NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–James T. Draper Jr., president of LifeWay Christian Resources, launched a weblog May 22 in cooperation with Crosswalk.com.
“This is new territory for me but I definitely see the value in it,” Draper said. “I have several reasons for launching the blog, but a primary reason is to find a way to more intimately communicate with younger leaders across the Southern Baptist Convention.”
Draper’s blog is a part of the growing weblog section of Crosswalk.com’s News & Culture channel. Crosswalk.com is a member of the Salem Web Network, the nation’s largest group of faith-based websites, with over 40 million page views –- and 4 million visitors -– per month. The address of Draper’s blog is http://www.crosswalk.com/news/weblogs/jdraper/.
“We are thrilled to add Dr. Draper’s insightful commentary to our blogging lineup,” said Tom Perrault, Crosswalk’s executive editor. “He will contribute a great deal to Web-based dialogue on several key fronts.”
Draper stated at last year’s Southern Baptist Convention in Indianapolis his concern that the SBC has been losing its focus on reaching people with the Gospel and failing to incorporate younger church leaders into the workings of the denomination. He published three columns following the annual meeting raising awareness that the SBC needed to “make room at the table” for younger men and women who want to participate in the direction of the convention.
He followed those columns by traveling to several states over the past several months hosting dialogue sessions with younger leaders. He said that during those sessions he developed a better understanding of younger leaders.
“Most of them are conservative and are passionate about ministry,” Draper said. “They want relationships and desire to connect with the denomination. They appreciate the battle for the Bible but do not want to keep fighting a war that has already been won. They feel we’re still itching for a fight rather than building on what has been gained.”
Draper said some of the other points younger leaders made to him are that:
— They do not believe sound theology conflicts with innovative methods. Forms of worship and styles of ministry do not change the substance of the Gospel message.
— They are not seeking positions, but they do not want to be ignored or have their methods of ministry ridiculed. They want to be included and have a voice.
— They feel the SBC is too bureaucratic, and so they question the value of being involved. They believe there is too much duplication and complexity in the SBC entities. They’d like to see a more simple and effective structure.
— They want mentoring and feel they can contribute to mentoring, making it a two-way relationship.
— They wonder why they should support the Cooperative Program when larger churches seem to give only a small percentage of their budgets to the CP.
“They have an energy, passion and creativity to address the culture in which we live with biblical truth and are going to do that with or without the SBC,” Draper said. “If we do not find ways to show them we want them, they will simply walk away. I personally do not want to see that happen and, frankly, we are in the wrong if we allow it to happen.”
Draper said his blog will touch on more than just focusing on younger leaders. He also will post content addressing other issues, some of which will come from his “[email protected]” columns.
“I want to make the blog a place that contributes to the discussions that make Christians and Christianity more relevant and engaging to contemporary culture,” Draper said. “I’m sure I’ll learn a few things along the way but that’s OK. It’s been an educational year for me so far so I look forward to that continuing.”