"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

If You Can't Stand the Heat . . .

Harry Truman had several famous, homespun quotes, including "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen." He once said this was a folksy way of saying "Don’t take on a job if you are unwilling to face its pressures."

Months ago I began this blog as a way to voice my concern over the direction we were moving as a Southern Baptist Convention, where we easily proclaim our belief in the "innerrant" Bible, but seemed to not believe that the Bible was sufficient for all our faith and practice, and as a result, we were becoming guilty of ADDING to God's Word and demanding conformity and agreement from everyone in the Southern Baptist Convention regarding extra-Biblical traditions and beliefs.

Since beginning this blog in an attempt emphasize the sufficiency of Scripture for all our faith and practice I have been called just about everything imaginable from a gossip, a slanderer, a person who is resistant to accountability, untrustworthy, arrogant, self-centered, a lover of attention, a publicity hound, self-seeking, a power grabber, and a few other choice things --- and this from my fellow Southern Baptists.

There are some who seem to take delight in questioning everything about me --- my motives , every word I write, and even my character by commenting on my spirit and demeanor without ever having even personally met me!

All this to say.

I should expect nothing less.

If I am going to write statements and place them in the public arena, I should expect people to challenge me, criticize me, mock me, ridicule me, scold me, threaten me, and seek to discredit me.

Someone might say, "But you shouldn't expect that from 'Christian people" should you?"

In my experience, Southern Baptists can sometimes be the most vicious in their attacks because everything is couched in spiritual lingo and a syrupy sentimatility, all the while invoking God's name in an attempt to destroy the character of the 'brother.' Maybe it is a shame, but it is often a reality.

It comes with the territory.

As President Truman said, "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen."

In His Grace,


Wade

39 comments:

Matt Snowden said...

Wade,
Our system of church government is indeed a little sloppy. I, for one, would not trade the difficulty of it for a more streamlined power structure. Being informed and active is costly. We all need a truck load of faith and humility to make it work. I am praying for you and all other SBC leaders. Let's get the job done and watch out that we don't get addicted to the "heat". It can beguile.

Bob Cleveland said...

Wade:

It's inherent in a system of church government in which the twice-a-year attender who gives nothing has the same vote and voice as the most involved. It may not be the best form of church organization, but it's the one we're called to be involved in.

So be it.

Carla said...

Putting a link to you on my website, I was thinking how to sort of introduce you. Here's what I came up with. Controversial Oklahoma Pastor Wade Burleson who was disciplined by the SBC for blogging on his experiences with the International Mission Board. Blogging is good. Openness is good. I worry that some of the dissent that Mr. Burleson has become a lightning rod for may not be good. I don't know. His original blog though was simple and cool. I don't know if he's at fault for the storm that seems to be coalescing around him. He seems to keep trying to tame the wayward elements that are attracted to him. I suspect that he's a lightning rod. Our society makes it so easy for some of us to challenge existing authority, too easy. I guess you could say that our society has become a storm that is producing a lot of lightning. Maybe the SBC needs a lightning rod to keep its more volatile members safely in the fold.
I can't imagine being a lightning rod is fun for you, Wade. Keep praying.

GeneMBridges said...

Never forget...

Paul was treated the same way in the churches all the time.

The church expanded quickly and in largest numbers when persecuted. It's ranks were also purified.

P.H. Mell faced against many such person's including one Russell Renneau, who in his day, was out to exterminate what we call Calvinism. This is what he had to say about Renneau: "Calvinism has never heard of him before, and if its advocates ever think of him hereafter it will never be in a connection flattering to his vanity." It's worth noting that Baptists today know much about Mell, and Renneau is not only not fondly remembered, he is hardly remembered at all.

Criticism of persons motives when the issues involve the sufficiency of Scripture vs. the mere tradition have inevitably proven to be transient. Take look at liberal theology. It's like a passing fad. A century ago, the Documentary Hypothesis was all the rage. Today, Assyriology has abandoned it. Evangelicals are saying, "I told you so." Look on the shelves of the bookstores. The men who are read are men like Edwards, Owen, Gill, Spurgeon, Wesley...the orthodox...but the liberals are barely read by anybody anymore, because their work has dated. Today's trendy clothing, so to speak, turns into tomorrow's bell bottoms. This is true when the issue is over the sufficiency of Scripture.

Finally, I've read repeatedly that folks criticize you, and, well, all us bloggers, for using our time to do this and not being about the business of ministry. Of course, they have taken time out to write as well, so it's not as if they are living up to their own standards.

By way of reply to them:

Some of Andrew Fuller's contemporaries criticized him for their incorporation of the ideas of Jonathan Edwards in their teaching and preaching. Fuller replied, "If those who talked thus preached Christ half as much as Jonathan Edwards did, and were half as useful as he was, their usefulness would be double what it is. It is very singular that the mission to the East should have originated with men of these principles; and without pretending to be a prophet, I may say if ever it falls into the hands of men who in this strain, it will soon come to nothing."

This was true of Fuller's critics, Wade, and I submit is equally true of your own, though the actual issues are different. Both sets of critics began a mission "to the East" and Fuller's words about them were right and prophetic to his, and I would say something similar could be said to your critics today if Fuller could speak to them.

God bless you and keep you and make His face shine upon you, Rachelle, and your ministry.

Rev. Darrell said...

Brother Wade, and I do mean BROTHER!

I can only say, "welcome to the club" of the thousands of people who have been attacked, displaced, slandered, some fired, and some threatened, ALL FOR POINTING OUT THE LACK OF BIBLICAL PROOF ON SOME THINGS AND THE TOTAL UNGODLINESS ON OTHERS.

I commend you for speaking up for the TOTAL SUFFICIENCY OF GODS HOLY WORD.

Many years ago a very wise man said "I am continually amazed how many people live their lives like their is no God to answer to."

