EP 196 – THE IMPORTANCE OF REVITALIZATION AND REPLANTING
The boys are back from the Big Easy and SBC23 and take some time to stop down and talk about food, connections, fun and Resolution One from this year’s convention: On the Importance of Revitalizing and Replanting. Listen in on the conversation between the guys and Luke Holmes, Pastor of FBC Tishomingo, and author of resolution one from this year’s annual gathering in New Orleans.
Read more of Luke’s writings here
JimBo Stewart: [00:00:00] Here we are. Back at the bootcamp. Back at it again, Bob. I hope you’re ready for the next episode. Have you recovered from the amount of char grilled oysters you consumed in the city of New Orleans? I think you had char grilled oysters like four times
Bob Bickford: I think five,
JimBo Stewart: five.
Bob Bickford: counting the Fred Luter, dedication at the, new Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, which was a blast, by the
JimBo Stewart: Yeah, that was incredible.
Bob Bickford: Got a brass band playing when the saints go marching in. And Fred and his wife and everybody kind of marches in the student center and they have the unveiling of his picture.
And I was in the student center, not because I thought Fred was gonna be there, but because I was sweating buckets, because New Orleans is a humidity fest. And, Jimbo, I think I was glistening on a regular basis about 98% of the time.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah, I think I was probably like 20 years old before I realized that’s not what everyone does at all times. like I just thought everyone glistened during the majority of the year, so,[00:01:00]
Bob Bickford: Well, it was fun. You know, I think we had some good experiences in New Orleans. Got to see a lot of friends, got to see some bootcamp listeners and connect with folks, and we did eat, or at least I certainly did eat a fair amount of char grilled oysters, so it was a good time.
JimBo Stewart: where were your favorite oysters at? Which ones were your favorite ones? Um,
Bob Bickford: Yeah. You know, I, I think I’ll rank them. I would say, new Orleans, Orleans, food and Spirits is number one. And it took us about an hour to get in there. we saw it was a Baptist who’s who that was in the waiting,
area too, Dr. Jeff or from, gateway Seminary. And I didn’t go up in greed.
You know, I, I don’t know that I’ve met him personally before. I think I shook his hand once. He doesn’t know who I am. Right. So, but you know, George Ross was there with the Send New Orleans team. It was great to see them. There was a contingent from the Kentucky Baptists that were there, so it was kind of good.
And then we were there. So, I mean, we didn’t make the, the annual book of reports this year. Jimbo disappointed, but, we were there nonetheless. So I would go seafood, new spirits. I would go then Dragos and then [00:02:00] Moots, probably would be my ranking.
JimBo Stewart: My favorite, were actually the ones at Fred Looter’s, celebration.
They came right off the grill right there. so you had to wait a few minutes to get ’em. At least the ones I got came right off the grill. So they were good, man. You know, we didn’t make the book of reports, but in a way We kind of made the resolutions,
Bob Bickford: Yeah.
JimBo Stewart: I mean, not the replant bootcamp specifically, which I have my qualms for why it wasn’t mentioned, and we’ll get to that. but the idea of replanting and revitalization was resolution number one. And so Bob, uh, I want to say, whereas the Southern Baptist Convention.
Was an enjoyable time for the most part, and whereas there were moments that were not super enjoyable and whereas we now move on from there back into our daily ministry lives, I am resolved that the most important thing that came out of Southern Baptist Convention was resolution number one.
Bob Bickford: Be it resolved, Jimbo, [00:03:00] be it resolved.
JimBo Stewart: you could hold your ballots in the air and let us know. if you agree and vote on resolution one being the most important thing to happen at Southern Baptist Convention, the yays have it. You can put those down and, you can raise your ballots to say otherwise. And no one, no one said that because everyone agrees with us.
Bob Bickford: Indeed, indeed.
JimBo Stewart: Hey, we have the author of Resolution one, with us good friend, Luke Holmes. Luke, introduce yourself to the bootcamp. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Luke Holmes: Hey, thanks for having me on, guys. my name’s Luke Holmes. I’m pastor at First Baptist Tingo. Oklahoma, I’ve been here, Easter was 12 years, and, Tish Mingo is a small town. About 3000 people tried between Ravi and Mill Creek, if that helps you any. it’s in the southern part of Oklahoma we really enjoy it.
So, I have a wife and three daughters and, my oldest was real excited. This was her first, uh, Southern Baptist Convention. She loved yelling. Second when it was time for it, and, uh, She wants to be a lawyer and she said I could be a [00:04:00] convention lawyer. I was like, no, don’t do that. That’s, that’s a lot of headache.
JimBo Stewart: Absolutely. hey, this isn’t the only resolution that you, you’ve written. We did a, an episode last year, on a resolution that you wrote. I.
