Page cautiously optimistic about SBC, predicts shortage of traditional pastors

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by gb93433, Feb 20, 2007.

  1. gb93433

    gb93433
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    http://www.abpnews.com/www/1761.article

    Page cautiously optimistic about SBC, predicts shortage of traditional pastors
    By Tony Cartledge
    Published: February 20, 2007



    PHILADELPHIA – The future is bright for the Southern Baptist Convention if its members have the right mindset, follow the right motives, and adopt the right methodology, SBC president Frank Page told a group of Baptist state newspaper editors Feb. 16.


    Repeating themes he has emphasized in several recent speeches, Page said he is challenging the SBC to be “more authentic in faith and more intentional in sharing the gospel,” to “reach the lost and challenge the saved.”


    Page, who is pastor of First Baptist Church in Taylors, S.C., said Baptists need a mindset of Christ-like selflessness, a motive based in understanding that the convention belongs to God, and methodologies that are always Christ-honoring.
    Commenting on the SBC’s health, Page said “I sense a huge number of people who are authentically loving Christian men and women” who care about others and want to help. Most church members are “really tired of the pastors fussing and fighting,” he said. “They don’t understand it all, and if they do, they don’t like it.”


    Page expressed concern that many churches “have become one generational churches, small groups of white people that haven’t learned how to reach out to ethnic groups or even [to] other generations of their own ethnic group.”
    With current pastors aging and a declining number of seminary graduates who want to pastor traditional churches, he said, “we could see some serious issues soon.”


    Although SBC seminaries are experiencing record enrollments, most of the growth has been in new undergraduate college programs and non-pastor track degrees, he said.


    Younger students sense “an extreme call to make a difference,” he said. “If challenged properly, they will make a great difference. But they want to do it differently.” There are record numbers in seminaries, but “that doesn’t mean they’ll be going to First Baptist, Turkey Trot,” he said.


    Page said he often encourages seminary students not to disregard traditional churches and to “see potential in them, that they are not dead yet. It’s hard work, extremely hard work, and casualties along the way are many,” he said, because some who say they want to change really mean “so long as you don’t change what I like.”


    Self-centeredness is also a problem for churches, Page said. Larger churches sometimes think they don’t need the Southern Baptist Convention, so they cut back on support for the Cooperative Program, the SBC's unified budget.
    Agreeing that his upset election last year was in part “a referendum on the Cooperative Program,” Page said the giving program could use some work, “some adjustments in percentages,” but deserves increased support. Those who have issues with the Cooperative Program should continue supporting it and try to bring change from within, he said.


    Page downplayed a recent interview in which he was reported to have said that divisive issues in the SBC, such as the 2000 “Baptist Faith and Message” statement or the ordination of women, should be up for discussion.


    Page said he affirms the “Baptist Faith and Message” position that only men should serve as senior pastors but said “we should also affirm the ministry that women do in all of our churches.” He did not elaborate further.


    Page was asked if he thought it was appropriate for SBC entities to institute policies more strict than the "Baptist Faith and Message" on issues like refusing to endorse female chaplains or not allowing women to teach theology. He said he affirms the structure that allows entities to be governed by their trustees. But, he said, “Personally, I would encourage entities not to go beyond the "'Baptist Faith and Message.'"


    Page said he expects to run and be elected to a second term as president and has not heard of any opposition, but “that could change tomorrow.”


    When asked about those who are increasingly less excited about being identified as Southern Baptists, Page acknowledged that many have a negative view of Southern Baptists. “We first need to apologize,” Page said. “We have caused a lot of that … in our constant antagonisms, we’ve driven away massive numbers of people.”
     
  2. PeterM

    PeterM
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    I am so grateful for Dr. Page and his spirit...
     
  3. gb93433

    gb93433
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    There was the same talk by others in 1974 but few listened.
     
  4. StraightAndNarrow

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    So I suppose traditional pastors are those who accept the Baptist Faith and message? That used to be a guideline for churches and church members who believed in the Priesthood of Believers and Soul Freedom. Now the SBC has a catechism just like the Roman Catholics.
     
  5. PeterM

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    Don't really know what you are intending to communicate. As an SBC pastor, my only criteria for cooperation are the guidelines, doctrines, and principles, outlined in the BFM 2000.

    At the Baptist Identity conference, the consistent message of ALL the speakers was that the criteria for cooperation should be the BFM... not methods, styles, or ministry focus (ie Purpose driven, missional, traditional, etc).

    Everybody needs to take a deep breath, count to ten and remember that traditions do not determine cooperation and never should, only the clear doctrines that define us as Baptists.

    Blessings
     
  6. gb93433

    gb93433
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    I pastored a church that for over 25 years had a practice of inviting the Mormon bishop to come and preach at Christian events sponsored by the local SBC church. All in the name of fairness. They even claimed he was a Christian. The deacons got mad at me when I said that it must stop.

    The state and local association folks knew about the practice but did nothing all in the name of autonomous churches. That churhc claimed ot have believed the BF&M. By their practice it was clear they did not believe the Bible. They now have a former state SBC worker who has been divorced as their pastor. He was divorced at the time he was working for the SBC.
     
