There is a problem within our denomination.
Just about every church that is growing, is looking for a youth worker, childrens worker, family Pastor. I know one Baptist Church that has been looking for a youth pastor for 3 years with not even a sniff.
Anectodal evidence suggests that there are not many young guys/gals of serious usuable talent coming through the ranks.
When I was studying, about 12 years ago, there was a heap of us. In fact my peer group started off with six members, and although it remains at 6, they are a vastly different 6, as some have dropped off, some have retrained as teachers.
There is a LOT of dissulusionment out there about becoming a Baptist Pastor. I don’t think it is that evident amongst the present guys. Most of them that I mix with are doing exceptional work, in difficult circumstances. Underpaid, often undervalued, yet passionate about seeing the church grow.
Some of the younger potential leaders have left and started more ’emergent’ type groups. This may provoke some discussion, but is not the point of this post. But generally there is very little evidence of real conversion growth within this movement. However many left the mainstream church because all they saw happening was transfer growth. To a true missional pastor, who has integrity, that is dissapointing, but I dont think the emergent stream is the answer.
Someone asked me why there are not many good young leaders coming through and this was my answer.
We have ourselves to blame. For too many years too many Baptist Churches have been caustic places that have despised their pastors. In a recent situation I am aware of, some leaders were criticised incredibly when they tried to introduce a children’s ministry within the church. Some wrote a 10 page document detailing these folks problems. They had been at the church for 15 years! Then when they left, the same caustic folk said, “oh you cant leave, who is going to do this, and that!”
They reckon that now they have left, this incredible weight has been lifted off their shoulders.
Who on earth who want to be a pastor in such a church? It does not matter if you did get paid decent wages, why would you want to be there??
All this has been based on my speaking to other pastors. My own experience has been as follows.
I inherited a very traditional church which had many issues. BUT, after 12 years of hard slog, mistakes (on mine and others parts), we are now a great healthy church to be a part of. We are seeing real conversion growth and absolutely incredible missionary opportunities.
But it has been really really hard.
I reckon young people today, the so called Y generation, just wont put up with the stuff I and others have.
I think this is fair enough actually.
But for those of us concerned about the future of Baptist Churches, we have to keep change happening, and it has to keep happening now…….