Luke Holmes: Yeah, last year I wrote about rural churches and, you know, I’m, I’m a bit of a nerd, a history nerd, especially in going through resolutions. I noticed that, you know, we’ve never even until last year had a resolution that had the word rural, even in it.
JimBo Stewart: Wow.
Luke Holmes: So, you know, that’s the majority of the churches in the sbc and I think it’s just important.
I had lots of guys come up afterwards and say how important that was and that it made them feel valued and, uh, important and partnered to the sbc. So I was glad to be able to do that.
Bob Bickford: Man. I love that, Luke, and, you came on the radar last year certainly with that resolution, and I know we were visiting. prior to official business opening, at this year’s sbc and, you mentioned, that you had written, this resolution and, few [00:05:00] hours later it was right, the first one right out of the gate, and I was super excited.
Now, I was not excited about all of the points of order and the parliamentary inquiries that took us, took us down from the opportunity of being able to discuss. Resolution number one on revitalization and replanting. So I think we missed an opportunity maybe to hear some more, from the messengers about, why they supported it.
But kind of give us the, the backstory when you were sitting, uh, around and successfully had, proffered a resolution the previous, in the previous SBC life, and then this one came along, this was in your mind and your heart. Kind Give us the backstory about what moved you to write this one.
Luke Holmes: Yeah. you know, I had offered some resolutions before that have been turned down for one reason or another, and, I tried to write about things that are important to me. I had somebody approach me about, I. Writing one about something else. And I thought about it and told him, you know, I just don’t, I don’t really care about that.
That’s not my, it’s [00:06:00] important and all that and I’m glad you care. But that’s not my thing. And I’m not gonna say what it was cuz it might be your thing. But, You know, that’s just not my thing. It’s not, you know, I believe in writing about things that are important to you and, you know, I think there’s value in, in doing things that nobody else is doing.
I knew this year there’d be lots of resolutions on. Women or ordination or those things. And so I kind of, my niche has always kind of been, looking to see what nobody else is doing and kind of doing that. And revitalization is important to me. I have, my master’s had a Fo Lucas in that I’m getting a doctorate in that from Southwestern you and my professors, but you have already turned in my grade, so I don’t think I get any boost for this. I didn’t time that out well, but, the, uh, not that I needed a boost, of course, but it’s, you know, I think it’s so revitalization is so contextual and so varied from place to place, and so I just think it’s important. We’ve had one back in 20.[00:07:00] 14 or 15, I think, something like that on it. But it didn’t mention replanting and I just came to think that was really important and something that, that we could agree on.
You know, that’s also something I, I think my resolution last year and this year, it’s something easy to agree with. If you get the. Points of order out of the way and all that, then I think it’s something everybody can agree on. And I’m a, I’m not a fighter by nature normally, and so I kind of went in and do those things.
Everybody can get on the same page and remember, Hey, this is why we’re working together.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah, I thought that was a good aspect of your resolution. Versus maybe some other resolutions that are more contentious items. Like this was one that not only is it easy to agree with, but it reminds us of, kind of what we do and why we do it and, and why we’re about this. and you know, you, you talk about how you’ve read through previous resolutions you’re going through to see what’s there, and it’s not, this is where I see man, we’re.
Wired very differently. like I, I don’t even like reading the resolutions of that [00:08:00] year. like I’m always like, when it comes time to vote, I’m like scanning real quick and like seeing if this is something I think. And then if I didn’t get time to read it, I look for somebody that I know that I think, yeah, I’ll probably would vote the same way they would vote on this issue.
I just wait to see what they do and, and see. And that makes
Luke Holmes: I set out. To tell you how big of a nerd I am before Covid, that January before Covid, you know, I’m in Oklahoma. I set out, I thought I’m gonna read every annual from Oklahoma’s history, and the first convention was 1906. I got up through 1930 or something before Covid hit and I lost track of it. But I’m gonna do that with a convention too.
That’s just the type of nerd I am. So,
JimBo Stewart: So, so let me ask you this then. What, Role do resolutions serve? Like, because one of the things I always hear every year is, don’t get too up in arms about it cuz it’s non-binding, right? Like it’s not a, governing document in the sense that no one actually has to change anything they do based off of what a [00:09:00] resolution says.
So what are historically, even like with Southern Baptist, what is the value of well writing a well crafted resolution. Voting on it, discussing ways to amendment, getting the wording right and getting it through.
Luke Holmes: Yeah, I think there’s value in that. It gives us a way to express, this is how we feel about. Something now they’re non-binding and they only represent the will of the messengers at, at that meeting. I mean, for all we know, the messengers last year could have been against revitalization or something, but they’re only for that year.
