Greensboro quilt may look beautiful in time
The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) annual meeting in Greensboro, N.C., was like a mosaic or a quilt in that the many colored tiles or squares that popped out of the meetings were both dazzling and puzzling. What does the future hold? Well, as my pastor likes to say, it’s too soon to tell.
What is the lesson of “anti-machine” forces electing a different type of president? Is there a new coalition of influencers? How should we handle the promotion of the Cooperative Program? Have younger leaders arrived?
Trying to get a grip on what happened, I re-read a document from my files titled “Things I’ve Learned about Younger Leaders,” by Jimmy Draper. I read through the 28 points and felt much better about what I had just seen and heard in Greensboro. I then told my wife, Susan, to read it, and she agreed that the points taken as a whole seem to be an excellent way to process the reforms that are rippling through the denomination.
Here are some of the points from that document that have blessed me:
18. Current SBC leaders are often seen as arrogant, lacking in humility, “my way or the highway.”
24. They wonder why the larger churches give less to CP than smaller churches. “Why should we support the CP aggressively if larger churches don’t?”
28. There is hope for the future because they have the energy, passion, creativity to address our culture. If we don’t find a way to show them we want them, they will simply disappear and walk away.
I do believe the younger leaders are starting to feel wanted. Here are three reform statements from the Draper document that give me hope:
9. They desire mentoring (relationships) or coaching. They want to create an intentional plan for this.
11. They are calling for re-evaluation of strategies and vision of the SBC. Review current methods to see if greater effectiveness can be gained. Cast a vision for the SBC that is less vertical and more horizontal, less hierarchical and more linear.
16. They suggest the creating of think tanks across the SBC (regional) and include younger leaders as well as older leaders and current SBC leaders. Do this for designing a way to connect “old world” wisdom with “new world” passion.
Let’s give some of these squares time to be sewn together. We might be surprised by the brilliancy and the beauty of the final product.