how to market to gain market share, so naturally they are listening to marketers who tell them: your brand name carries a negative connotation to people in the north.

Indeed, as reported by Christianity Today yesterday, marketing research shows a church affiliation with "Southern Baptist Convention" would weigh negatively in the decision making process for at least 40% of young adults!

So what do marketers do about this? They want to re-brand. Change the name to something that is less descriptive of what the SBC actually is. They are not thinking of how to actually make changes to affect how they are viewed. Why would they, as their beliefs and practices are religious. Their views of women, and the Bible, and alcohol, and tithing - and how they deal with pedophile "men of God" - are all rooted in scripture and they are not about to change them. In fact many churches in the south that DO try to go a different route on a secondary issue like women pastors get the boot!

So instead they (the SBC leaders) are thinking "name change"...we can make greater in-roads by not letting people know that those funding the new church are connected with the fuddy-duddy "Southern Baptists".

They should be proud of who they are, what their name represents, and let Sovereign God work the miracle of building a church plant, and not rely on name changes to mask who they really are, to gain more market share.

If they're going to go that route, some other changes they could make in the north:

- have their pastors wear clerical collars.

- drop the title "pastor" and go with "Father" or "Friar" or "Bishop"

- conduct Lord's services by having people come forward and having "Father Smith" administer the sacraments.

Just some ideas off the top of my head, only partially tongue-in-cheek.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon 7:57 - how on earth does a "name change" reach more people for Christ? I thought God was Sovereign and calls those who would be saved? How does changing a denominational name save souls??

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Interesting blog article on the SBC name change from a rebel pastor.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Off Topic:

Mac and Ergun tweeting in unison this morning. Men infatuated with the belief that they have "stalkers" and "incessant critics" that have to be blocked.

macbrunson: RT @erguncaner: GuardUrHeart: Block stalkers, trolls & incessant critics. Remember, Jesus never subscribed to the Pharisees' Podcast!

And by the way, it is amazing that Ergun Caner is STILL up to his old tricks. He preached an hour long sermon at Canyon Creek Baptist Church in Texas the weekend before he went to camp with the FBC Jax youth. 75% of the sermon was about him again, and his family. Carefully crafted message and intro by the pastor to make the peeps think Caner was something he was not. Told the same silly stories, and again made fun of ugly women in the church by making the dogs barking. It is truly remarkable that pastors in the SBC continue to expose their congregations to this guy, or even their youth as FBC Jax did last month. UNBELIEVABLE. Post coming up soon on the Caner sermon from Canyon Creek.

Howell Scott said...

I never thought of myself as a rebel, but I will take that as a compliment. I've enjoyed reading your blog posts and appreciate your willingness to speak and not be silent. For far too long, the people in the pews and many pastors have remained silent in the face of spiritual abuse and abuse of power of the privileged few elites who do not think that the rules apply to them.

Going against the establishment, as you well know, is not easy. But, from a moral standpoint, silence can no longer be an option, particularly when the abuses have become so brazen and common-place. Thanks for the link. God bless,

Howell

Anonymous said...

They may want to change the name so they can reach churches and people who are offended by the term "Southern". I doubt seriously if it has anything to do with the mega-church pastors.

Also hate to disappoint you but Canyon Creek Baptist Church is not a Southern Baptist Church so you can't blame that one on Southern Baptists.

Anonymous said...

Being from the North "Southern Baptist" did not have a good reputation - they are going to have to wait out a generation or two before removing the stinch they have in the North. All this boils down to is the need to get more operating monies - nailed it with the comment "It is about helping to Gain Acess to the "Pockets & Portfolios" of Northerners;

Northerners are smarter than Southerners - they won't buy into it!

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Hello Howell, yes I meant the term "rebel" as a compliment.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon 10:42 - wow, you are right, they are not SBC. Affiliated with the "Baptist Bible Fellowship International". Perhaps they had not yet been exposed to the "Caner Mystique" at Canyon, or they have been drinking too much Kool Aid of late. But Caner reverted back to his decade-long, old tired story about he and his family in that message. To hear him make fun of ugly women in the church by barking like a dog is unbelievable.

