Southern Baptist evangelism plan facing setbacks

For the Southern Baptist Convention, 2008 was filled with bad news.
Baptisms reached a 20-year low. Church membership dropped, prompting fears the Nashville-based Baptist body was on a downward slide. And its outgoing president warned that within 20 years, more than half of Southern Baptist churches could die off.

In response, the Baptists announced a new national evangelism strategy called “God’s Plan for Sharing.” Nicknamed “GPS,” the new strategy would spread the Gospel throughout the U.S. and Canada by 2020, said Geoff Hammond, president of the North American Mission Board.

“Just imagine if every believer in North America started sharing the Gospel and every person heard that Gospel by the year 2020,” Hammond said at the convention’s annual meeting.

But critics within the denomination say the new initiative is in danger of failing. Some blame a lack of funding. Others wonder if the mission board leadership is up to the task.

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