  7. El_Guero

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    That is a liberal church.
     
  8. gb93433

    gb93433
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    How about the state association and local associations? How about a former SBC president who would not take a stand with me and just told me to leave? He claims to believe the Bible and most would surely say he does.


    That is the problem today. We have too many who claim to believe the Bible but will not abide by it.
     
  9. 2 Timothy2:1-4

    2 Timothy2:1-4
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    Many who voted for Dr. Page did so simly to disrupt the good ol boy metality in the SBC. However, many have come to regret the vote. Dead churches arent dead because they are fundemental.They are dead because they quit worshipping God. The SBC is swinging liberal. Specifically toward the ungodly EC. As a result it wil lose many members.
     
  10. gb93433

    gb93433
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    Jesus gave the program but the SBC spends millions dreaming up new programs for churches which are too lazy to get involved in the lives of people and make disciples. If churches were making disciples they would not be content to bring in pastors who do not know how to make disciples. Too many churches believe that if they just had the right program that somehow they would grow. To not make disciples and rely on a program is to make a mockery of what Jesus taught and did.

    Can you explain how adding onto the presidents home at SWBTS to house his books and trophy animals he shot while on safaris is conservative? While at the same time there are many pastors in that same country who would love to have a bicycle just so they would not have to spend so much time walking to the two or three churches they pastor each Sunday.

    Could you also explain how adding onto the presidents home at SWBTS make any sense when Drs. Naylor, Dilday, and Hemphill all lived there without any additions or modifications to the structure? Can you explain why it was necessary to add onto the presidents home while at the same time he claimed that SWBTS needed more money and the tuition for the students was raised? Can you explain how that is a good testimony of sacrifice and endurance to the students? Can you explain how that was a good witness to the city of Ft. Worth? Is that the kind of religion you claim that grows churches?

    Didn't Jesus teach that true leaders must put themselves last and make sure that the needs of their followers are met first?

    Sometime read http://www.bibleteacher.org/Dm118_8.htm
     
  11. Baptist Believer

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    That's probably true. (And I think it was a good thing.)

    I haven't heard anything of the sort, but I probably don't travel in the same circles as you. Is there any particular reason cited for "regretting the vote"?

    True. Although fundamentalism (like liberalism) can kill a live church.

    That's rather simplistic, but your main point has some merit.

    But the more accurate reason that churches are dead is that Christians aren't living their faith because they haven't been taught how to live their faith. Within the last 100-150 years, mainstream "conservatives" and "liberals" have both reduced the gospel of the Kingdom of God ("How to live the good life, now and through eternity") to a theory of atonement ("How to get to heaven"). This shift reduces Jesus to merely being a sacrificial Lamb and ignores the main thrust of His message and teaching that we can enter into His life and be transformed citizens of the Kingdom of God.

    :confused: Unless, to you, the word "liberal" simply means "bad", I'm not sure what you are trying to say. The SBC is not, as has never been, "liberal" in any sense of the word. I believe the current good-ole'-boy leadership (as mustered by Paige Patterson, Paul Pressler and their disciples) has misled the majority of churches of the SBC with their takeover movement, but the pastors and the people of the SBC are generally good, faithful, well-meaning Christians. Over the years I have preached in a number of SBC churches, from legalistically fundamental to full-blown moderate congregations with women serving as deacons and on the church staff, and have always been treated warmly and graciously. But nearly every time I find myself in the company of the big-time power brokers of the SBC, I get attacked or treated like dirt. If they can't love their brother, who they can see, how can they claim to love the God that they can't see?

    I have no idea who the "EC" is... Can you enlighten me?
     
  12. PastorSBC1303

    PastorSBC1303
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    Who? Where? When?
     
  13. Karen

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    gb,

    If it is all as bad as you say, and I don't think it is, our seminaries are woefully training our pastors.
    Sure, some churches are toxic, but many reflect the leadership and training of their pastors.

    I've gotten the point that you don't approve of trophy animals and libraries. That he should spend his personal funds on bicycles for pastors in other countries. He does not answer to you and me for his stewardship of his salary. I imagine you and I could buy a couple of bicycles, too.

    But as a general concept, I do agree with you that trustees should scrutinize expenditures more closely than it seems they have sometimes done.

    Re: what happened with the Mormons in your pastorate. It wouldn't happen here. Recently we had a film from the North American Mission Board on what Mormons believe and how to witness to them. Just finished two sessions in church on what Jehovah's Witnesses believe.

    You and I see the SBC in two completely different ways. I guess personal experiences really do shape us. I am all for disciple-making. However, I suspect that how you personally measure that is strongly along the lines of your individual spiritual gifts and what God has called you to. Disciple-making can be fleshed out in a variety of ways that I am not too sure that you would recognize. I hope that you can affirm others in their callings and spiritual gifts from God.
     