Anonymous said...

A proud northern type saith:

Northerners are smarter than Southerners - they won't buy into it!

Yep, that's why we like you yankees so much, your compassion sets me aglow.

Would you like some grits with that acrid statement?

Sharon said...

As a Southerner married to a Yankee-a few observations:
1. He IS smarter than me.
2. I'm much friendlier, but friendliness is suspect in the north.
3. He got a better education than me.
4. He has a 4-year degree. I don't.
5. Yankees are frugal people. Good luck getting ahold of their money!

The charm of the South is their friendliness and generosity. But I'm saying that as a Southerner. Yankees don't perceive things the same way.

Yankees value education. I think SOME Southerners take pride in their lack of education. I simply can't picture many of the Southern preachers I've heard going over well in the North. It's a different culture.

The stereotypes of Southerners is not always in accord with reality, as we Southerners all know.

I hate to be so cynical, but it has to be about money. If there is such a thing as the Holy Spirit, why does he need so much help? This simply speaks to the reality that marketing is required, because there is no such thing as the Holy Spirit. Otherwise, couldn't the SBC just all get down on their knees and pray to God for him to convict all those Yankees of their sins? It makes NO sense!

Anonymous said...

We need to drop Baptist from our name.

We need to drop Convention from our name.

My best shot at a new name..

C-Christian
O-occuping
O-Our world
K-Kingdom Minded
S-Spreading Salvation

We are:
C
O
O
K
S

Todd

Anonymous said...

Forget the name change for a moment. The fact that Bryant Wright called a taskforce on this is very significant.

It was an authoritarian end run around the messengers who voted this issue down already within the last 6 or so years.

He is setting a precedent and right after the GCR task force sealed their records for 15 years after promising transparency.

Most SBC presidents have had the integrity to listen to the messengers and let them decide on whether to "study" something for a full vote. Wright just does an end run around the messengers saying it is a volunteer task force. If you notice, TWO employees of the SBC are on it. And the pastors churches will be paying the travel and lodging. Who will pay Al and Kevin's?

This is simply where the SBC is headed. The elite will do what they want to do. IT is not about the name change. It is about HOW they are going about it.

Our polity has always been about the messengers and democracy. We are allowing them to ignore our traditional focus on the priesthood for a caste system of special people who will do what they want no matter what the messengers want.

Lydia

Anonymous said...

Name change won't be significant, because what's underneath it has become irrelevant.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 2:16

No one outside the church knows what "kingdom minded" means.

Come to think of it, no one inside the church really does either.

It's become another catch phrase. Like "let's greet each other in the name of the Lord."

Joshua said...

If the reason for the name change is for the representation of the fact that they are in most of the US states and Canada, then they should make a name like the "North American Baptist Convention"* or the "Baptist Convention of the US and Canada"*. However, the convention meeting should have started this process.

*I have suggested those names on their official submission form on pray4sbc.com

Anonymous said...

U N F O R T U N A T E LY

The point is, the name change is just one of the, here to for, mentioned points of changes in the PURPOSE DRIVEN Movement.

Take another look at the Watchdog article March 7, 2011.

Do a study on Rick Warren and name change, transitioning, Purpose Driven Church.

Churches today are filled with this garbage.

Anonymous said...

Southern baptists roots are in their theology for slavery and that is why we created ourselves many years ago. Of course, we finally "apologised" for it in the 90s (1990s) yet still remain the denomination with the highest rate of racism. Not to mention our legalism and judgemental spirit as an organization (I realize that within the SBC there are good people - but our syntality speaks for itself).

A name change might be good. I mean, how many SBC churches today refuse to even put the name "baptist" on their signs.

Apparently, there is an strong element of shame with being baptist, and in particular, southern baptist.

Thy Peace said...

Could it be due to this? : NYT > Slump Alters Jobless Map in U.S., With South Hit Hard