Young leaders make their mark
at Greensboro convention
Among those there
Pisgah’s Doug Richey
GREENSBORO, N.C.—One aspect of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) annual meeting much discussed was the participation of younger leaders – sometimes stereotyped as “bloggers” who are rising up against the “machine” – and their apparent desire to take their place within the leadership structure of the SBC.
Doug Richey, pastor of Pisgah Baptist Church in Excelsior Springs, fits this young leader profile but rejects the idea that the SBC establishment owes him something. Richey made his debut on the platform of the annual meeting June 14 when he nominated Jim Wells, director of missions, Tri County Baptist Association, for another year of service as SBC registration secretary. Wells ran unopposed and was re-elected unanimously.
“I didn’t seek it out,” Richey explained. “I wasn’t trying to work or network anything. We got to know each other, and then I got a call. And I was honored to be a part of that process.”
Wells was Richey’s DOM for five years when Richey served as pastor of First Baptist Church, Clever. Their friendship and their working relationship over that time led to Richey serving this year on the SBC Credentials Committee, but he was stunned when Wells asked him to nominate him.
Richey tried to argue that in this year of multiple candidates for SBC offices, having a rookie like himself giving the nominating speech could very well torpedo Wells’ candidacy. Reaching out to the younger leader, Wells told him not to worry about it. That meant that Richey had to get busy in Greensboro working on his three-minute speech. He did so with efficiency and delivered it in 2:57.
“I do think that there’s a need for balance on the part of younger pastors and leaders,” Richey said. “I think we need to be patient, understanding that it’s through the course of time that our commitment of faithfulness is actually proven. Over time, you’re able to learn and gain insights and wisdom that sometimes can be assumed early on.
“I don’t think that young leaders need to force those doors of opportunity open. And I do think that those who are involved in the established leadership need to be open to including more people in the process.”
Richey took note of the fact that several of his peers in the “younger leader” category were visible during the business sessions in Greensboro.
“When you look at the mike time at the various mikes, there was definitely a strong presence of younger leaders,” Richey said. “It was good to see.”