It is amazing how quickly almost a week goes by without sitting down to blog. I knew it would be a challenge, guess I didn't know just how much of one!
I've been reflecting on changes lately, in the Southern Baptist denomination (www.sbc.net) most specifically.
I spent almost 10 years playing Engineer in an Aerospace firm that produced airplane engines. The last 2 or 3 years of which I was involved in what was known then as Total Quality. The company knew it needed to change in order to maintain its competitive edge in the industry - everybody else was becoming more efficient, they had to do the same in order to keep up or go bankrupt. I learned over the last 2 years of my employment that the company stated that it wanted to change and the leadership was driving the change, but the people in charge were threatened by change and resisted it as fiercely as they could without getting into trouble.
One common complaint from those who wanted to change was that the "Good-Old Boy" network needed to be destroyed before any significant change would take place. There was no denying that the GOBN existed. Everyone who had been around for more than 2 weeks knew who was in and who was out.
Fairly quickly management personnel changes were made, and the GOBN adapted. Some of the names changed, but the network still existed. What I did not see was an attitude of humility and a desire to work together with those outside the GOBN to develop a different way of doing the same job more efficiently.
That lead me to make the only choice I thought I could make at the time - I quit!!!! Became self-employed, no more GOBN, or so I thought - more on that later perhaps.
I became the pastor of a small Southern Baptist Church the last Sunday in 2003. Within the past year I have becoming more aware of changes in the larger church community. Started reading lots of blogs, eventually started commenting and entered the conversation.
In the middle of last year, Dr. Jimmy Draper - SBC's Lifeway asked a couple of questions that started the discussion of how younger leaders in the SBC could become more involved (basically). He has traveled a bit talking with younger leaders and recently started his own blog (here) - thanks Steve McCoy.
One idea that has been floating around in my head for awhile is pretty much the same as when I was employed in the aerospace industry - the "Good Old Boy Network."
Some folks (not everyone) in the conversation (no one in particular, putting several together, fair or not....) IMO apparently have the idea that the GOBN needs to be done away with in order for constructive change to occur. Many do not want to see the structure of our denomination completely demolished, although some do.
It is common for those not in charge to want the ones who are in charge to go away - to destroy the GOBN so that the new can come and change can happen. What many people do not seem to recognize is that a "new" GOBN will step into the void left by the previous one.
It would be a shame for those of us younger leaders in the SBC to work for the utter destruction of the GOBN that exists at this point just so the New GOBN could take over. Each New GOBN starts out with their own ideals and grand plans and each usually becomes stuck in the way they have always done things.
One telling mark that the Holy Spirit has been active in the hearts of His people is a sense of unity - not uniformity. Dr. Draper has started to talk, he is trying to connect with us. Perhaps many more in the existing GOBN will enter the conversation soon (here's hope).
Hopefully all of us see that we must change how we present Christ to those around us, people in general have changed while many churches have not recognized it yet. We have a lot to learn from those who have gone before us, and they have some to learn from us. Hopefully we can both be better disciples of Christ because He has used us to sharpen each other.