Younger Leader's Summit was this afternoon. This post is longer than most (I have 7 pages of notes). But I feel it's necessary to communicate what happened. The audio should be online tomorrow and I will link to that when it's up. Also check out Joe and Marty for their take on today's meeting.
Jimmy Draper realizes the SBC needs revolution. Not minor changes. Not mere stylistic acceptance of younger leaders in younger churches with candles and goatees. He sees it's much bigger. He said the conservative resurgence was good and necessary, but today he called for a revolution. New changes need to happen. Does Draper fully get what that means? I don't think so. But he's understood all he needed to so that younger leaders would have a voice now.
The meeting began with some worship music by Russ Lee. Great stuff. Draper told us that Lifeway now has three trustees 30 years old or younger and that 33% of Lifeway employees are under 40. Obviously he wanted to show the hard work they are doing to get younger generations involved and making decisions and influencing directions.
O.S. Hawkins, president of Guidestone, popped in for a quick selling point...er...encouraging anecdote. Kidding! C'mon, that was funny. Then Robbie Partain, of SBCT, spoke. He was okay. Basically he said that younger leaders are about missions. Our "it" isn't doctrinal changes or loyalty issues or wanting positions in the SBC. "It" is Acts 1:8 missions. We want to penetrate lostness through transformational, missional ministry.
Bob Reccord, president of NAMB, decided to hop on stage. He said he wanted to "add value" to us. I hope he means he wants to show our true value, not add value. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. He pointed to changes at NAMB in the areas of mission strategy and evangelism focus. He expressed his desire to downplay programs and emphasize relational evangelism. Definitely something I've been desiring to see in NAMB's focus.
Adam Greenway of The Church at Andover in Lexington, KY spoke about biblical diversity and inclusiveness. He didn't really say anything. He kind of pointed to biblical basis for diversity (which we already get), but didn't really go anywhere. He said we need to "pay the price" and "commit to being involved." Nothing really practical or visionary here.
Kevin Shrum, pastor of Inglewood Baptist Nashville, talked about healthy relationships. He said in a somewhat helpful way that younger leaders need to "quit complaining." That we want to be the kite but not hold the string. Uh, not really impressed with this idea. I agree that we get nowhere with complaining without vision and movement, but the string is not the SBC. The string is Christ (or the gospel or whatever). But the problem is the SBC is actually the tall building blocking the wind and keeping the string limp. The speakers in general realized this problem, and I'll bet Kevin does too.
Chris Seay of Ecclesia Houston talked about creative, innovative approaches. Great talk. Make sure you listen closely to this one when the audio comes out. Chris said that we (SBC) are known as people of dogma, not beauty. We have lost our sense of beauty in truth by making it merely propositions. We were also able to hang out with Chris afterwards for a bit, and he really has a good grip on the problems at hand and the need for incarnational ministry.
Ed Stetzer of NAMB talked about convention renewal. He had the place rolling, and is a very compelling speaker. Ed really laid out the practicals that drove home what Seay was saying. Great stuff and a must listen. He mentioned the need for us not to talk with "smarmy comments" about each others churches, but that we should be missionaries (missional) in our cultural contexts. He really drove that point home, the need to be biblically faithful and missional. We've had a conservative resurgence and now we need a missional one.
Jeff Harris of Grace Point Church in San Antonio closed the meeting with a passionate plea that instead of having a convention that is known for what we don't do, that we should be able to say what we are about. What is the SBC known for? He also said that he's afraid someone will stand up at the convention and say something that will marginalize them even more. Very missional/incarnational stuff from Jeff. He then said two practical things: 1. The 2 year part-time president in the SBC is a stupid idea. We need a visionary leader. 2. We need the SBC to reorganize behind visionary leadership.
FYI: I'm not blogging tonight at the pastor's conference and neither is Joe. I'm not sure what I will be attending tomorrow, but I do know that I hope to meet with Chris Seay and Darrin Patrick. I hope that works out.