Hang in there Brother, know that thousands of Southern Baptists have walked where you now are and I have many of them on my email list and all are praying for you.

Remember:

We are alone with Jesus at judgement day

Rev. Darrell

Christopher Redman said...

Public blogging is not for the faint of heart. I wrote a post with this title recently realizing that engaging these issues in a public forum is inviting criticism and as such, it is not for the faint of heart.

"If you can't stand the heat..." Good one.

CR

Roger Simpson said...

Wade:

It can sometimes get a little hot around here. However, I think in general the good from this blog far, far outweighs any negative aspects.

Generally, even when there is disagreement the discussion on both sides are civil. I don't think you can solve problems by ignoring them. Exposing them causes them to drift up to "top of mind awareness" such that they can be addressed.

Your recent thread about "communication" really did seem to strike some raw nerves. However, it did allow some people in the front lines to express "real world realities" which they percieve are not understood by upper management. Having a conduit to provide feedback in what is otherwise too much of a one way communication link is one way BLOGS like this are valuable.

From a personal standpoint I appreciate your blog. I had never even heard of "CPM" or "New Directions" until I saw reference to them on this blog. So I went to the IMB website and checked out the on-line files containing the booklets that launched these "new" paradigms.

I looked at all the case studies shown the CPM book. They represent many different geographical locations and ethnic groups. I think it is time to revise the CPM book with a couple of case studies showing how this model works in groups which are in the upper 30% of average income. We need to reach the "up and out" not only the "down and out".

Here in the USA we have seen some success with "megachurches" using models which try to tap into popular music styles. This model is just one of many that may yield fruit. The megachurch is the "house church" model on steroids: You start out with a "house church" with 10 people in someone's living room and end up with 5,000 people in a big room.

Fruitful church building schemes are dependent upon at least two variables: the cultural group and time.

Just because the CPM model has been shown to be effective in clinical trials across a number of divergent societies does not necessarily mean this can be extropolated to all societies -- because maybe all the divergent societies in the test cases all shared some common aspect -- such as social-economic class. So the tests are not a valid predictor of all situations because they were too narrow in scope.

Also, since societies change with time, missionary stategies must necessarily change with time. Here in Okla we don't have brush-arbor meetings any more. The CPM book is only a decade old. However, for many rapidly developing areas in the world this is a lifetime.

I agree with several missionaries that the CPM model needs to be supplemented by other models. We need to have a full arsenal of methods that are available depending upon which one works.

Determining the correct model in a given place at a given time may require some bold steps -- not all of which will succeed right away.

I think most people in the IMB -- BoT, management, and front line workers -- are not worried about the heat in the kitchen. They are more focused on the sumptious meal that comes out of the oven.

Jeff Richard Young said...

Dear Brother Wade,

Whether intentional or not, this post seems exactly like "Don't let the door hit you in the bottom on the way out" toward Jerry Corbaley's recent retreat from Baptist Blogging. I wish you hadn't posted this just now.

Love in Christ,

Jeff

Anonymous said...

Roger Simpson - I do not know you but as a IMB m on the field - I appreciate your wisdom - I am not sure how much exposure to CPM methods youhave had - but your words show a lot of insight. I totally agree - the m needs to be given a whole tool box of methods and then he needs to determine the tool that might work best in his particular culture. However the current board leadership has only given us ONE method and doing CPM - the house church and we are told we will be evaluated by it. Everyone - no matter what their area of giftedness has been told they are to use this model. A collegaue of mine who was jsut here visiting me for a week told me in his situaiotn he was told to have a group and yet that gorup was NOT to meet in HIS home. He however works with students who live in small rooms where it is impractocal for more than 3-4 people to fit. And yet he has been given no other options. And he will be evaluated according to out evaulation document on his use of house church methodolgy. Personnel have different gifts and we need to be free to use those gifts. The BoT needs to look seriously at some of the comments on these blogs about CPMs and New Directions - and make some adjustments accordingly. Throw out house groups - NEVER - however expand the menu of options that personnel can use - DEFINITELY.

Anonymous said...

PS to Roger - maybe you need to be an IMB trustee as well. I would vote for you - oops - I am an m - I have no vote. :)

Bryan Riley said...

It hurts nonetheless...perhaps even more when the attacks come packaged with a "holy kiss."

Van H. Evans said...

I want to tell you how much I appreciate what you have been doing, I am "an old retired general flunky" from church ministry spanning the early 50's thru the early 90's.
You speak to my heart and I wish
my wife and I were near enough to meet you and hear you preach.
God Bless You. Keep Blogging!
Van

Wade Burleson said...

Jeff,

Everything I write is intentional.

wade

Anonymous said...

An IMB missionary returning to the field this week...

Thank you Roger Simpson for your observations about CPM and the gifts of missionaries. You are a man of wisdom and keen perception. The missionary on the field who posted just below the Simpson post is exactly correct. There has to be more than one model for a CPM to get started in different cultures and people groups. We will be facing a struggle when we return of trying to fit into the very small box called CPM strategy as defined by our field leadership. We do not how we will fit, or if we will even fit. We are going to do our best, but if we do not fit we will resign or more likely be terminated. Without a measure of flexibility I believe the IMB’s effectiveness in reaching the people groups of this world will be greatly diminished in the years to come.

Jeff Richard Young said...

Dear Brother Wade,

Okay, since your post was intended to speak to Jerry Corbaley's situation, why did you say, "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen." right after he did get out of the kitchen?

I feel like you have won a victory of sorts, by having the fortitude to stay with the blogging process, while Jerry Corbaley came later and is dropping out sooner. But I don't think we should be taunting him as he leaves the field.

Love in Christ,

Jeff

miriam plowman said...

