This post is a part of my series on Surviving the IFB Revolution Without Becoming A Revolutionary. In each post, I’m going to suggest something that will enable us young preachers to stay balanced and grateful in the midst of the changes being brought about in out movement because of the internet.
Six years ago, I had no idea what I was going to do. I was working in a ministry in New Hampshire that was downsizing its Christian school and was told that me and my wife would have to go somewhere. I really hoped to stay in New England, but there just wasn’t employment opportunities for me there. I put a resume on the American Association of Christian Schools website and was contacted by Fairview Baptist Church and School in Athens, TN. That turned out to be one of the greatest blessings I’ve experienced in my life thus far.
The pastor of Fairview Baptist Church and my new boss was Jack Scallions. Dr. Scallions is an interesting man. He left a lucrative job early in his life to answer the call to the ministry, he was the student body president at Tennessee Temple Schools and earned two post graduate degrees from Tennessee Temple Seminary. He started a Christian school and Christian camp, has pastored the same church for 39 years, serves as the president of the Tennessee Association of Christian Schools, served on the executive board of Tennessee Temple (until the late 90s). For some weird reason I still haven’t figured out yet, Pastor Scallions has invested a ton of time (probably three to four hours a week for almost five years) into me. For obvious reasons, he is the first person I call whenever I have questions about the ministry.
I’ve had many conversations with Pastor Scallions on the things I write about on this blog. Sometimes, I agree with him. Sometimes, I don’t. But I always feel like there is extreme value in what he says. (He’s been friends with leaders all over the spectrum of fundamentalism for longer than I’ve been alive.) I also feel an extreme amount of gratitude and loyalty to him.
The previous pastor of our church served here for 38 years and is currently a member of our congregation. I don’t always agree with him, but I value his input and often have him read my blog posts before I post them. It makes for some great conversation. I also carry on email correspondence with several older men in the ministry about the topics we young men are struggling with.
I think we young pastors do a great disservice to ourselves and our ministries when we don’t actively seek out mentoring relationships with the older generation of pastors and IFB leaders. I think we should talk to them and get their perspective before we fire off some controversial blog post about our “new views.” One of the dumbest things we can do is to presume that they have nothing to teach us. We might have the knowledge that comes with a DSL connection and a worn out Kindle, but knowledge and wisdom are not the same thing.
Revolutions always devalue the status quo. After all, there has to be something to revolt against. Our culture devalues everything old or old-fashioned. Contemporaneity may be a virtue in 21st century, but it isn’t a virtue in scripture.
I think that before we decide that an older generation are our enemies or have no value to us, we ought to get to know them and give them the honor they’ve earned over a lifetime of ministry. That’s not just smart, it’s