Engaging the Next Generation Leaders

I remember being in a hotel room at the Southern Baptist Convention with several bigtime leaders. Here were the men of the conservative resurgence talking and praying about the coming decisions. I was just a kid. Not a word came from my mouth as I watched, listened and learned.

Why was I there? My friend Dr. Morris Chapman invited me. He was my field supervisor on my doctoral work. He was discipling me on SBC matters. In one-on-one conversations, we talked about church stuff. And that included the work of the denomination.

There is always a need for this kind of mentoring in the church. Older leaders teaching younger leaders is vital. I am glad to see the North American Mission Board and the Executive Committee taking action in this realm. They are calling it the Young Leaders Initiative. Dr. Jonathan Akin has been hired to help lead the way.

The goals are two fold for the initiative.

1. Provide a sense of brotherhood for young leaders involved in the SBC.
2. Find ways to engage the disconnected and minimally involved.

This sounds like a wonderful idea to me. A large number of baby boomer pastors will retire in the next 10-15 years. Young leaders need to be invited to the dialogue.

Denominational programs can be extremely helpful. However, the best way for this to happen is organically. People like Morris Chapman needed to talk to people like me. Morris is retired now, so it is my turn.

What is it I need to do?
• Encourage Jonathan Akin
• Spend time with younger pastors
• Talk openly about the denomination with young leaders
• Support the Cooperative Program and sell its benefits
• Pray with young leaders in my geographic region
• Go to an associational event from time to time
• Find out where the young leaders gather and be a part
• Encourage a young leader to visit a retired pastor

Be assured Dr. Akin is on my prayer list as he moves forward with this exciting, vital mission.

The Choices We Make

February 1 is National Signing Day and is big in the world of college football. Young men sign letters of intent to play for the teams of their choice. Decisions! Decisions! Men make choices and choices make men.

The salvation choice

The most important day of one’s life is the day of second birth. Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

First hour of the day choice
The choice of how you begin your day is vital. Choose to seek first the Lord with an open Bible and a bended knee.

First dollar choice
Giving a tithe to the Lord’s work is an important choice. Invest first in the ministry of your church.

Supreme Court choice
President Trump made the choice of nominating Judge Neil Gorsuch. This choice is monumental. Now the Senate must choose. I have been praying much about this. I like the choice.

Our lives are filled with choices. Some seem small and others appear huge. But every choice is important. You need wisdom. An eighteen year old is going to sign with a school today and become a national champion within the next four years. Others are going to be disappointed. Some are going to suffer injury. Players will transfer. Many young men will blossom and get a great education. After they choose a school, they must choose to work hard in the classroom, on the practice field and in the weight room.

Each of us face similar issues. After we choose a direction, we must do the daily work to be a winner. Persist! There is set before us life and death. Choose this day what you will do and whom you will serve!

Why Baptists Must Reset, Refocus, and Repent

Back in 1845 a group of Christ followers formed the Southern Baptist Convention. The reason they took the action was “for the purpose of eliciting, combining and directing the energies of the Baptist denomination of Christians for the propagation of the Gospel.”

Simply put, the reason the SBC was formed was for cooperation in getting the Gospel out! Evangelism and missions is what we are about.
Like local churches, we tend to drift away from evangelism toward many other good commitments and causes. However, our main cause is the Gospel.

I have concern for the denomination I love. We are not reaching , baptizing and making disciples as we should or at the rate we have in the past. We must reset, refocus and repent!

I call on every pastor, church leader and prayer warrior to work and cry out for a revival of the harvest in our denomination. I was told by one of my heroes years ago, “ Ted, you do not have to witness to everyone only to those the Holy Spirit tells you to. And if you do that he will keep you busy!”

Don’t get sidetracked on lesser things. Go and tell!