I think I would agree with Roger we do need to be aware "one size does not fit all". Every person is gifted differently and called to do things differently based on where they are and their gift mix at that season and time. I've been slightly troubled by CPM and the emphasis. It seemed to take a slightly different focus... as if to say the new and improved way to be about kingdom work. It was something I've felt like I couldn't quite put my finger on just a vague sense of wrong.

We continue to live in a complex world just as Jesus did. In Matthew 22:15-22 the two groups were only intent in trapping Jesus by their questions of him. So Jesus hears this question and he realizes that they’re not really interested in the answer. All they care about is trapping him. I believe Jesus viewed this as a distraction of an unnecessarily being entangled in the affairs of men. I love that about Jesus. Jesus refused to be distracted by unnecessary entanglement in the affairs of men and he spoke a positive spiritual word.

What did Jesus do? If Jesus didn’t get unnecessarily entangled and distracted by the wrong things, what did he do? Well, Jesus established the church. That’s what he did. You look back in Matthew chapter 16, Jesus did not establish a movement. Jesus didn't call his disciples to be about "starting a church planting movement." Jesus did not establish another political party. Aren’t you glad? Jesus didn’t establish another sect of Judaism. What Jesus did was establishe something that encompassed everyone both Jew and Greek, something that would encompass every sect of Judaism whether you were a Pharisee or a Sadducee or an Essene or a Zealot or a Herodian, whether you were Greek or Roman. Jesus established something that was universal in it’s scope and binding upon all mankind. In Matthew 16 he said I’m going to build my church and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. That’s the biblical context, that’s what Jesus chose to do. He chose to extend the kingdom of God and provide for us its spiritual and physical expression and that is the church, the body of Christ. It continues to exist to this good day.

Let's continue to speak a positive spiritual word. Let's continue to keep open dialogue, refuse to be distracted by unncessary entanglement in the affairs of men and be about the work Jesus has for each of us. And may the kingdom feel the impact as we follow Jesus.

IN HIS NAME said...

I Posted this on BRAD REYNOLD'S BLOG and wanted to share it here.

THE BELIEVER'S STUDY BIBLE
Managing Editor
Paige Patterson, Th.D.
Deuteronomy 4
Deu_4:2 In this comparatively early era of Judaism, one finds more than the seed for the doctrine of “the Word of God.” Yahweh does not want anyone to add to or take from His “commandments” or Word (Mat_5:17, Mat_5:18; Rev_22:18, Rev_22:19).

Deu_12:32 This verse is Deu_13:1 in the Hebrew text and acts as an introduction to the following section on false prophets.

Disciple's Study Bible
Harry B. Hunt, Jr.
Southwestern Seminary

Pro_30:5-6
Holy Scripture, Canonization — The declared wisdom of God, oral and written, is pure. God is a Lord of no deception, and what He reveals has no flaw. It can be counted on to sustain the believer. The reader is admonished not to add or subtract from what God has made known and called His people to follow. See note on Deu_4:2.


I think we have had enough Dancing around GOD'S HOLY WORD, but we need this…

Eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day; to see and observe the gracious dealings of God with them, and to hearken to his voice and obey it: so the understanding heart, the seeing eye, and hearing ear, in things spiritual, are from the Lord, are special gifts of his grace, which he bestows on some, and not on others...

A Brother in CHRIST

Wade Burleson said...

Jeff,

I find that when a person speaks the truth there is no need for taunting.

Also, assigning motives to another person is risky since God alone knows the heart.

Blessings,

Wade

Anonymous said...

Well, good brother, the kitchen is not fully heated yet. As long as money keeps flowing, you best stay alert..I wish you well and you now know how so many others felt over the last years. The Bible is not the issue...And, most likely never has been. A kitchen is a great place for learning what is really true...Nothing like a good kitchen chat!! Blessings...wayne, from alabama

annie said...

Isn't the real "kitchen" the IMB BoT?

Just because someone says that he is not going to blog about IMB matters anymore does not mean that that person will not continue to shape policies and influence other significant decisions at the IMB.

Bob Cleveland said...

I wasn't aware that Jerry Corbaley had stopped blogging on IMB issues until after I read some of the recent comments about this posting being a reaction to that.

I do not see that anyone has asked Wade if that was the case, which I for one would imagine should be done via email rather than here. But I've gotten to know Wade, after a fashion, in the last 6 months, and have seen consistency in his actions. Hence, I would not ask such a question.

Romans 14:4, again.

Anonymous said...

Too bad the SBC is more like the kitchen than it is the kingdom of God. If it were more like the kingdom of God there would not be nearly so much heat!

Jeremy Roberts said...

Wade -
This post is geared toward Dr. Corbaley, and you said it is not a matter of taunting, but simply truth. The quote, "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen." seems to be rather "taunty" to me.

Wade Burleson said...

Jeremy,

Obviously you are welcome to your opinion. I will not argue with your own personal perception, but I will simply say if you are attempting to speak for me then you are wrong, and it would not be the first time you are incorrect regarding my motives. I find it best to let people speak for themselves.

Bill Scott said...

Wade,
I know from personal experience that you will encounter the absolute best people in the world within the Body of Christ. I also know from personal experience that you will meet some of the meanest people on earth within the four wall of a church building. I think you have experienced some of that on a much higher level, on both accounts. "Suffering persecution for His namesake," has certainly taken on a whole new meaning. Keep the faith Brother.

blampp@juno.com said...

