Like many folks, it seems, I have enjoyed following the experiences of the Student.Go MDG team this summer through this blog. If you are a newcomer to this site, it would be well worth your time to go back over the last several weeks and read the blog posts from the students who have been a part of this unique opportunity. I cannot help but consider these students blessed to have had this kind of opportunity; and I cannot wait to see how these few weeks this summer will impact their individual ministries as well as the ministries of local churches and CBF as a whole.
I remember when I was a student, finishing up college and getting ready to start seminary. I remember the struggle of my seminary decision: where was there for a moderate to go? I remember talking with representatives of several seminaries, and so much of the conversation was dominated by the SBC takeover and the conflicts between moderates and fundamentalists. Even in seminary, the history and pain of the takeover hung over our conversations about Baptist history and polity. It sometimes seemed like the history of the controversy was where one started when defining oneself as a Baptist.
As I consider the opportunnity these students have had this summer, as I read back over the impact what they have seen and done has had on them, I wonder if this is not a herald’s trumpet to some of us that a new generation of Baptist leadership will not define themselves in terms of the fundamentalist-moderate controversy. Could it be that a new generation of leadership is finally free of that dark cloud? Could it be that Baptist identity is once again defined not by what “side of the aisle” you sat on but by an understanding of full meaning of “going into all the world and making disciples”?
Several years ago, here in NC, some of us wondered why younger folks in our churches were not more motivated to stand up and fight as fundamentalism swept into power here in our state convention. Perhaps that was the first glimpse of folks who had never known what Baptist life used to be like and what the battles had cost us. Perhaps that was our first introduction to a new generation of Baptists who were looking for an identity that had nothing to do with who we used to be or even who we are now but, instead, who God is calling us to be in the future.
For me, the experiences of the Student.Go team have opened my eyes to the reality that Baptist life is ready to be defined by something more than conflict as a new generation of leaders call the rest of us to open our eyes to the needs of the world we live in. Maybe I am late to the game in realizing this. If so, all I can say is, I am glad to at least be here. Thanks to all of the students who have shared their experiences, and may God continue to use you in mighty ways.