Post-Celebration Recommendations and Suggestions

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Over the ensuing weeks following the Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant, hundreds of suggestions and ideas for future action have been generated through feedback from participants. Additional ideas and suggestions were generated during the March 12 follow-up meeting of more than 70 Baptist leaders at the Carter Center.

A sampling of that feedback has been organized into broad categories and is presented here for consideration by individuals, churches and Baptist organizations that have participated in the New Baptist Covenant.



1.  Evangelism
The preeminent commitment of the New Baptist Covenant should always bewinning souls to Christ – by word and example – locally and globally.This evangelistic effort should be persistent and well coordinated.
 
Be especially generous, individually and as congregations, in enhancingand supporting the ongoing mission work of Cooperative BaptistFellowship, African-American conventions, & other Baptist groups.

Seek domestic and foreign mission projects suitable for individuals,such as providing health and dental care, immunizing the poor, buildingchurches, and giving requested aid to missionary families.

2. Criminal justice
Enhance prisoner rehabilitation and work to reduce America’sextraordinary prison population – mostly poor, mentally ill, andminorities.
 
Individuals and local congregations make regular visits to localprisons. Work with probationers and newly released prisoners, get toknow their families, help with employment.

For some: oppose the death penalty, based on alternative sentences oflife without parole and restitution. For others: help guarantee that nomore innocent people are executed.

3. Poverty
Promote/support Baptist World Aid, CARE, and other groups that alleviate suffering from poverty.

Promote tax policies that help the poor and working class, and supporta minimum wage level so that the salary of one fulltime worker raisesthe family above the poverty level.

Personally and as a congregation, visit neighborhood persons who arehomeless, ill, or extremely poor. Every church should have a fund andan organized schedule for this purpose.

Each person volunteer one week per year to Habitat for Humanity or other similar organization that serves the poor.

Join together to clean up neighborhoods, work at shelters, repair homes, clear vacant lots for garden plots, etc.

4. Other faiths
Support international efforts for reconciliation among Christians and other major religions.

Locally, reach out to nearby congregations of different ethniccharacter. Cooperate as “sister churches” with joint worship services,exchanging pastors, combining choirs, etc.

5. Youth
Encourage formation of New Baptist Covenant organizations among youngpeople, within churches and in nearby colleges and seminaries.

Encourage young Christians to participate in making church decisions.

6. Peacemaking

Study and follow Biblical principles of resolving disputes among local people.

7. Discrimination
Promote compliance with the Universal Declaration of human rights andprovisions of the Geneva Convention. Condemn torture & supportclosing of Guantanamo prison. Combat all forms of human slavery.Publicly support oppressed people, i.e., Darfur, Burma, Palestine.

Protect and minister to the “strangers among you,” especially illegal& legal immigrants, both in local communities and in public policy.

Espouse full equality for women, who suffer almost universal discrimination, often supported by religious organizations.

Protect civil rights of gays and lesbians.

Break down barriers of race in all walks of life. Personally and ascongregations, find ways to reach out to other ethnic groups.

8. Faith, Public policy
Work toward eliminating abortions; nurture pregnant mothers and babies.

Condemn filth and racism in public media.

9. Religious liberty, Church and state

Restore and strengthen the wall between church and state.

Support the work of the Baptist Joint Committee in promoting religious liberty.

Report all cases of abused Christians in other nations, and help protect them.

10. Environment, Global warming
Protect the environment, & support Al Gore’s climate changecrusade, joining the New Baptist Covenant’s public endorsement of theKyoto or Bali treaties and encouragement of the U.S. government toapprove.
 
In homes and churches, take steps to save energy, shift to renewablesources, use recycle bins, and promote environmental quality. Churchesbecome partners with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy StarProgram.

11. Suggestions for Enhancing New Baptist Covenant effectiveness

Refrain from forming an official organization or convention. Neverderogate other Christians, and continue reaching out to all otherBaptists in a spirit of unity and love.

Widely publicize our statement of purpose, general goals, and specificcommitments adopted at 3/12 meeting, and subsequently issue regularreports of progress. Continue seeking new ideas.

Utilize existing periodicals to promote our information and ideas,(such as Mainstream Baptists, Baptist World Alliance, the NorthAmerican Baptist Fellowship, the Baptist Joint Committee on ReligiousLiberty, Baptists Today, the Ministers & Missionaries BenefitBoard, Baptist publishing houses and historical societies, Baptistcolleges and seminaries, and Associated Baptist Press.)

Maintain a high quality and current Website and encourage Internet communication among our supporters.

Encourage local and regional NBC meetings.

Provide a list of churches that include supporters of the New Baptist Covenant.

Utilize specialists at seminaries to guide individual programs/projects adopted by NBC.