Five More Observations about Younger Southern Baptists: A Response to Trevin Wax

by Dave Miller on May 9, 2014 · 47 comments

Trevin Wax wrote an article the other day called, “Five Observations about Younger Southern Baptists.” It was an excellent article examining the tendencies of Southern Baptists who are younger than me – pretty much everyone these days. If you haven’t read the post, please do. Great insights.

However, I was thinking of some other observations I’ve made about younger Southern Baptists that go beyond what Trevin enumerated. Trevin is a nice guy and his observations were mostly positive. But I’ve got a few more observations I’d like to share, not being the kind of nice person like Mr. Wax!

1) Younger Southern Baptists mask their insecurities with facial hair. 

C’mon, you hippies. Don’t try to affect a fake masculinity with facial hair. There are a few good beards out there, but mostly you guys need to get a pair of scissors, lop that nasty stuff off, then get a clean, close shave.

All this “real men wear beards” stuff is ridiculous. Real men are secure in their masculinity without needing a security blanket on their faces. Of course, there are bad examples out there, like Ed Stetzer, with his “mother of all goatees.” But you can appreciate his research without imitating his ridiculous facial hair choices.

2) Younger Southern Baptists dress silly.  

Can I share something with you guys? There are fashion choices beyond just an old pair of jeans and an untucked plaid shirt. I realize that the “Bart Barber Coat and Tie” brigade is still out there, and I’m not expecting everyone to hang a noose around their necks and sweat in a suitcoat every day. But guys, variety does not mean owning 12 plaid shirts in different colors.

And, honestly, guys, just get a real haircut. If you have to use “product” in your hair, you need to get a new “style.” If your hair looks like a porcupine, go get a haircut. Men have hair and combs. We don’t have hair styles. We just have hair. (Or not, in some cases.)

We didn’t fight communism to see a generation of young men using hair product.

3) Younger Southern Baptists falsely think themselves sports pundits. 

Two cases in point. Young whippersnapper Matt Svoboda opines on sports like he’s Stephen A or Skip. And he actually believes that the consistently mediocre Nebraska is still an elite NCAA football program. I have often tried to mentor him on sports, but he cheers for the wrong teams and will not learn from his mistakes.

Another whippersnapper-blogger, Mike Leake, gives football predictions that defy logic and reason. Even an Iowa weatherman is not wrong that consistently. He cheers for the Kansas City Royals and the Cleveland Browns, but still thinks he should talk publicly about sports.

These men have the right to cheer for any team they wish. But they should not engage on social media as if they are experts when the evidence speaks loudly to the contrary.

4) Younger Southern Baptists eat like rabbits, not Baptists. 

Frankly, one of the things I like about going to the SBC Annual Meeting is that I am not the guy with the worst BMI in the room. Baptists eat fried chicken; we are NOT vegans. We do not shop organic or free range – that stuff will mess up your digestive system. Baptists do not eat kale. Honestly, folks, what on earth is kale?

You guys need to get with the program. Being a Baptist requires one to at least make an effort to have a coronary in your 50s. How do you measure who has given the most to the ministry if not by coronary bypasses?

5) Younger Southern Baptists are gonna be running the show one day. 

Wow, that is scary.

I remember the time I was sitting around at a BCI pastors meeting talking to a group of young pastors. Suddenly I realized that I was no longer the young buck but had morphed into the wizened veteran dispensing advice. It happened before I realized it. When did I become the old guy? One of these days, these snot-nosed Baptist kids are gonna be the voices of wisdom and reason. Hard to imagine, isn’t it?

Did you know that there is a cure for being a Younger Southern Baptist? It’s 15 to 20 years. One of these days these whippersnappers are going to be convention presidents, entity heads and denominational leaders. It is up to us grizzled old fogeys to stick with the kids, to give them advice, to overlook their faults and bear with their youthful arrogance and all that. Few of these kids are as arrogant as I was at their age. We need to do more than keep them in their place and complain about their wardrobe and facial hair choices (as bad as those are). We need to mentor them, train them and encourage them to be all God has called them to be.