Wade,
Though it may be suggested that your comments were directed at someone else, I fail to see how your remarks are a "taunt" toward someone who may hold differing opinions or may choose actions which are different?
I'm also familiar with Dr. Jerry Corbaley's Ministry as a DOM on the North Coast of California.
He seems to be a very effective Director, and I really don't know where he comes down on the issue of "blogging"? I have been reading your posts now since you began and I've observed your demeanor at the SBC. Keep the focus you've expressed all along and I believe you may experience a "little" heat, but that should be expected on the field of service and accountability! Even a good marriage has to be adversarial at times! But, differing opinions are evidence of people who are mature enough to share idea's and, if necessary, take corrective action! I certainly see that in the contributions and commentary from some of our missionaries on the field. It would certainly appear appropriate to encourage the use of "gifts" of differing areas in the role of sharing the "Good News" with people who do not know Christ. I personally like the model of starting house churches, but I don't see that as the only workable model for evangelizing a lost world!

Roger Simpson said...

Wade:

As I said earlier, I agree that there is a lot of "heat" and some of it is directed your way. I think you are doing a large service to the BoT and a larger service to the IMB by providing a platform where issues can be aired.

To me, the thrust of you BLOG topics breaks into two "buckets"

Bucket #1 are topics that YOU raise about the inner workings of the BoT, the need for communication at all levels of the IMB, etc.

Bucket #2 are a selection of topics that are brought up by COMMENTORS to your BLOG which to me rise ISSUES which are right up there with the bucket #1 issues in terms of their relevance to overall IMB operations.

I agree with you that the proposed PPL guidelines that are "beyond the pale of the BFM" are a relevant issue. I agree that internal situations in the BoT about comittee assignments etc. are relevant.

However, there are other items which have recently come up on your BLOG as a result of reader input:

1. Need to pursue a variety of methodoligies as a function of country/people group and time -- not just rigidly adhere to one model (even if that model has proven to be the "best" in many areas)

2. Need to deal with situations with selected missionaries on the field when personnel use input from academic advisors which results in activity in ways which approaches or even crosses over the threshold of insubordination.

3. Need to deal with modification to reporting systems so that there is integrity in the numbers.

Wade, I don't think you have directly raised the above three issues but to me these issues are right up there in terms of scope and timeliness as anything else that has come up in your blog.

If one or more of the above three issues gets a little more attention (I am not implying that nothing is going on presently to address them) then I think the "heat in the kitchen" is worth it.

I think the scope of topics in your BLOG has mushroomed beyond what you might have initially anticipated. As a result your BLOG
has the become a more valuable sounding board than might have otherwise been the case. Maybe this is one reason that there is so much "heat".

Thanks for staying around here. You might have to don an asbestos jacket from time to time. But I think this whole BLOGGING enterprise -- even though it is heading out on uncharted waters and may hit some rocks -- IS WORTH IT.

Anonymous said...

Dear Roger Simpson,

I appreciate your concern as a layman in what is going on at the IMB and your desire to educate yourself on CPM and new directions by going to the IMB website and downloading information.

As one of your M's, I want to assure you that the organization is healthy and more focused than ever on reaching the last person on earth with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

During the last ten year, under the leadership of Dr. Rankin, the IMB has gone through some of the most monumental changes in its history. New Directions brought a 150 year institution back to its roots of simply asking the question, what is its purpose and infused new life and creativity into the organization, once again, keeping the IMB at the forefront of missions.

With New Directions, came new vision and strategy. CPM is the vision. The strategy for implementing CPM is what is frustrating some of the IMB M bloggers.

These people are being asked to change their paradigms of church planting and adopt a new model. It is difficult for them because in order to adopt this new model, they have to leave behind relationships with churches that do not accept or adopt to the new model. The new model invalidates all the hard work they poured into their ministries within the old paradigm.

The new model of CPM means less control over the process, meaning that some of the churches that are started may not look like a Baptist church in the traditional sense of what these M's have planted in the past. CPMs are also messy. When you have a rapid growth of the church and new believers leading other new believers, there are all kinds of sin issues that emerge that have to be dealt with at the same time that these people are evangelizing and leading others into the church.

However, in defense of CPM, it is not a new concept that was dreamed up ten years ago. There is evidence in scripture and throughout church history of these spontaneous expansions of the church.

Personally, I absolutely love the idea of new believers showing their love for Christ by demonstrating radical obedience to His word, even if it calls for immediate change in their personal behaviors. Radical testimonies just add fuel to the fire!

My wife and I have been serving for nearly ten years in a very difficult area desiring to see CPM happen among our hard to reach people group, but it is not happening...yet. It would be easy for us to get discouraged and start lashing out saying CPM does not work in our context, or blaming our leadership for making us adapt to a cookie-cutter approach.

But NO, we have not given up on the vision of one day seeing multitudes from our people group surrounding the throne with palm branches in their hands praising Jesus through eternity! We keep pushing on learning language, training those locals who also share our vision, actively looking for new opportunities to share the gospel with the lost around us and looking for new insights or methods that other M’s working in neighboring areas with similar contexts.

We realize that God is the author of CPM and that we may never see it in our lifetime, but we are not going to scale back our vision and accept less so that it measures up to reality. The width of your vision is directly proportionate to the depth of your burden. We desire that not one of our people parish, but that all have the opportunity to hear and respond to the gospel!

Like William Carey once said "Expect great things from God and attempt great things for God". The eternal reward that motivates this M is to one day hear the words "well done by good and faith servant".

It sounds to me like some of my fellow IMB M’s are succumbing to the old “we’ve never done it that way before and it won’t work because you don’t understand our context" mentality. The excuse that students live in a dorm and don’t have a place to meet just doesn’t fly! If they desire Jesus, they’ll find a way. Can’t meet in the M’s house, be creative! There has to be a place to meet. What about a coffee shop or park?

The IMB does not need to back away from CPM. It needs more communication, both within the organization and more communication with its constituency.

Sign,
Nothing less than CPM

David Flick said...

Wade, if you choose to post this message, please delete the first one. After reviewing that first post, I detected some spelling errors. This one, I hope, is corrected. No hard feelings will result, however, if you choose not to post it.