  14. dan e.

    dan e.
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    I think this reflects part of the problem....our seminaries should not be held responsible for training pastors....have you been to a seminary lately? Churches should be discipling and mentoring people into leadership positions and roles in the church. The seminaries have attempted, and are expected to take responsibility that Pastors should do....and that is to multiply. Seminary is not a bad idea if you're looking to learn, and get a Bible education....but preparing to be a leader in the church by locking yourself up in a library for papers??? I have to admit....some of the PhD students look like they haven't seen sunlight in a decade. But if you have a leader in your church who invests in you to also lead.....there's a way to prepare a Pastor. Sounds familiar right? I think Paul did that.
     
  15. PeterM

    PeterM
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    You nailed it my dear brother...

    Seminaries have never been and never should be a "training ground" for pastors. That is unless you desire an academically driven individual that may be able to "preach" wonderful sermons... and not much more. Pastors ought to be equipped at seminaries so that they are doctrinally sound and trained in how to be constant learners, but real pastoring occurs not in the pulpit 35 to 45 minutes a week, but for the rest of the in the week, living in the lives of others. It is the life of a shepherd.

    Blessings,
     
  16. gb93433

    gb93433
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    Leaders must be good stewards of what is given them. Let not many be teachers . . ." When a leaders cries for more money, has a library built, goes on safaris and then expects the students to pay more tuition while the professors with a doctorate are starting at less then the typical public school teachers doesn't something seem quite wrong?

    Christians should think about what will last for eternity. The thousands of dollars spent on safaris, hunting equipment. and plane trips to go hunting will supply the money needed for many pastors in those countries to proclaim the gospel.

    When I had a conference on witnessing to Mormons it got even worse. One of the couples on that tape came and did the conference. It was very well done and life changing for those who came.

    When I take a lok at what Jesus did I do not see the 4th century way of doing church. What I see is Jesus reaching people in a variety of ways. However each are reached if they are to follow Him. He called every believer to maker disciples. Almost every married couple has children and most do not train their chidlren spiritually. Most couples have been equipped physically to have children yet they are not euipped to train them. I believe we have been brainwashed to think that church is about having a big meeting and doing what we call worship. People walk into the building and sit down and enjoy some singing, hear a message and then walk out still not trained to train their chidlren.

    When one considers what happened in communist countries when it was illegal to meet with more than just s few people the churhc continued to grow in ways that far exceeded locations where there was no persecution.
     
  17. gb93433

    gb93433
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    Isn't that like asking the fox to guard the hen house?
     
  18. Jonathan

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    Your experience is common. Unless you had some particular political value, you were simply not going to receive help from any one within the Baptist agency structure.

    Of course, you could have just started a blog about it. :)
     
  19. Jonathan

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    No. The point of having trustees not intimately involved with the organization is to ensure that the organization will keep trust with the owners/funders of the organization.

    It is increasingly clear that the trustees, in many cases, are appearing to owe an allegiance to the organization's leadership structure rather than to the messengers and the churches.

    The deeper that this perception takes hold, the lesser the support for the CP will be.
     
  20. preachinjesus

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    It's really interesting to me that Dr. Page is one of the first SBC Presidents to talk about this issue (specifically the looming lack of traditional pastors) even though our seminary profs and recent seminary graduates have known for the past 10 years that this crisis is coming.

    Being a recent graduate from an SBC seminary these are the numbers of my fellow graduates:
    50% missions and church planting (non-traditional roles)
    20% Traditional Pastor ministry
    10% Student ministry
    5% Academics
    5% Music Ministry
    5% Educational ministry
    5% Other

    The reality of the situation is most of the people going into mission and/or church planting that I know said they aren't going back to the traditional churches they grew up in because they don't want to put up with the junk. They don't want to, honestly, waste their time fighting pointless battles over worship style, color of carpets, pews vs. chairs, preaching styles, etc. when we can be moving our churches towards doing and being the Gospel with a fresh outlook.

    Dr. Page said that too many churches in the SBC are "one generational" which is HUGE. While I would agree that we must have mulitgenerational churches, but that we also must understand that 3 points and poem and the Baptist Hymnal are not the only way to do church. We have two major divides right now in many SBC churches:
    1. the older established generation that refuses to give over the church
    2. the younger fresher generation that is pushing for transformation

    Our convention does nothing to help this out. Most of the curriculum and teaching from the convention is to work with traditional churches, even though in this century we must have radically nontraditional ministries. Our seminaries are imparting last century training to our up and coming pastors and not adequately equipping them to do ministry in this century.

    The reality is the role of the "senior pastor" (I prefer senior elder) in the church of this century will less and less a pulpiteer and more an empowerer and equipper. Yet our seminaries are still telling young pastors in training that the ultimate role in the local NT is an outdated (imho) 19th century model of the senior pastorate. If we are going to see massive Kingdom work done in this century for these generations it must be innovative, authentic, renewable, and biblical.

    This is our basic fact: in twenty years most every singular generational churches that populate much of the SBC will be gone. Not a good thing, not a bad thing, just a thing. The ministry of this century must be different and nontraditional to reach nontraditional people.

    I don't think it is a "looming crisis" beyond that there will be a shortage of an outdated model of pastors. Rather I believe this is God's movement from one terrifically used model into another. Birth pangs are always painful.
     

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