A friendly dicussion with Les Puryear

Les Puryear is a small church pastor in North Carolina. I like Les a lot, from what I know of him. I met him briefly at last year’s North Carolina Baptist Convention and I follow his blog regularly. (There’s a link to his blog in my blogroll to the left.)

Les posted about a comment Dr. Mohler made at yesterday’s GCR Task Force meeting. He (and several questioners present at the event) asked why there was not more small church representation on the Task Force. I pointed out that I’m pretty happy with the Task Force as it stands. My specific comment was that I wanted the “best and brightest” on the Task Force.

Les and several of the other commenters took special exception to what I said. Les followed it up with another post today you can see here.

I agree with Les a lot of the time. And I see where he’s coming from here in some respects. But I still think God gifts some people in greater ways for leadership and vision. I realize those people are not always in big churches. And being in a small church doesn’t mean that you’re not one of those people. But pastors in large churches have had the opportunity to demonstrate exceptional leadership and therefore inspire a certain amount of confidence for a job like the GCR Task Force.

It’s easy to fall into the stereotype here. Large church pastors feel superior to small church pastors. Small church pastors look at large church pastors have ‘sold out’ on genuine ministry. I think both of those attitudes are wrong and divisive.

There’s no conspiracy. There are some very practical reasons large church pastors often get named to things like this. My point is that I want Johnny Hunt to appoint the people he feels will do the best job on the GCR Task Force, regardless of church size or other criteria.

Here’s where I agree with Les: I certainly agree that SBC leaders should be more aware of the discrepancy in appointments. I’d love to see us work together to have a more balanced representation: pastors, SBC leaders, president, everyone involved. But let’s avoid making it sound like we’re seeing purposeful discrimination. And remember there may be important occasions (GCR Task Force is a perfect example) where having the right people is more important than equal representation.
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