--David

=================

Gene Bridges wrote:
P.H. Mell faced against many such person's including one Russell Renneau, who in his day, was out to exterminate what we call Calvinism. This is what he had to say about Renneau: "Calvinism has never heard of him before, and if its advocates ever think of him hereafter it will never be in a connection flattering to his vanity." It's worth noting that Baptists today know much about Mell, and Renneau is not only not fondly remembered, he is hardly remembered at all.

Gene, I beg to disagree with your evaluation of memories Mell and Renneau. I submit that, among Southern Baptists, fewer that one in a thousand knows who P. H. Mell was. Among Southern Baptist preachers, I submit that fewer than one in 200 knows who he was. Unless one is a Calvinist or a Reformed Baptist, one would have no reason to know who he was. In the grand scheme of Southern Baptist history, Mell is probably best known for having served 15 terms as President of the SBC(between 1861 - 1886) That he was a Calvinist is the reason Reformed Baptists remember him.

Reformed Southern Baptists are loath to point out that Mell was a staunch advocate of slavery.

Mell believed that slavery was ordained by the Bible. He also saw slavery as a political good and the abolition movement as a political evil. He reasoned that slavery helped in the accumulation of national wealth, did not oppose the laws of the nation, and did not hinder the acquisition of knowledge, three things which in his mind defined the public good. His view of slavery as a social good assumed that slaves being the bottom rung of the social ladder would help to alleviate social tensions between classes.

Fewer that one in ten thousand Southern Baptists know that he joined most of the early leaders of what became the Southern Baptist Convention in supporting slavery. These early SB leaders included James P. Boyce, John L Dagg, R. B. C. Howell, Jeremiah B. Jeter, Basil Manly Sr., Basil Manly Jr., Isaac T. Tichenor, and Henry Allen Tupper.

These early Southern Baptist leaders were on the wrong side of the slavery question. If they were so woefully wrong about believing that the Bible supports slavery, what's to say that they just might be wrong about Calvinism? :-)

Bill said...

This is in response to the Anonymous M's response to Roger Simpson.

Anon M: Dear Roger Simpson,

I appreciate your concern as a layman in what is going on at the IMB and your desire to educate yourself on CPM and new directions by going to the IMB website and downloading information.

Anon M: As one of your M's, I want to assure you that the organization is healthy and more focused than ever on reaching the last person on earth with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Bill: A number of Ms would disagree with you on the healthy part. While we are focused on reaching all peoples on earth, we are not ministering to the whole person, at least not in parts of Asia. No one in our region is evaluated according to how many poor people they helped, how many hungry they fed, or how many orphans they assisted. The only evaluation is CPM. So in the sense that we are not ministering to the whole person, we are not healthy, at least not in our region. What region are you in?

Anon M: During the last ten year, under the leadership of Dr. Rankin, the IMB has gone through some of the most monumental changes in its history. New Directions brought a 150 year institution back to its roots of simply asking the question, what is its purpose and infused new life and creativity into the organization, once again, keeping the IMB at the forefront of missions.

Bill: It appears you are unaware that it was under the leadership of Dr. Keith Parks that the IMB began to focus on truly reaching all peoples. It was under Dr. Park’s direction that Cooperative Services International, the vehicle through which the IMB was to reach World A, came into being. Dr. Mike Stroope, former Area Director for CSI and currently professor of Missions at Baylor University’s Truett Seminary, began to employ in CSI what were considered radical ways to reach the lost and reach all unreached peoples. The New Directions, as Dr. Rankin termed it, was simply a continuation of the “old” direction CSI was already heading in for some time. Much of what you see happening today throughout the IMB is simply an extension of what was begun by Dr. Stroope during the CSI days when the IMB's organizational entity for reaching World A was called CSI. Some of today’s regional leaders were part of CSI.

Anon M: With New Directions, came new vision and strategy. CPM is the vision. The strategy for implementing CPM is what is frustrating some of the IMB M bloggers.

Bill: CPM is a methodology, just one of many, for seeing as many people come to Christ as quickly as possible. It is NOT the vision. The enforcement of using only one methodology while neglecting others that may be just as useful is what is frustrating some IMB M bloggers.

Anon M: These people are being asked to change their paradigms of church planting and adopt a new model. It is difficult for them because in order to adopt this new model, they have to leave behind relationships with churches that do not accept or adopt to the new model. The new model invalidates all the hard work they poured into their ministries within the old paradigm.

The new model of CPM means less control over the process, meaning that some of the churches that are started may not look like a Baptist church in the traditional sense of what these M's have planted in the past. CPMs are also messy. When you have a rapid growth of the church and new believers leading other new believers, there are all kinds of sin issues that emerge that have to be dealt with at the same time that these people are evangelizing and leading others into the church.

Bill: So how do you deal with these sin issues while continuing to evangelize and lead others into the church? Many CPMs sputter out because of sin issues. They need to be dealt with.

Anon M: My wife and I have been serving for nearly ten years in a very difficult area desiring to see CPM happen among our hard to reach people group, but it is not happening...yet. It would be easy for us to get discouraged and start lashing out saying CPM does not work in our context, or blaming our leadership for making us adapt to a cookie-cutter approach.

Bill: How would you feel if your Regional Leader told you that you must see several new churches that start reproducing within the next 12 months or you will be reassigned? I assume your RL has not said such yet. How would you feel if your RL told you that you were evaluated at a "C" because you didn't have a CPM going while your colleauges who are seeing CPM are graded at an "A." Would that encourage you? It is a valid suggestion to ask for more than simply one cookie-cutter approach. Why not have several? What if you spend your entire life trying to reach CPM and fail, when if you had tried another way you may have succeeded?

Anon M: We realize that God is the author of CPM and that we may never see it in our lifetime, but we are not going to scale back our vision and accept less so that it measures up to reality. The width of your vision is directly proportionate to the depth of your burden. We desire that not one of our people parish, but that all have the opportunity to hear and respond to the gospel!

