It has been a long time since I posted on #grayfwb. Believe it or not, I don’t like controversy. I wish I could just mind my own business and not be affected by things overwhich I have little or no control. But I can’t. I am a sociologist, which among other things mean I do a lot of observing. I watch people and groups and organizations and notice things others don’t notice. It’s a blessing and a curse.
Sometimes what I observe troubles me.
I love my denomination, which is why I have a heavy heart today.
Earlier this week it was reported that one of our colleges voted to cease operations. Our other colleges have had to lay-off faculty. (Here is a post I think needs to be re-read.) My heart breaks for all those involved in losing their schools and jobs and credits and opportunities.
In my opinion, these things are signs that if our denomination does not make significant philosophical changes, we are headed for trouble.
What kind of changes?
Well, just read some of my previous posts and you will see.
I know change is hard because we are a grass-roots movement. As a result, we have leadership issues at the top; not because we don’t have good leaders but because we really don’t want them to lead. Specifically, we do not want to be led from the top down.
But something has got to change.
What do you think?
As far as I know there are presently 5 colleges that are in some way affiliated with people (or states) associated with the NAFWB. Only 1 of the 5 schools is the “official” school of the denomination – Welch College. The other four are either affiliated with state associations or individual churches and people connected to the NAFWB. The names of the other four colleges are California Christian, Hillsdale, Southeastern, and Gateway. These school are all located in the United States. I don’t know how many schools/seminaries around the world have some type of connection to the NAFWB.
Our denomination is too small to adequately support 5 colleges. As a result, all the schools struggle for finances and students and loyalties. Continue reading
It has been almost 3 months since my last post. Did you miss me?
I have been extremely busy writing a book, pastoring my church, and starting school. I am still pastoring, but the book is written and the semester is almost over.
Taking some extended time away from posting on #grayfwb gave me an opportunity to reflect on the need for such a blog, focusing on issues facing Free Will Baptists. I am sure there is a need for such a blog, but I am not sure I am the person to do it. It was almost a year ago where I unintentionally become involved in an issue that led me to start REACH on facebook and #grayfwb. REACH is still somewhat active discussing various issues about life and ministry in general. But #grayfwb has been dormant for several weeks.
I need and covet your opinion if #grayfwb should continue. You will not hurt my feelings at all if you tell me there is no need for this site. In some ways that would be a relief. If you think it should continue, what would you like to see this site focus on? The original purpose of #grayfwb was to start a discussion that would lead to positive change within our denomination. On a few levels I think we accomplished that. What I would like to know is if it should continue or if it has run its course. If it does continue, I would need help in recruiting guest posters. Over the last year I have asked several people to write guest posts. All said they would, but very few followed through. Everyone is busy and I understand that.
Please know that I am not looking for affirmation, or criticism, or anything like that. My heart is to serve the kingdom, and if #grayfwb has a role to play, I want to continue it. If not, there are countless other ways for me to serve.
So, what do you think?
You can respond here, on the blog, or if you choose you can send me a private message through facebook, email me at email@example.com, or call or text me at 615.440.7553.
I look forward to hearing from you.
I recently ran across the following chart about sustainable and unsustainable church planting practices. I thought it was interesting and would like your thoughts. Maybe we can start a conversation about this.
Church Planting Practices: Movements That Change the World (Steve Addison)
|Fully fund every church plant.
||Train church planters to raise funds or become tent makers (bi-vocational) or both.
|Require seminary training for every church planter.
||Equip established church planters to coach the next wave of church planters.
|Provide long-term subsidies for struggling church plants.
||Allow churches to take responsibility.
|Parent churches take responsibility for the budgeting and administration of church plants.
||Empower churches and church planters to seek God, do the research, and multiply churches wherever there is a need.
|Start a church
|A denomination that is solely responsible to identify and recruit church planters
||Every church planter trains apprentices for future church plants.
|Satellite congregations that are dependent forever on the sending church.
||Satellite congregations graduate quickly to interdependence and become multiplying hubs.
|A movement that is held together by tight organizational systems of control.
||A movement held together by a common cause and relationships.
What do you think about this chart?
How does it apply to us as FWBs?
Does it apply?
I have written a lot about the need for our denomination to change. I wrote one particular post entitled, “What Change Would You Like to See?” Yet still, anytime I talk about change someone inevitably asks, “Kevin, what change do you want? What kind of change are you talking about?” The impression I get is if I say I don’t know, or if I admit I don’t have all the answers, then somehow what I have said and the questions I have asked are invalid.
Well, once again I would like to refer to the book, The Permanent Revolution.
In my last post I quoted portions from The Permanent Revolution about the need for change and how often real change comes out of need. In other words, innovation often comes out of desperation. New answers to old problems many times comes when our backs are against the wall.
As a denomination, our backs are against the wall. In reality, I believe this to be true, not just for FWBs, but for Christianity in the West. So, in my opinion, step one toward change would be our leadership admitting we desperately need change. What we are presently doing is no longer effective. Out of that desperation will come some very creative and unique ways of doing church and missions, advancing the kingdom of God. Right now, at this moment, we have no way of knowing what that change will look like, and if we wait until we have all the answers and all the follow-up steps, and all the directions, we will never move forward.
So, I have no idea what this change will look like, and that is a good thing. If we will decide to change, then out of innovation will come improvisation. It is through improvisation that we will see what change looks like. Continue reading
Early in the summer I started reading, The Permanent Revolution: Apostolic Imagination and Practice for the 21st Century Church, by Alan Hirsch and Tim Catchim. It’s a quite involved tome. A month or so ago, I put it on the back shelf of my kindle to read a couple of other things. Yesterday I picked it back up and read a section that I thought applied to us as a denomination and our need for change. I would be very interested in your thoughts. I apologize in advance for the length of the quote, but I thought it important to place it in context.
“GEORGE BERNARD SHAW ONCE FAMOUSLY SAID, ‘The reasonable man adapts himself to the world while the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.’ Although that may seem foolish, actually Shaw grasped what many social science writers are now only beginning to explore: the supposed lack of apparent rationality in many of the choices we make. Not only are we all far less rational in our decision making than has been assumed, but what often is called ridiculous and contrarian can turn out to be the source of much creativity. Consider the following statements that arose squarely from the predictable thinking of their day: Continue reading
It’s been almost a month since the NAFWB held their annual convention in Memphis, TN. From all the reports I have heard and read it was a very successful meeting. One month later I can’t help but ask myself, What really changed?
In a lot of ways the national convention is like a big pep rally. We gather for large, incredible worship services, listen to great inspiring messages, watch our young people serve and compete, and hear reports from our national agencies. Everything is designed to show our strengths. Everything is planned to highlight our talents. Even the reports are spun to accentuate the positives. But now that everyone has been home for awhile and has had time to reflect, what really changed? Continue reading