Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Sad Day for Denominations...

internetmonk.com has just posted an assessment of the Southern Baptist Convention's current situation regarding youth, evangelism, missions etc. Based on what he writes here It seems that this is a very sad day for denominations. If the Southern Baptist are sliding into Oblivion what does this mean for other denominations that pattern themselves after and gain much from the SBC?

Many people from my denomination (Free Will Baptist) would say that we do not pattern ourselves the SBC, but the fact is there is a lot of copy cat going on (not that it is all bad by any means, I think it is great that we learn from one another). In fact one could say that we are the red headed step brother of the SBC that is always a day late and a dollar short. I am sure the same could be said of many other small Baptist denominations within America. The question is now, where do we go for leadership, where do we go for ideas? (In the article refrenced earlier, Michael Spencer points to the large non denominational churches as the ones who will give this leadership.)
The real question to be answered is if the SBC starts a decline (this actually may have already started) are Free Will Baptist and other denominations strong and independent enough to do it on our own. Will Free Will Baptist step up to the plate keeping a strong community, that is committed to the Kingdom, or will Free Will Baptist follow the SBC in decline. I pray that God is not done with Free Will Baptist!


Jacob said...

Yeah I read that post too. And yes, we are the red-headed step child, or whatever you called us.

We use what the SBC does to justify our decisions. "If the big bad SBC does it, then that means we can too!"

However, I have seen a small amount of fwb churches doing their own thing and basing them off of what larger non-denom churches are doing. The leading churches in our denomination are not getting their ideas from our colleges, publishing house, missions agencies, boards, or executive office. The denomination is not leading the larger, progressive churches. We're leading the smaller, traditional churches. In reality, the smaller churches look at the larger progressives and mimic them. So the denominational leadership is in competition with those large non-denom churches in a struggle for leadership. Older, more traditional pastors who are faithful to FWBs will take cues from "Nashville," or denominational leadership. While younger pastors will take their cues elsewhere.

It'll be interesting to see what this results in. I wouldn't be surprised to see a decline in attendance at the National Convention as the older generation dies, and maybe even churches going non-denom but holding to the reformed (classical) arminian theology.

If the denominational leaders recognize this, and appoint new, young leadership who are more progressive in methods, then those churches who are getting their cues from coolchurch.tv might return to denominational loyalty. We need the vigor, passion, and ingenuity that comes from youth in leadership positions.

Until that happens, and the big wigs start listening to the ideas of the youth, churches will continue to take their cues from elsewhere.

Of course this is solely my opinion and may or may not represent the views of any denominational agency of FWBs.

Patrick V. McDaniel said...

I totally agree with you about this. Whenever I begin looking for solutions in my ministry, I do not look to the NAFWB for answers first. This is a problem that needs to be addressed, or there will be some kind of decline happen amond the NAFWB at a national level.

I do not want to see the response of the NAFWB be to "batton down the hatches" or question loyalty, but to rather get with it, and start providing leadership to our churches that will effect their ministy on a day to day basis.