Bill: Vision is one thing. A methodology to see the vision fulfilled is an entirely different thing.

Anon M: It sounds to me like some of my fellow IMB M’s are succumbing to the old “we’ve never done it that way before and it won’t work because you don’t understand our context" mentality. The excuse that students live in a dorm and don’t have a place to meet just doesn’t fly! If they desire Jesus, they’ll find a way.

Bill: Then why don’t you serve your people for free? Stop receiving support from the IMB today. If you desire Jesus enough, he’ll provide for you, won’t he? Then you would have a real testimony, some real weight behind those words you just mentioned.

Anon M: The IMB does not need to back away from CPM. It needs more communication, both within the organization and more communication with its constituency.

Bill: The IMB needs to consider other methods in addition to CPM. I think you will see this happening within the next 5-10 years. I wish you the best and pray your people will soon come to know our Lord. Just be careful not to make CPM your God.

Anon M: Sign,
Nothing less than CPM

Bill: Signed,
Realizing there is so much more than CPM

Roger Simpson said...

Mr. "Nothing less than CPM":

Thanks for your post.

I'll conceed a number of points:

1. Just because CPM may not YET be working in your area after 10 years does not mean it is the wrong model. Who's to say that any model would work better? The Bible gives us examples of places where the Gospel does not fall on fertile ground.

2. Even if CPM could be shown not to be a "good" model, that doesn't mean God can't use it. After all God's plan moves forward based upon imperfect human activity such as the "foolishness of preaching".

3. I agree that you just can't always keep doing stuff the "same old way" -- you sometimes have to "break the mold" and explore other methods. I also agree with you than change can be difficult for some to accept. I also agree that there can be institutional inertia at work to stifle implementation new methods -- such as CPM.

However, I still believe that the IMB is making a mistake of not CONTINUALLY looking at new ideas. Maybe the CPM was/is the best model. Maybe it is better than any other model (or was 10 years ago).

Viable organizations are always looking at the feedback from existing operations and making midcourse corrections as needed. At the very least, the IMB should run a couple of test cases using other paradigms.

For example, in the area where you are now: How about trying some different method in a subset of your area? You have everything to gain and nothing to loose.

I know intuitively that the CPM is not the ONLY model that will work. How do I know this? I go to a church right now that is not using this model. Is my church (in this context I mean the local congregation I attend) perfect? NO. Is is reaching people for Christ? YES. Have people's lives been radically transformed? YES.

My church happens to be using what I guess is the "default" model here in the Bible Belt. We have a building, we have Vacation Bible School, we have a Bus Ministry, we have AWANA, we have a 100+ member choir, we have Sunday School, etc.

Much of that stuff may not be relevant elsewhere but it is at least one model that works "OK" here. Could we be doing better? Yes. Would doing better mean changing our model or at least tweaking it? Probably.

Your argument to make a radical transformation is valid. But you can't have it both ways. You can't say 10 years ago: "We need a radical transformation and so we are going to CPM" and then implicitely say now: "We don't need to do any evaluation of our methods because we can only accomodate one transformation -- either radical or incremental -- per generation". The same agument that motivated you to adopt CPM earlier is motivating you to augment your "tool box" now.

If the IMB doesn't address unique niche markets then then some other missionary organization, parachruch ministry, and/or national group will. So the question is not, "Will the needed changes happen?". The question is, "Will the IMB continue to be at the forefront or be in the second wave in certain areas?"

By most any criterion the IMB is one of of the most effective organizations doing world wide evangelism. Let's keep up the good work!

imb m said...

Thanks Bill for your response to the Anon M's post.

There is so much more than CPM out there.

We, too, are tired of the "one model only" approach.

CPM has been taught over and over and over in our country. Training has occurred again and again. All of these people went over to "support" by foreigners or fed into a larger established church.

Are we discouraged? No. There are new believers and more are believing.

Is a CPM happening? Not yet.

Will it happen? Only God knows.

And therein lies the heart of the matter!!!

ONLY GOD KNOWS!

Thankfully, our region is supportive of our work, and we've not been given an ultimatum. I pray that other IMB m's would feel the same encouragement to continue on doing what God is showing them to do in their context.

Anonymous said...

Again Roger a timely response - and again none of us missionaries are aksing to do away with CPM - we all hope that it will happen. What we are saying is broaden oyour definition of CPM - allow different tools to be used - in several Asian coutnries (at least three that I am intimately acquainted with) it is not cultural appropriate or the practice ot have people - especially ones you are not extremely familiar with - in your home. Instead maybe you would meet them for dinner at a restaurant. And yet the paradigm missionaries in these countries are being EVALUATED on consists of one involving planting house churches in homes - and missionaries are emphatically told it is not to be THEIR home. I had one set of colleagues who tried for 2 years to find someone who would allow them to meet in their home - and to no avail - it was just totally against the grain of the culture. So why not give misisonaries in these coutnries the freedom to maybe try some different models to develop a CPM - it might not look like the house model - however maybe it would be better. And if it worked - please do NOT take it and then make everyone use that method. Missionaries need a tool box of methods, then they need to examine the cultural factors impacting the use of these tool, and then they may have to try severla different tools or invent a new tool before they find one that is effective. For the misisonary who wrote to in lemming like fashion blindly follow a method that is unproven - is not only unwise but poor stewardship of the resources that we have been given. Much of this reminds of the field of education which I have had several family members involved in - and everytime a new "fad" comes along and one teacher makes something work in a certain place among a certain group of students - suddenyl if that method is publicized everyone thinks - aw- this is the magic formula to make us a success - without consdiering the personality of the teachers involved, the socio-ecnomic makeup of the students, and numerous other factors. Then everyone is made ot get on board and then after a few years they realize - this is not working and they go back and try to find another method. Remember new math - what a disaster. The Gospel is far more imporatant than educaiotn and yet we seem to use the same approach in disseminating it. If God has truly called our misiosnaries - can we not trust Him to lead them, equip them and show them His methods for their field. yes educate them, show them them as many methods as are possible - but then let them take them and run with them.

