"I feel very thankful there was such a positive spirit in receiving this recommendation," said SBC President Bryant Wright in an interview after the committee's decision. "It's just another way that we can be more effective in carrying the good news of Jesus Christ to North America and the world."
Wright's task force determined that the legal costs and logistical wrangling that would be necessary to change signs and stationery and deal with trusts and wills made a change unworkable. Plus, Wright noted, the voluntary nature of Southern Baptists means that even if a name change had been approved, "they don't have to follow it."
The optional use of "Great Commission Baptists" provides an answer to those troubled by the "Southern" in the denomination's official name, as well as its link to the SBC's Civil War-era defense of slavery.
The unofficial title refers to Jesus' command that his followers spread his message worldwide. "It gives a freedom to a church planter in Boston," Wright said. "If he prefers to just go by 'Great Commission Baptist,' we are giving him that freedom to do that."