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A Quest for the Future

(Aaron Blumer,

I’m late doing this but I have to share some thoughts about The Quest workshop that occurred on Tuesday as well as the pizza feed that evening. I “have to,” because it just isn’t right to let some things go un-commended or un-encouraged.

Though I do not get to many conferences, I have observed a disturbing trend at fundamental Baptist conferences: they are getting grayer. I know that isn’t my imagination. In The Quest workshop, Scott Greening briefly summarized the story behind the effort, and that story begins a few years ago at a GARBC annual conference in Pennsylvania. One under-forty pastor said to another, “Can you name five other pastors our age who are here?” He could not.

(Something like that. I’m going on memory here. You can do that in blog posts, right?)

In the months that followed, the Council of Eighteen and a number of under-forty pastors in the association took steps to more actively reach out to the younger generation of Baptist leaders. Several young pastors were invited to participate in discussion at Council of Eighteen meetings. The Quest was formed as a network and then a website and now meets annually at association conferences.

I appreciated Scott’s emphasis as he talked about the thinking behind the effort. I detected a complete lack of interest in being subversive, changing the association, or any of the sophomoric disdain for forbears that pops up (every now and then) among under-forty’s. Rather, it’s about intentionally sustaining what the association is really about across generations.

The aim, as I understand it, is not to widen some generational gap but to bridge it–or maybe erase it. Scott said they’ve been intentionally vague about what the “young” in “young Baptist leaders” means.

At forty-three, I appreciate that. I don’t know if my interest in The Quest is as one of the “older guys” who are encouraged to see what’s happening among the young guys, or as one of the young guys. But when I’ve had the opportunity to show up, I’ve always felt welcome.

The group is growing, and it’s focus remains on being faithful servants of Jesus Christ in His churches and seeing how we can help each other do that through our connections with one another as young leaders. If you’re under forty and missed it this year, plan to join in next year (and if you’re over forty, you’ll be welcomed as well). But The Quest website is up and running every day, so–if you want–you can get involved there at home in your jammies.