Anonymous said...

Using Christ as an example, did He use only one method? NO! he fed, healed, raised, preached, prayed, taught, helped with people's personal business and finances (Peter's nets) led by His life, and proved it by total sacrifice. Also, he never stepped back from printing out the foolishness of the religious leaders, all who were seminary educated.

hhhhhhmmmmmmm, wonder what we might learn from Him if we stopped listening to the ways of the world.

Anonymous said...

Dear Bill,

Thank you for your response.

1. I agree with you that it can be challenging to minister to the whole person while focusing on the masses. I also feel this tension within my own work, but it doesn't stop me from wanting to see my entire UPG come to faith. That is why I spend at least 3-4 days a month on the front lines doing EV, D and training. Having a personal relationship with some of the people has helped me to keep it personal and also has given me opportunities to minister holistically to local believers. You are right that some in our organization over emphasize the great commission at the expense of the great commandment.

2. I used to work under the old CSI and am well aware of the changes that were in progress prior to Dr. Rankin's appointment as president. You misunderstood my point. My point is that the IMB has gone through more changes in the past ten years on his clock that during any other time in its history.

3. I concede. CPM is not the vision, but there is no better way of empowering the masses of new believers with the tools to reproduce new churches. The alternative to multiplication is addition, which is good, but not the best. There are many methods that can be implemented. However, there are some universal elements of CPM that must be addressed and NOT compromised;

1. Prayer
2. Abundant Seed Sowing
3. Intentional Church Planting
4. Scriptural Authority
5. Local Leadership
6. Lay Leadership
7. Cells or House Churches
8. Churches Planting Churches
9. Rapid Reproduction
10 Healthy Churches

Whatever method you choose to use to intentionally plant churches, you must model something that is reproducible.

4. Sin issues are dealt with as soon as we become aware of them. Paul spends more than 30% of his writings addressing sin issues among the churches. Why would we expect less?

5. Bill, it is a reasonable expectation of your regional leader to expect every team to be planting churches or on the way to planting churches. If you are trying everything imaginable and asking for help from leadership and nothing happens, then that is a different story.

Let's keep things in perspective. Before you can have a CPM, you must have at least one healthy church planted. Before that you must have believers and new believers. Before that, you must have the languauge and the appropriate method of sharing the gospel (illiterate vs. literate methods), before that, you must have some cultural understanding of your people. Evaluatins should be based on where one is on the continuum and based on whether the person is moving forward, floundering or making no progress.

If your RL is actually giving you grades "A", "B", "C", that communicates the wrong message. An alternative would be to give "always exceeds requirements", "usually exceeds requirements", "meets requirements", "occasionally failed requirements", and "fails requirements".

Longevity on the field does not always correlate with competency. If someone on the field with less experience than me is getting to the next level before me, then I'm going to go pick their brain and see what I can learn from them. I may have more experiences in some areas of ministry because of my longevity, but if he/she is getting to the next level of ministry that I've yet to achieve, then that person has gained new competencies that I need to learn.

6. Bill said, "Then why don’t you serve your people for free? Stop receiving support from the IMB today. If you desire Jesus enough, he’ll provide for you, won’t he? Then you would have a real testimony, some real weight behind those words you just mentioned."

Because I'm a Southern Baptist and the leaders of my church laid hands on me and sent me "via" the IMB to reach my people group for Christ.

Bill, it was really a cheap shot to suggest that I resign. It is not me but you who is not in agreement with the new directions and CPM.

Respectfully,
Nothing less than CPM

Anonymous said...

Dear Roger,
Thanks for your response. I would like to make a few comments as well.

1. Just because CPM may not YET be working in your area after 10 years does not mean it is the wrong model. Who's to say that any model would work better? The Bible gives us examples of places where the Gospel does not fall on fertile ground.

CPM M Said: You have hit upon a good point. Sometimes we get confused and believe that we are soil testers when in fact we have only been commanded to sow seeds. But when that seed hits upon the right soil, it will reproduce 30-60-100 fold.

2. Even if CPM could be shown not to be a "good" model, that doesn't mean God can't use it. After all God's plan moves forward based upon imperfect human activity such as the "foolishness of preaching".

CPM M said: I believe that CPM is a good model. I honestly believe that the difficulty comes from the fact that we are products of a non-reproducible model and we are carrying that baggage with us as we implement a new model.

3. I agree that you just can't always keep doing stuff the "same old way" -- you sometimes have to "break the mold" and explore other methods. I also agree with you than change can be difficult for some to accept. I also agree that there can be institutional inertia at work to stifle implementation new methods -- such as CPM.

However, I still believe that the IMB is making a mistake of not CONTINUALLY looking at new ideas. Maybe the CPM was/is the best model. Maybe it is better than any other model (or was 10 years ago).

Viable organizations are always looking at the feedback from existing operations and making midcourse corrections as needed. At the very least, the IMB should run a couple of test cases using other paradigms.

CPM M Said: The IMB is looking for new ways. The organization realizes that with the new emphasis on CPM, that other traditional minisitries, such as medical ministries are being affected. That is why they are planning meetings this summer to address the needs.

For example, in the area where you are now: How about trying some different method in a subset of your area? You have everything to gain and nothing to loose.

CPM M said: Good point! Right now I have six different areas where I am working among my people group. I am trying different strategies in each area.

I know intuitively that the CPM is not the ONLY model that will work. How do I know this? I go to a church right now that is not using this model. Is my church (in this context I mean the local congregation I attend) perfect? NO. Is is reaching people for Christ? YES. Have people's lives been radically transformed? YES.

