Crisis in congregational health in Baptist churches

Is the grass greener on the congregational polity side of the fence? No.

The [Baptist] Biblical Recorder interviews Bill Wilson, the new president of the Center for Congregational Health:

Wilson said churches and ministers are “in crisis.” Coming from the man who rode back home to North Carolina from the pastorate of First Baptist Church in Dalton, Ga., charged with helping churches be healthy, that’s a breath sucking observation.

“We’ve got to help congregations figure out how to do church that works,” said Wilson during an interview in his Winston-Salem office, just behind Wake Forest University Baptist Hospital. Baptist Hospital and the Baptist State Convention provide foundational funding for the hospital’s division of pastoral care, of which the Center for Congregational Services is one of four departments.

Wilson said with many churches spinning their wheels in a culture that discounts them because they haven’t stayed relevant, “vigilantism” among frustrated members is showing its head. “Frustrated with the church’s inertia, some members are taking matters into their own hands,” Wilson said. “They’ve tried to effect change through the church’s own pathways and can’t get anywhere. So they say, ‘If you won’t listen to us, we’ll have a palace coup.’”

“We are in epidemic status, Code Red, DEFCON 4, however you want to say it. We are in pandemic mode in terms of conflict in local congregations,” said Wilson, who has seen a spike in recent months in both the number and depth of conflict.

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