I doubt it. As tempted as I am to leave that as the entire blog, I will explain my thoughts. I think we as the SBC have become stagnant. There are some alive, vibrant churches out there, but as a whole, we have become still water. The push and pull and twist and tug have all negated each other and movement has stopped. Here are the root issues as I see them (this is my opinion).
1. The move to be missional has become a drive to reach people like us. Let’s face it, the world has changed and we haven’t. We are still fighting about hymns and organs, using powerpoint and under use online tech. We don’t use the tech advances in one line content, cloud tech and streaming media effectively. The modern tech using person doesn’t want to sit in a church service for 60 to 90 minutes. They want a focused time with a focused message. They want a class or a worship service or a time of prayer. The Baptist Liturgy includes preaching, teaching, worship, evangelism, prayer and anything else we need to do. We wouldn’t even discuss breaking that apart to reach others. We wouldn’t even consider changing the service. We still fight over Sunday night service, no one messes with Sunday morning. We don’t like to change, so we want the people to be like us, so we don’t have too.
2. We do too much for us, even if we claim it’s for others. Look at our buildings. Who are they for? They are for the people in the building. We hope more people come into our building, but we want a nice place to do the stuff we want to do. We do the ministries we like and feel called too. We do lots of stuff for our own comfort, assuming others will like the same things we do, and will come. If we like the building, so will they. If we like the music, so will they. If we like the preaching, so will they, so we open the doors and wait for the people. Unfortunately, they are not like us.
3. We don’t like theology. Most of the theological discussions in the SBC consists of people throwing preconviced notions at one another without listening. We only listen, read or pay attention to find something we can disagree with. We seldom hear each other out, and refuse to admit we could be wrong. We are stubborn and don’t want to listen. There is little to no chance of a compromise in the convention, because it’s us against them. Our doctrines are weak because we want to include everyone to the point we are barely able to articulate what our churches really stand for. We use the Bible like the 9th circuit court uses the constitution, we make it say what fits our ideas and ignore the rest. We claim to be a people of the book, but won’t use the whole cannon in context, if we did we could come to some theological commonality. I refuse to believe that God’s word is so vague that we can’t find doctrinal unity. We just choose not to use the word with diligence. The early church had doctrinal unity, but now we have too many “scholars”. If we are to be conformed to Christ, have the mind of Christ, why are we so divided? Is Christ divided?
4. We are angry people. We have yelling pastors, angry deacons, name calling bloggers, sarcasm at conventions, divisions and factions and all sorts of negative press. We have a tendency to be less than desirable around during business meetings. I have been yelled at by preachers, leaders, DOMs, deacons and lots of members over things like music, budget and changes (like adding a service). Change stuff, we get mad.
I’m sure it all boils down to pride and selfishness. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not calling you selfish, so don’t get mad at me. No one wants to be called selfish or angry or prideful or unteachable. I know I wouldn’t want to be called out, but I ask myself, am I those things? Yes, I struggle with being selfish and angry and not wanting to change. I assume others will (or should) think like I do and agree with every word. I assume I’m right, or I wouldn’t say it. I have to be willing to change, and it’s hard. It’s called transformation, reformation, restoration. Can we do it?