My church happens to be using what I guess is the "default" model here in the Bible Belt. We have a building, we have Vacation Bible School, we have a Bus Ministry, we have AWANA, we have a 100+ member choir, we have Sunday School, etc.

CPM M said: Yes, you have touched on a valid point. Our methodologies have limited our effectiveness. I'm sure your church is filled with great Christian people who love the Lord and want to serve Him with all their heart. But I would guess to say that the majority of your city is unchurched and unreached. You have two alternatives, compare yourselves to other churches, pat yourselves on the back and say "we were second in our association in baptisms this past year" (which may number in the 100's) or you can cry out to to God and say, "Lord help us! Our masses in our city are dying and going to hell why we keep on doing the same thing". Lord, what is it going to take to reach them?"

Much of that stuff may not be relevant elsewhere but it is at least one model that works "OK" here. Could we be doing better? Yes. Would doing better mean changing our model or at least tweaking it? Probably.

Your argument to make a radical transformation is valid. But you can't have it both ways. You can't say 10 years ago: "We need a radical transformation and so we are going to CPM" and then implicitely say now: "We don't need to do any evaluation of our methods because we can only accomodate one transformation -- either radical or incremental -- per generation". The same agument that motivated you to adopt CPM earlier is motivating you to augment your "tool box" now.

CPM M said: I agree with you on this point. There is a tension in CPM with what to do with Christians who do not want to demonstrate obedience. We simply do not have a mega-church to accommodate them so we end up losing them.

If the IMB doesn't address unique niche markets then then some other missionary organization, parachruch ministry, and/or national group will. So the question is not, "Will the needed changes happen?". The question is, "Will the IMB continue to be at the forefront or be in the second wave in certain areas?"

By most any criterion the IMB is one of of the most effective organizations doing world wide evangelism. Let's keep up the good work!

CPM M said: Roger, the IMB cannot possibly meet every niche. It is going to take the entire body of Christ to fill all the niches. What the IMB has done is identified it's niche and that is church planting, including evangelism, discipleship and leadership development. My GCC friends understand what the IMB niche is and appreciate the contributions that we are making to the Great Commission. Because of the cooperative program, the IMB is THE leader in opening new frontiers to new UPGs and cities. Other GCCers usually follow us in to these new areas.

Respectfully,
CPM M

Roger Simpson said...

IMB Missionaries:

Thanks for such cogent answers to issues that I and others have raised regarding CPM and how it fits into the total work of evangelism and church planting.

Obviously, I don't have much standing to even broach these issues, since I don't have any training in missions. [My background is BSEE/MBA -- management of software engineers --with a few not-for-credit seminary courses tossed in]

My reason for my previous posts is that I was "listening in" to what several missionaries were saying. I guess in a small way "I am feeling their pain".

I apologize to everyone for trying to insinuate in an inappropriate manner into the workings of the IMB.

I won't say any more about CPM except to say that for some it is still a work-in-progres. My previous points will stand or fall on their own merit.

I agree that:

1. Whatever "church" is established that it must be a model that is reproducable.

2. Stadium evangelism, sports ministries, medical ministries, etc. are excellent tools but they must supplement -- not replace building of churches. (Of course when I say "building" I am not necessarily talking about the First Baptist Church type building or any brick and mortor building for that matter)

3. Whatever we are doing stateside is certainly not optimal -- not even close. Here in Oklahoma City probably half (or more) of the population doesn't darken the doors of any evangelical church in a six month period.

For me, this whole thing has really opened my eyes. Words can not even begin to express how I hold you guys in awe.

I know a fellow engineering grad who quit an engineering job - went to medical school at UT and then worked as an MD in a Baptist Hospital. He was at the Baptist hospital in Yeman before the tragic incident. A real cool guy and he also had a red '57 T-Bird. Personally, I drive a Vette.

I'll keep all you guys in my prayers. May the Lord bring in His harvest using the workers at hand as well as those workers that he is drawing in to take up this work!

Woudn't it be great if in a year's time EVERYONE is on board! Wouldn't it be great if things were running on all 8 cylinders!

Anonymous said...

Roger,
There are many IMB misisonaries that might disagree with you - however there are many, many that I have talked to that share your concerns - so I do not think you need to apologize. In fact I think you bring some fresh thinking to the entire subject - and I believe hat you do not have to have a theological degree to be able to see what could posisbly be policy - or at least a policy tha tmight need broadening. So keep up the constructive criticism of CPM - as I read the posts on this plog alone the sentiment by and large with one or perhaps two exceptions among ur misiosnary personnel is that CPM is perhaps defective, it is not working in most places - in spite 10 years of being touted as the magic answer - and in many places it has produced discouraged missionaries who are being evaluated on their implementation of a policy that they have tried and has produced nothing. Keep asking the hard questions.

TruthOfActs said...

Wade,
Genembridges made a good comment starting with Paul. Paul faced stoning by Christians of the Jerusalem Church in Acts 21:22. “…I have faced grave dangers---from men who claim to be brothers in Christ.” (2 Cor11:26)

Christians love their fellow brothers and sisters until Christians turn into religious Christians.
There is no loathing worse than religious hatred. God’s prophets of old were stoned, witches drown, heretics burned, wars fought, excommunication, missionaries fired, missionary applicants rejected; and all in the name of God
Jesus warned: “Beware of the teachers of religion.” (Mark 12:38 Luke 11:52)

Wade, you are way short of being called all the names Christians have been called by fellow Southern Baptists. Some other names are barnacles, parasites, skunks, and non-Bible believers. You may recall a few recent ones: prodigals, wayward, and odds with God and his Word

Among Christians, I don’t believe Jesus ever intended a kitchen.

Rex Ray