NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/CBSDFW) — Leaders of the nation’s largest Protestant denomination have endorsed an optional alternative name for the Southern Baptist Convention: Great Commission Baptists.

The new name comes from the evangelical call of the ‘great commission’ from the gospel of Matthew.

“Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

The measure still must go up for a vote at the annual convention this summer in New Orleans.

SBC President Bryant Wright formed a task force last fall to study the idea, saying he was concerned the name Southern Baptist was hindering the group’s ability to reach new people for Christ.

One of the idea’s most ardent opponents at that time supported the proposal at a Tuesday meeting of the SBC’s executive committee.

Darrel Orman, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Stuart, Fla., said he was relieved by the compromise that addresses the concerns of those who think “Southern Baptist” is a liability while still keeping the name.

In addition to a large number of related churches, the Southern Baptist Convention oversees two organizations in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.  Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, and Guidestone Financial Resources in Dallas.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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