FREE PDF DOWNLOAD OF A SAMPLE DISCIPLESHIP PLAN FROM SIMPLE DISCIPLESHIP.Click Here—> “DISCIPLESHIP PLAN“
Some articles have to be written and some things must be said. Still, I want to be gracious to the leaders of the denomination within which I have remained loyal for a lifetime, and will continue to do so. Baptist Press posted an article by Ed Stetzer, a great leader, titled FIRST-PERSON: What is trending in the SBC? Stetzer discussed the troubling statistics regarding participation in the annual meetings of the Southern Baptist Convention. The gist is that while attendance at SBC seminaries remains generationally diverse, participation in denominational life of the SBC is aging and declining.
I have touched on this subject before. Read my posts:
SEVEN REASONS WHY YOUNG CHURCH LEADERS SKIP DENOMINATIONAL PARTICIPATION
While attendance at SBC seminaries remains generationally diverse, participation in denominational life of the SBC is aging and declining.
- They are motivated more by being non-denominational or cross denominational. It is strange that while many of the younger church leaders are theologically conservative, they pride themselves in being independent-minded. They adhere to the denomination’s tenants but they are not loyal for the sake of loyalty. They often operate with the mindset that the denomination has to earn their loyalty. Being identified too closely with the denominational culture might compromise their ability to connect with their generation.
- They feel marginalized by current denominational leaders. I can understand this one, as I have served in a SBC church in Georgia, USA for almost 12 years but have never been asked to serve on a Georgia Baptist Convention board or agency of any kind. I am sure it is not because my church is small or that my church is unable to give large amounts to denominational causes.
- They feel used by the denomination. A few years ago, a church leader attended the GBC but was told he could not be registered as a messenger because his church had not given to the denomination. His church had fallen on tough economic times in recent years and was trying to recover. The denominational rules said that not even one messenger could be recognized from his church. They wanted to take credit for baptisms and money but the church had no vote. He has not attended another denominational event since. It sounds like the denomination has a rule: “You have to pay to play.”
- They would rather put limited resources in a cross denominational event such as Catalyst. In 2008, I attended a Catalyst conference at the Gwinnett Arena close to Atlanta. There were about 15,000 young church leaders attending and I was among the oldest at 53 years old. Few of them attended the SBC the same year. They chose which meeting they would attend. I attended the annual meeting of the SBC in 2006 when the leadership did some things intentionally to reach out to the younger leaders. I felt it was refreshing though I did hear some older leaders subtle criticism of the “younger pastors.” There was open criticism of younger leaders who made comments favorable to the “emergent church.” (Don’t shoot the messenger!) While I am not sympathetic to the emergent church movement, the younger leaders are not going to choose to attend an expensive meeting to hear their Facebook ministry friends criticized for their views on how to plant churches. (In this case we are not talking about substantive doctrinal issues. Rather, it was “I don’t like your non-traditional ideas.”
- They believe the denominational structure is too confining. Many see the denomination’s corporate “top down command and control” structure as outdated and unable to sustain more than the current ~16 million members. However, the younger church leaders seem to gravitate to a matrix structure instead—a structure that encourages and enhances feedback, collaboration, and the free exchange of ideas even when the ideas are non-traditional or even outside the bounds of accepted theological territory. I’m just saying! Look at it this way: A person over 50 uses a computer like it is a manual typewriter. If you press the wrong key, a mistake is recorded on the paper. Thus many people of the older generation are intimidated by new technology since they are afraid they will make a mistake or “break” the thingamajig. A person under 50 grew up with a computer and video games. They learned by pressing all the buttons to see what would happen. They know that if a mistake is made, it can be easily fixed. Their communication and interaction style is the same. It is a matrix paradigm that leaders over 50 fail to respect or understand.
- They feel the culture of the denomination stifles their ideas, innovation, and creativity. This follows number 5 as they believe the “command and control” structure of the SBC and her agencies stifle the matrix method of communication and interaction. They believe the leaders have set up a closed culture that hand picks successors rather than relying on the Holy Spirit. They see the denomination as a culture of “NO…you can’t do things that way.”
