Thursday, September 08, 2005

Young Leaders Summit - Indiana

Last week I attended one of the young leaders meetings that Dr. Jimmy Draper is conducting all over the country. The purpose of these meetings are to dialogue about issues young leaders are facing in the wake of an ever aging convention. I was glad to be able to attend this meeting and to report on it. Below I have listed some of the major questions asked by different people (names not recorded) and a summary of Dr. Draper's answer and the subsequent discussion. (These are not exact quotes; all the following text is from notes and my memory)

Question 1: Dr. Draper was asked to give a summary of the problem as he sees it.
Answer: JD - As we see the convention age we realize that younger leaders are not becoming a part of the convention. The purpose of these meetings is to discover what is important to the younger leaders and how the SBC can meet needs and incorporate younger leaders.
Discussion: Two main questions were asked by others, “Are we stuck in the past?" and "I really didn't get anything out of the convention this year, why should I continue to go?"
Answer: JD -We need to re-focus the convention. The convention meeting itself is a business meeting and not intended to be inspirational. That is the job of the Pastor's Conference. This year the president of the pastor's conference sent out a survey to all young leaders on the email list to try and incorporate more of your ideas.

Question 2: Why can't the convention be more training and less business?
Answer: JD - LifeWay did do some training on Wednesday and Thursday, but no one stayed around to take advantage of it. They are planning to do more training, possibly rearranging the schedule of the convention to allow for more training during the first part of the week.

Question 3: Why was the vote to study a name change in Indianapolis not passed?
Answer: JD - I don't know, I am always in favor of a study? A study can never hurt.

Question 4: How can we connect with older leaders like you?
Answer: JD - Well the older leaders must be willing to build the relationship. The future of the SBC lies in relationship. We must continue to build them, network. Young with young, young with old, old with old, etc.

Question 5: The convention meeting did not feel young. Someone said they attended an Ed Young, Jr. conference and it felt young.
Answer: JD - We have to try and meet everyone's needs both young and old. It all starts with the associations, young leaders need to get involved at the association and state level first. Then as they move up they can help shape the national convention. Their must be a better connection between the association and the church led by younger leaders.
Discussion: Someone felt that the speakers at the convention and especially the pastor's conference were very negative.
Answer: JD - He commented that some of the older pastors are looking for the next big battle. That is were the younger generation can help in bringing balance to protecting our theology, but being willing to change our methodology. Dr. Draper commented that sometimes he is tired of hearing always from his friends (older pastors); he would like to hear from younger leaders sometime. That is why the president of the pastor's conference sent out the survey to get some names of good speakers that may not be heard from often.

Question 6: Someone asks, "I want to get involved and serve, but don't know how to get going. What can I do to get involved?"
Answer: JD - “Get involved in your local association” Basically he told us to work where we are at and help make a difference locally first.

Question 7: Why are only big name guys (big churches) in positions of power? (Pastor’s conference president, vice-president, etc.)
Answer: JD – They are able to handle the expense. Over the past few years the president’s church has had to absorb some of the cost. A smaller church would not be able to handle these expenses. Also they are known and people tend to gravitate to people they know. They have exposure.
Discussion: Who are some of the upcoming leaders that are younger?
Answer: JD – Brian Wright, Keith Moore, Jimmy Scroggins, Steve Gaines. There are many guys that are working behind the scenes that are godly men that will be the next generation of SBC leaders.

Dr. Draper’s concluding thoughts: We must continue to communicate old and young. Dialogue is key to the future of the SBC

My Thoughts: I was not so impressed with our discussion; we basically asked questions about the logistics of the conference. I personally was more interested in discussing how we can get involved and serve the convention. I am tried of this “what can you do for me” attitude. Would I like more worship at the convention and younger speakers? Of course, but the fact is that many people in the convention are over 40 (or at least the people that attend the convention). Instead of complaining about what we want, lets work together, learn from the older leaders, and work locally first. Dr. Draper started his involvement in his local association. Even if you in a lame association, we must get involved. Let’s not ask what they can do for us, but how can we serve.

Check out the Younger Leader's Website.

1 comment:

SMITTY said...

Did you know the SBC was founded primarily because of their desire for slavery? They formally recanted in 1995.