Archive Monthly Archives: April 2012

THE “NEW METHODISTS,” Part 3:
What Has Gone Wrong?

April 27, 2012


Dr. Chuck Kelley is President and Professor of Evangelism at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary




This is the third of a four part series of articles taken from Dr. Kelley’s presentation on the New Methodists. In part one, he walked us through the history of evangelism in the SBC. In part two, he examined our current state of evangelism. In this third part, he explains where we’ve gone wrong. And in the final installment, Dr. Kelley will present a way to fix the problem.


Part 3: What Has Gone Wrong?

Discipleship is the crucial issue. The spiritual state of the farmer (our churches and leadership), not the abundance of the harvest is the root of problems in SBC evangelism. At the end of the day, this is the hard truth staring at me. The best question then, is: What is wrong with us?

First, We are not anointed. The conversion of a soul to Christ is the work of the Holy Spirit. The stirring of a church and community in revival and awakening is a work of the Holy Spirit. Neither of these works of the Spirit are typical in SBC churches today. We are not anointed – that “we” would be you, me and all of us at work in places with little evidence of the activity of the Holy Spirit. We are so not anointed we have come to accept not being anointed as normal.

Second, we have been “atom”ized. Scientists tell us that what looks like a solid wood pulpit is actually a composition of small particles called atoms. Those atoms are actually composed of even smaller particles, which are composed of even smaller particles. Thinking about atomic particles can make one forget that whatever its composition, this pulpit does function as a single large and rather solid-feeling piece of wood. At the end of the day it is a pulpit, after all.
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THE “NEW METHODISTS,” Part 2:
The Current State of Evangelism in the SBC

April 26, 2012


Dr. Chuck Kelley is President and Professor of Evangelism at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary




This is the second of a four part series of articles taken from Dr. Kelley’s presentation on the New Methodists. In part one, he walked us through the history of evangelism in the SBC. In this second part, he examines our current state of evangelism. In the third part, he will explain where we’ve gone wrong. And in the final installment, Dr. Kelley will present a way to fix the problem.


Part 2: The Current State of Evangelism in the SBC

It is important that we understand the true nature of the genius of Southern Baptist evangelism.

It was not the individual methods used that produced such an incredible harvest. Rather, the interaction of those methods with each other created an integrated process described in the New Testament as sowing and reaping. Wheels alone can generate power. But if you add cogs to those wheels so that they form a gear, you multiply the power those wheels produce.

The SBC way of doing church embodied the biblical process of sowing and reaping (see for example 1 Cor. 3:6 “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase”), but these particular interactive methods were not the result of a search for a way to embody that process in churches. The lack of comment on the way these individual methods became an integrated process characteristic of SBC churches is one of the more astounding discoveries of my research. We will come back to this later.

Let’s go back to those baptism statistics that I mentioned in part 1. In 1945 the SBC baptized about 257,000 people. In 1955 the SBC baptized about 417,000 people. But since 1955 the SBC never yet reached the mark of 450,000 baptisms. We doubled in baptisms in ten years, but then could not increase 35,000 in more than 50 years. What happened to the harvest? What happened to the farm?
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Bivocational Ministry, Part 7:
Bivocational Pastors Sharing Leadership
Results in Healthier Churches

April 25, 2012

Dr. Dorsett is a bivocational pastor and church planting missionary in Vermont. He is the author of Developing Leadership Teams in the Bivocational Church and Bible Brain Teasers: Fun Adventures through the Bible. He also serves as a church planting catalyst with the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. He has a passion for helping the next generation discover a meaningful faith and become leaders in sharing that faith with others.

This series looks at the importance of bivocational ministry and bivocational ministers in today’s church. The previous articles in this series are:
Part 1: Bivocational Ministry is a Growing Method for Ministry.
Part 2: Lay People Are Willing to Help Pastors – But Only If They Are Trained.
Part 3: Rethinking Our Perception of Bivocational Ministry.
Part 4: Bivocational Ministry is Normal.
Part 5: Bivocational Ministry Is More Common Than Most People Realize.
Part 6: Bivocational Pastors Must Learn to Delegate.


Many small churches have become accustomed to a single-pastor model of church leadership. Though this model can be effective, it does limit the size of the church because one leader can only accomplish so much regardless of how great a leader that person may be. In larger churches this model may be modified somewhat because there may be a staff of pastors who serve under a senior pastor, but the basic concept is still that the senior pastor has a great deal of authority over the church.

This single-pastor model is especially evident in the preaching and pastoral care ministries of the church. In a small church the pastor is often expected to do almost all of the preaching and pastoral care. Since most pastors enjoy those ministries, they do not mind doing them. But in situations when the pastor is bivocational and has to work a second job, having all of the preaching and pastoral care duties can be challenging.

Not only can preaching and pastoral care be overwhelming for bivocational pastors; but if the pastor does all of these ministries on his own, it creates the impression that the pastor has more authority than the New Testament grants. Once the congregation perceives that the pastor has all the authority, it follows that the pastor also bears all the responsibility for getting everything done. This tension between authority and responsibility can be significant. Yet this is exactly what many bivocational pastors face in their churches. The church expects them to provide most of the leadership in the church as well as to accept most of the blame for any faults in the church. This is not how the church was led in the New Testament; and it often puts bivocational pastors in unrealistic situations.
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