- They see through the platitudes that LifeWay is a “ministry.” This one is not just my own hot-button but I have heard many comments from leaders on both sides of the generation divide. Missionaries beg and borrow materials for Bible study because the materials from the denomination (LifeWay) are much too expensive for their struggling churches in other countries. I love LifeWay and have spent more than I should have in the stores, but make no mistake…it is a business. The managers and customer service people are dedicated and many do see their job as a ministry, but the bottom line is most important. LifeWay had the first chance at publishing my book, Simple Discipleship but passed. Church Smart Resources gladly published my book but though I am a conservative SBC pastor for 20 years, LifeWay will not sell my book. It reminds me of a line from The Godfather, “It’s not personal, it’s business.” However, it does hurt my feelings. It goes further than that as a result. Since the state conventions follow LifeWay and the SBC, the state denominational leaders recognize a limited list of discipleship leaders. I am not on the list…yet.
A person over 50 uses a computer like it is a manual typewriter. If you press the wrong key, a mistake is recorded on the paper. Thus many people of the older generation are intimidated by new technology since they are afraid they will make a mistake or “break” the thingamajig. A person under 50 grew up with a computer and video games. They learned by pressing all the buttons to see what would happen. They know that if a mistake is made, it can be easily fixed. Their communication and interaction style is the same. It is a matrix paradigm that leaders over 50 fail to respect or understand.
THE RED PILL OR THE BLUE PILL?
The younger generation readers will recognize my passing reference to the movie The Matrix in the section title. The current leadership of the denomination has a choice. They may refuse to allow the younger generation leaders, their ideas, methods, and materials to come to the forefront or they may lead the change by inviting a large number of young leaders to participate…and do things a new way. The choice is not – refuse to change or to change. The hard fact is that change will happen either peacefully or painfully. “Take the red pill and see how deep the rabbit hole goes or take the blue pill and everything will go back to the way it used to be.” I’m sorry…we’re out of blue pills.
It is my hope an prayer that this article is received graciously and thoughtfully.
Tom Cocklereece, DMin, CLBC
- Do you feel the denomination; both state and national should require churches to give in order to be represented by one messenger?
- Why do you think younger leaders do not attend or participate in denominational activities?
- Is LifeWay a ministry or a business? Should they give steep discounts to missionaries? Should they market and sell doctrinally sound non-self-published materials produced by loyal denominational leaders even if the materials are produced by publishers other than LifeWay?
- What might the denominational leaders do to encourage participation of young leaders?
Dr. Tom Cocklereece is the author of Simple Discipleship: How to Make Disciples in the 21st Century which was published and released by Church Smart Resources in November 2009. It is not a self-published book. To learn more about Simple Discipleship and to order the book, follow the link below:
Dr. Tom Cocklereece is CEO of RENOVA Coaching and Consulting, LLC
Author “Simple Discipleship,” contributing writer L2L Blogazine
He is a pastor, an author, professional coach, discipleship and leadership specialist
This post has already been read 6399 times!
We honor copyright laws on print material as well as photos. We take or make many of our own photos and buy some as well. We never use images from others that have copyright markings. We remove any material or photo that is questioned as soon as we become aware of it. If you believe we have posted copyrighted material please inform us and we will evaluate it: tom@simplediscipleship.
