What Is A Successful Pastor? Reflections From The SBC Meeting

Today at the Southern Baptist Convention’s conference for pastors, I learned that I should be content without resentment in any church, whether big or small that God calls me to. That said, unless I pastor a church of 1500+, triple my attendance or be born to an SBC leader, I will never in my wildest dreams speak at a SBC annual meeting.

I have often spoke of numbers and how they become the idols of a church. It drives me crazy.

In coming days the Southern Baptist Convention must open its eyes to both who it is and who it’s pastors are. When you parade and advance the children of your mega church pastors as your rising stars, you disenfranchise almost every pastor in the room. The average church is less than 100 in attendance and most likely plateaued or declining. In my opinion there is no encouragement for that pastor from a speaker who got to where they are because of the rampant nepotism in our convention.

I remember going to seminary having the president’s men marched in front of me. Most of them were the kids of state leaders and large church pastors. I remember serving in an average church (less than 100 and declining) while these same men were being placed into pulpits.

Young pastors are leaving the SBC left and right and one of the major problems is that we have made the wrong men heroes. One of my heroes will probably never be given the pulpit of the SBC meeting. He serves in a town that is dying and yet has maintained a level membership year after year. Why cant we honor men like that? What about the pastor who loves his people and has given a small poor church 40+ years of his life? Why can’t he speak?

I know this is a rant, but last night I left the SBC thinking that the only pastors that mattered were those that were born to SBC royalty or were placed there by influential men.

At the end of the day we were told to run from making men idols. I know I struggle with pride in myself. That’s probably why last night hurt so much, I know that deep down I was not made from the pedigree that a SBC convention speaker is made from. I desperately want to make more of myself than I should. I guess I need to go back myself to what I tell my church. Wes, remember its not about you, it’s all about Jesus.

Thanks for listening.

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