Today in the SBC we see some folks who seem to want to change the world and the SBC. I read an interesting article in THE TEXAN this week on generational divides in SBC leadership. It struck me as rather poignant. Nathan Lino wrote:
“…While I do think we need changes, I also believe the SBC has among its current leadership the wisdom, discernment, and patience to bring about the needed changes for future health and growth.
I do not think the present generation of SBC leadership needs heavy input from 30-year-olds to help make these decisions. My generation does not deserve, or has not yet earned, a voice in the conversation or a seat at the table.”
When I read the article, I thought about our first church. Our hearts were in the right place when we began our ministry there. Some of the changes my husband implemented (and they were more additions rather than outright changes), were construed as messing with the status quo. On more than one occasion we heard, “We’ve never done it that way.” Fortunately, we also heard, “This is great! We never would have thought of doing this!” However, we admit at times our zeal was a bit too zealous.
I taught youth then. The youth wanted to do things in that little country church that I knew would cause division and problems with some of the older folks. We introduced lots of new things with them that are still going on today, but I cautioned them. I told them, “what we think needs changing today, may be what God is going to use you to change tomorrow. You’ll have your chance. Our times are in His hands.” They listened. Many things changed. But slowly. The youth grew up and their leadership brought new ideas. They are deacons, Sunday School teachers, Media Directors (who would have thought?), Worship leaders, and committee chair-folk. They now have two morning services–one contemporary and one traditional. They recently launched their own website. Amazing! They learned to compromise and cooperate.
Today some argue the things that changed in the SBC in times past, aren’t all that great. Some think we need to change a lot more. Even my friend, Matt Svoboda, wants to change the convention’s name. I’m not sure I like that change; people have tried that before; and folks have thought of it, too. I’m definitely not one to squash the process. However, as we learned in our first church, as we were “out to change the world”, change is a process. Bulldozers can do a lot of damage. Whatever changes we settle on, I pray we bear in mind: Do we “change” for change’s sake? Or for Christ’s?