The Leadership Chair
Follow Simple Discipleship
THE LAWS OF DISCIPLESHIP
THE LAWS OF DISCIPLESHIP PROJECTBe a part of The Laws of Discipleship Project! Each law of discipleship reflects the light of Christ like a facet of a diamond. Tom Cocklereece is currently writing the manuscript for this upcoming discipleship resource. You are invited to participate. If you are interested, email tom@ simplediscipleship.com
Disciple-Maker’s Toolkit- Leader & Learner Editions
Free Discipleship Plan pdf
Ministry Leadership Ad
SD Online Guests
Most Read Posts
- NAME YOUR GREMLIN: Denial (37,360)
- ARE WE “SLAVES” OR “SERVANTS” OF CHRIST? A DISCUSSION ABOUT BIBLE TRANSLATION AND THE HCSB (35,773)
- Diabesity - A Reversible Epidemic: Guest Blog by Mark Hyman, MD for RENEW WELLNESS (14,157)
- 6 REASONS TO MONITOR YOUR BLOOD SUGAR: A RENEW Wellness Diabetes Testimony (7,426)
- THE RED PILL OR THE BLUE PILL? (6,399)
- GET OUT OF YOUR OWN WAY! (5,842)
- DISCIPLESHIP BEST PRACTICES: #13 – PROCESS DISCIPLESHIP (5,474)
- MAKE YOUR OWN "MINISTRY COMPETENCY WORD CLOUD" (5,033)
- EXPONENTIAL 2012: ARE YOU BEING SIFTED? (4,844)
- 11 WAYS A STAFF CHRISTIAN COACH CAN GROW YOUR CHURCH (4,830)
- VISION IS VIRAL BUT STRATEGY IS STATIC (4,531)
- SO, YOUR CHURCH IS SEARCHING FOR A PASTOR (4,239)
- DISCIPLESHIP BEST PRACTICES: 7- PROGRAM DISCIPLESHIP (4,165)
- WHY DON’T SMART PEOPLE GET JESUS? (REMIX) Guest Post by Rachael Fox (3,861)
- BASIC CHRISTIAN COMPETENCIES (3,807)
- NAME YOUR GREMLIN: Scaredy Gremlin (3,666)
- WHAT IS YOUR DEFINITION OF DISCIPLESHIP? (3,603)
- FIVE ELEMENTS OF A BOOK REVIEW (3,470)
- THE LAWS OF DISCIPLESHIP PROJECT (3,378)
- SUNDAY SCHOOL THAT REALLY RESPONDS by Steve Parr: AN UNSOLICITED REVIEW (3,354)
- EVERY CHRISTIAN A DISCIPLE-MAKER (3,302)
- WHY EVANGELISM ISN’T WORKING (3,247)
- SECRET CHURCH REFLECTIONS (3,171)
- COUNTER-CULTURAL CHRISTIANITY: THE WAY IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE (2,999)
- BREAKING THE EVANGELISM CODE by Victor H. Benavides (2,941)
- A SANCTITY OF HUMAN LIFE LESSON (2,917)
- SIMPLE DISCIPLESHIP AND SPIRITUAL GIFTS (2,852)
- THE DARK KNIGHT vs THE BRIGHT KNIGHT (2,827)
- SO, YOU ARE SEARCHING FOR A NEW CHURCH OR MINISTRY (2,726)
- A JOURNEY TO THE DARK SIDE (2,626)
- DISCIPLESHIP BEST PRACTICES: #11 – PROFICIENCY DISCIPLESHIP (2,623)
- A 10-POINT CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT PROCESS (2,602)
- GREMLINS AND GUARDIANS – STAY ON THE RIGHT PATH (2,542)
- RUB A DUB DUB, PLUNGE AND SCRUB (2,536)
- HOW TO GET RID OF YOUR GREMLINS: Blamer (2,423)
- ONLINE MASTERMIND: DISCIPLESHIP BEST PRACTICES (2,326)
- PREVENTING SEXUAL ABUSE IN THE CHURCH (2,306)
- NAME YOUR GREMLIN: PRIDE AND ARROGANCE (2,249)
- TRANSFORMATIONAL LOVE: 1 CORINTHIANS 13 (2,205)
- PREPARE FOR DEFINING MOMENTS (2,187)
- DISCIPLESHIP IS CHRISTIAN CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT (2,124)
- 30 Coaching Questions to Create your Ministry Leadership Development Plan (2,078)
- THE FIVE MISSIONAL MOVEMENTS OF THE GOSPEL OF JESUS (2,045)
- MINISTRY COMPETENCY LEADERSHIP COACHING (2,045)
- MISCONCEPTIONS OF LEADERSHIP (1,962)
- THE IMPACT OF SIMPLE DISCIPLESHIP (1,946)
- LIVING THE DREAM OF DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. (1,808)
- TRANSFORMATIONAL DISCIPLESHIP: A REVIEW (1,807)
- BORN INTO WAR: SPIRITUAL WARFARE AND DISCIPLESHIP (1,783)
- ANYONE CAN BE A SERVANT OF GOD (1,723)