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

A Strategic Visioning Process for the SBC

Mark Twain said "most of my life's worst experiences never actually happened." Southern Baptist blogs, including this one, have sometimes peered into the future of the SBC and worried about what "might" happen. As 2008 dawns I think the approach by those of us who have expressed concerns over the narrowing of the doctrinal parameters of cooperation might offer some solutions.

Gary Lockwood, author of Remember the Future, says there are three kinds of people in this world:

(1). Those who MAKE things happen - Inventors

(2). Those who WATCH things happen and complain - Resentors

(3). Those who don't know what's happening - Consentors

Over the course of this year I will offer a strategic visioning process for the Southern Baptist Convention. Vision processes seek to create a compelling picture of a desirable future that often represents quantum change from the past. There are many good things that are occuring in the SBC, but until someone tackles the systemic and endemic problems that are present within the SBC and her agencies, we will often get sidetracked from our mission of advancing the kingdom of Christ on earth.

In leading up to the 2008 Southern Baptist Convention, I will write posts designed to provide solutions to some of the problems we face. Many of these posts have already been written, but will be published at appropriate times, including the first one entitled Character Counts: The People Called Southern Baptists: 'Brothers and Sisters, We Are Not Professionals Nor Politicians: We Are People Who Belong to Jesus.'

The title says it all.

In His Grace,



Bryan Riley said...

And as people who belong to Jesus, along with so many others who are not Southern Baptists but who also belong to Jesus, may we all unite in His love and Lordship!

knnuki said...

Go Wade! This process is desperately needed. I'm for any process which involves self-examination, brutal honesty about the realities, hearkening back to basic principles and VISION.

irreverend fox said...

this is the kind of leadership those in the "reforming" camp(s) have been looking for. like all honest men, I tire of complaining.

let's get on with it or forget it.

if you will work to keep a healthy balance between liberalism and legalism (the two opposite extremes which equally threaten to shipwreck any movement of God) in the SBC then I'm for you.

NativeVermonter said...

Okay, I’ll be the first to admit that I have quite a bit of experience as a Resentor. In fact, I could most likely qualify for an honorary degree. But there does come a point-in-time where a person will ultimately settle into one of these categories. By all means one can certainly decide not to stay in their category of choice but it probably does tend to get harder to leave once you’ve been there for awhile.

I will submit that we do need Resentors to a certain degree because how do you invent unless you see the need for the invention?

John in St. Louis

Media said...

Wade, I'm with you. I agree with mostly all of your posts and I see a need for the process of strategic visioning and also for calling out error and motivating change.

That said, I disagree with this particular statement: "There are many good things that are occuring in the SBC, but until someone tackles the systemic and endemic problems that are present within the SBC and her agencies,, we will often get sidetracked from our mission of advancing the kingdom of Christ on earth."

Until?? Jesus didn't say to wait until bureaucratic issues are solved. The enemy is never happier than when we are distracted. Did you ever see the sign, "For God so loved the world that he did not send a committee"? Jesus and His disciples did not need a SBC to advance the kindgom. Jesus and His disciples did not need to "tackle systemic problems" within a myopic bureacracy to advance the kingdom.

The reason the attendance at SBC conventions is crashing, I believe, is because people are tired of layers of hierarchy and useless bureacracy and just want to get on with the business of Jesus.

As the Nike commercial says, "Just do it." And don't be distracted-certainly don't WAIT- to witness, produce, grow fruit.

Bob Cleveland said...


I know Proverbs 29:18 says that where there's no vision, the people perish. And I also know that "vision" usually refers to some sort of oracle, or message from God. But that word seems also to indicate a mental picture, a gazing at a thing and perceiving it.

Could the reaction I'm seeing, to the Lifeway report about "losing" younger pastors ... their staying away (apparently in droves)... be a result of a failure to have a "here & now" vision of what's going on, as may have been the case with the PPL study, the Klouda case, the Garner Motion, the Integrity of Membership Motion(s), etc?

Like Dr. Phil says, you can't fix what you won't acknowledge, so I hope your plan includes some sort of Spiritual-Visual awakening as to what's already been going on.

Before we all wake up in the midst of a 1950's Pepsodent commercial, wondering where the yellow went.

Chris Johnson said...


Good word!


I'll be listing in bytes...


Belief Matters said...

So you are running for SBC president.

Belief Matters said...

You are assuming the majority thinks things are broken.

William said...

I feel sure that there are many loyal Southern Baptists who, while they do not swallow all you are selling here, do see the need for reform in many areas of SB life. I count myself as one of that number and will heartily support appropriate reform measures.

Anonymous said...

I guess the Sooners were "Consentors" last night... because they certainly had no idea what was happening ;)

Brady said...

Ya'll need to be nice to Wade today. His Sooners let him down big time.

Anonymous said...

First Boise State and now West Virginia. Just love it when OU plays in the Fiesta Bowl. :-)

Anonymous said...

The SBC seems to be moving contiually toward creating an organization instead of the building the kingdom of God. If that is the stated or unstated goal we will fail as a group. The problem with building the kingdom is we dont get to decide whos in or out. God adds and takes away.

Fear seems to be the motivator for most things and I think it is the motivator here for SBC. If you listen closely you hear it....."The bad people are going to take over and we wont know how to manage them and they will question things and ....blah blah blah blah blah. I am tired of it all. Perfect love casts away fear. I think a healthy return to our first love is the answer nothing more nothing less.

Chuck Bryce said...

Not everyone who sees what is happening falls into the category of either complaining or not knowing. How about a group for those who see and agree with a direction, or give their assent, thus becoming Assentors.

Dave Miller said...

Here's the problem: Strategic Visioning (whatever that really means) can only really be done by the established leadership of an organization. The leadership needs to, at the least, be involved.

We can share our opinions and ideas, but "visioning" is a function of leadership.

To the best of my knowledge, the commenters on this blog range from prominent (infamous?) to obscure (Iowa pastors like me). But unless they are among the anonymous commenters, Frank Page, seminary presidents and Agency presidents and BOT chairs are not represented here.

The best we can do is air our opinions and hope to influence others.

Wade Burleson said...

Dave Miller,

You may be surprised what an obscure Iowa pastor can accomplish with persistent, articulate vision casting.

Anonymous said...

First Boise State and now West Virginia; I guess the Sooners were not ready for this game? The Sooners let you down big time, last night... because they certainly had no idea what was happening? I pray when you lead with your bloggers the next six months, you keep your eyes on the ball and know were is the gold line?
Old Gray Fox.