Youth is a curable disease. I wish I was going to be around to see what these young whippersnappers are going to be like when they are running the show. Should be quite an adventure.


1 Dave Miller May 9, 2014 at 6:07 pm

Sometimes you just have to tell the truth no matter how much it hurts.

2 Trevin Wax May 9, 2014 at 7:21 pm

On #1 – Only those who can.

3 Dave Miller May 9, 2014 at 7:21 pm


4 Jeff Johnson May 10, 2014 at 9:50 am

Take back what you said about facial hair. Now!

5 Dave Miller May 10, 2014 at 10:10 am

Shave. Now!

6 Jeff Johnson May 10, 2014 at 10:57 am

“Growing a beard is a habit most natural, scriptural, manly, and beneficial.” — Spurgeon

7 Greg Harvey May 9, 2014 at 6:50 pm

What’s that I hear coming from Mike Leake’s house?


8 Dave Miller May 9, 2014 at 7:09 pm

I think he’s excited about Josh Gordon mentoring Johnny Football.

Oh wait, never mind.

9 Mike Leake (@mikeleake) May 9, 2014 at 8:39 pm

Yeah. I’m not excited about Manziel. He will likely bring success, which is something I don’t know how to handle.

10 Greg Harvey May 10, 2014 at 9:40 am

See!! You have something in common with Johnny, Mike!! He doesn’t handle success well, either…

11 Mike Leake May 10, 2014 at 10:25 am

Ha Ha. After the latest news with Josh Gordon I’m confident that Johnny won’t bring success to Cleveland. Cleveland will bring failure to Johnny.

12 Matt Svoboda May 9, 2014 at 7:14 pm

Lol. Nice.

I feel like I am in good company when an Iowa Hawkeye and Yankees fan is coming after me!

13 Dave Miller May 9, 2014 at 7:22 pm

Go Heat!

14 William Thornton May 9, 2014 at 7:15 pm


But…I asked two whippersnapper pastors this week about the convention. Both essentially replied that they would just as soon stick a shard of glass in their eye as do that.

15 Mike Chitwood May 9, 2014 at 9:35 pm

Some of us younger Southern Baptists are sports pundits because we actually spent time working in the sporting industry after studying the discipline in school. Otherwise, some of these things I agree with, especially the dress part. :-)

16 Matt Capps May 9, 2014 at 11:36 pm

That was great Dave.

17 Dave Miller May 10, 2014 at 12:01 am

Thanks, Matt.

18 Tarheel May 10, 2014 at 3:44 am

1. I wish I could grow one. I admit I suffer from beard envy. ;-)

2. So? Get over it. Lol. Comfort rules. I’d wear jeans and T-Shirt/plad shirt literally all the time if I thought I could get away with it…lol.


4. I agree!

5. I’ve had te blessing of several older saints (not all of which are pastors) to provide great guidance.

Fun article, David.

19 Jeff Johnson May 10, 2014 at 9:59 am

The latest plastic surgery trend is the beard transplant. Seriously. There is hope for you yet.

20 Tarheel May 10, 2014 at 10:14 am

Lol….I saw that on the news last week….I told my wife out it (just in conversation) and she lovingly said….

“Please tell me you’re not considering that stupid surgery”

I had to be honest….I had. Lol. Untill they said the average cost is 10-15k. ;-)

21 Greg Harvey May 10, 2014 at 9:42 am

I have just one question about this article: why can’t I come up with 200 to 300 comments I luckily never post like I can with the typical controversial topic?

22 Jeff Johnson May 10, 2014 at 9:58 am

Beard, plaid, sports punditry: Guilty as charged.
Rabbit food: Ain’t happening. My favorite vegetable is mac & cheese.
Future convention leader: Scary.

23 Tim Rogers (@Timothy_Rogers) May 10, 2014 at 9:59 am


I never dreamed I would say this, but I agree with your fine assessment. Who would ever have thought you would get this. Next thing you know you will announce that you are coming to North Carolina so you can be closer to me.

24 Dave Miller May 10, 2014 at 10:08 am

Wow. I must have done something wrong!!

25 Ryan Abernathy (@absonjourney) May 10, 2014 at 10:03 am

Beard: does a well trimmed goatee count?

Plaid and sports: you bet!

Rabbit food: I like meat…but I like fresh veggies too

Future convention leader: not interested at all

Thanks for a good laugh on a Saturday Dave!

26 Tarheel May 10, 2014 at 10:16 am

Beard: does a well trimmed goatee count?

Now, I do have one of those.

27 Ben Coleman May 10, 2014 at 11:28 am

Why do I keep looking at 1 and 2 and thinking John 7:24?

28 Bob Cleveland May 10, 2014 at 11:57 am

You forgot #6: They don’t wear lime green suits.

And in light of #2, I wear cargo pants and an untucked short; unfortunately I don’t have enough hair to have a silly haircut, but I think there’s enough in back to get started on a mullet. I’ll tend to that immediately.

And please give it up on #1. I don’t have NEARLY enough facial hair to mask all MY insecurities.

29 Dave Miller May 10, 2014 at 12:42 pm

There is a limited limited number of folks who can make lime green cool.

30 Ben Coleman May 10, 2014 at 2:01 pm

I wasn’t aware there were any.

31 Dean Stewart May 10, 2014 at 12:22 pm

Concerning # 2 no store I have ever shopped in offers those pointed shoes that resemble the ones the Shriners used to wear in the Christmas and Homecoming parades when I was a kid. Where do young Southern Baptist find those things? I think long pointed toe shoes are a requirement to be a church planter now a days.

32 Dave Miller May 10, 2014 at 12:41 pm

Maybe you should not limit yourself to Payless Shoes at the mall.

33 Dean Stewart May 10, 2014 at 1:01 pm

Show Carnival Jack.

34 Tarheel May 10, 2014 at 1:59 pm

Yea….that and thick rimmed “cool” glasses regardless of need for prescription. :-)

35 Dean Stewart May 10, 2014 at 5:16 pm

I hope you know that was meant to be Shoe carnival.

36 Dave Miller May 10, 2014 at 5:34 pm

I wondered.

37 John Wallace May 10, 2014 at 2:27 pm

In the interest of mentoring our younger pastors in the value of diversity, I’ve decided to reconstitute the leisure suit and the anglofro.

38 Dave Miller May 11, 2014 at 10:51 pm

There is a fire-engine red leisure suit in my size on eBay. I’ve been trying to decide…

39 Christiane May 11, 2014 at 11:17 pm

well, in tradition, ‘red’ IS the color of the Holy Spirit . . . and it would be very festive on Christmas morning (at home) . . . and . . .

40 Tarheel May 11, 2014 at 11:42 pm

Do it!

41 Dee May 10, 2014 at 3:16 pm

Jesus has a beard. Does WWJD mean nothing to you? Other than the unclean meats Jase and Phil are as close as you get to real men. Willie is too yuppie.

42 Dave Miller May 10, 2014 at 5:05 pm

Ain’t grace great! BACON!

43 Tarheel May 10, 2014 at 6:23 pm

Bacon = a little taste of heaven here on earth. It’s just a glimpse of the good things that are yet to come! ;-)

44 D. L. Payton May 10, 2014 at 10:49 pm

Tarheel, man oh man, not the bacon again. We have no pigs in Montana, just beef, deer, elk, moose, prairie squirrel (antelope for you Southern boys), bear, buffalo and rattlesnake Now that’s man’s food!!

No squealing in Montana. :-) :-)

P.S. One of my pastors will even fix you up a mess of skunk!!

45 Tarheel May 10, 2014 at 11:32 pm

I’ve eaten and enjoyed all of those foods you mentioned….except skunk…and that ain’t happening. ;-)

You guys don’t even drink sweet tea out there, so don’t talk to me about delicacies!

46 D. L. Payton May 11, 2014 at 4:00 pm


Yes that’s true…no sweet tea. I guess you can’t have everything. Let’s see…sweet tea or the Rocky Mountains….life is full of choices.
Cracker Barrel has introduced grits to Montanas.

47 Dale Pugh May 10, 2014 at 7:03 pm

I have a beard. I eat bacon. Then I eat the bacon that’s left in my beard.

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