But, but I think it’s important in a way, in a way for churches to look to and say, Hey, here’s what. The majority of Southern Baptist feel about this, about this topic. it’s a way for, I think it’s helpful for. Entity leaders or pastors or others, even in communication with the media, kind of the outside world and saying, here’s a statement we made about this.
You know, it’s been vetted and gone through, you know, the resolutions committee last year, bar Barber was the chair [00:10:00] of that this year. David’s Sons was, there’s pastors and theologians, Malcolm Yarnell was on there this year. lay people and kind of get all those opinions in there and get everything vetted and the words the right way.
And then kind of think, you know, this is. This is what we, this is what we think about something and it kind of gives us a reference point. Now over time those opinions change and there used to be a lot of resolutions about alcohol. There’s not as many of those anymore for whatever reason.
There’s always a lot of resolutions about abortion, you know, when there’s war and other efforts, and it’s kind of a way to address current topics. And so I think they’re helpful that way.
Bob Bickford: One of my good friends, miles Mullen, who used to be with the Missouri Baptist Convention is now the chief of staff of the E R L C, and, we were sitting by one another during the second round of voting on resolutions on Wednesday afternoon. And, and I leaned over to Miles and I said, Hey, um, how important are these?
Do, do we need these? And he said, absolutely. They’re important because they really form for us at the E R L C a lot of. our work because [00:11:00] they express the desire of the Southern Baptist Convention. And so I think that’s a, an incredible, opportunity for us when we wrestle through those and, you know, we kind of, fight through the parliamentary procedure and, kind of pick a fight about something else during resolutions.
I think you, you have, helped us really see the history and the focus and the value of resolutions. One thing you mentioned that I just wanted to get your perspective on is, One of the wheres statements says that Southern Baptist acknowledge the diverse approaches and models of church revitalization and replanting, and they recognize that effective strategies may vary depending on the unique circumstances and needs of the individual congregation.
Just give us a background of, of that. I think sometimes, when we are facing a church that’s been in decline, we ask ourselves. man. Is there, is there one thing that’s gonna fix it? Are there a couple things in that statement? You, you were kind of broadening the umbrella to say, it depends and you don’t have a one size fits all thing.
So kind of give us some of your thinking in that particular part of, of the [00:12:00] resolution.
Luke Holmes: Yeah, I think, as I said before, rev vitalization is so contextual and y’all know, going from one place to another, what works in a rural place doesn’t work in the city and, and vice versa. And so, Finding, you know, the diverse approaches and models. I think when you approach something looking for that silver bullet, there’s not one, you know, it’s not looking for the guy who has the best preaching and that’ll fix everything.
And lots of churches think, think that, Thinking that strategies vary depending on situations. You know, we have a local junior college in town and so we’ve tried to reach out to that and uh, other people don’t have that, but they might have a factory in town or any number of things. And, you know, the, there’s something, and to go back to rural churches, the larger the city, the kind of.
More alike. They are in a sense, and they all have their own particular vibe, but they all kind of have the same issues, you know? But rural places especially are so different. There’s not even a good definition of [00:13:00] what the word rural is. I sat by a man in a conference one time and he said, uh, he was from a real small town, how small?
I said, oh, just 35,000. He said, I was like, brother, I’ve got some places to take you. I was like, come with me. I’ll show you a small town, you know, and, the way you revitalize a church in a town of 30,000 is not the same. You do it in a town of 3000. I have a friend who pastors in a town of a hundred, in blue jacket.
That’s a lot different too. You know, it’s just from place to place. And so, one thing I realized, and as I’ve been studying this and, Reading on this, the, for my doctorate and other things, just seeing the diverse amount of, of resources out there. And I, I like the way, the North American Mission Board and you guys have put this together, you know, there’s a lot of thought involved in it and yeah, you, you can pull out some principles and other thing things, you know, but the, the.
Principles are few, but you know, the applications are many, the way you apply it across different places.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah. So one of [00:14:00] the amendments that I was gonna stand at a mic and ask for and, and wondering why, you know, talk about how we have been so influential and helpful to you in the work of church revitalization as your professors, as, as the founders and, and co-host of the Replant Bootcamp. I mean, how come you didn’t include in all your research the other things you added here?
How come you didn’t add the replant Bootcamp as part of the, the whereas or resolved sections?
Luke Holmes: Well, you know, some things are just too hard to measure. They’re just, uh, they’re too big. You know? How do you measure a mountain? I mean, how can you even make sense of it? You know, I do think when you, I didn’t, I can look real quick, but I’m pretty sure there’s never been a resolution with the Word podcast in it
JimBo Stewart: Oh man. How do you go look mean? How do said real quick you could do that? How do you, real quick go search. That
Luke Holmes: Okay. We go to. spc.net/resolutions. So if I can spell it here [00:15:00] on my computer then it lets you search for words. You, you can search by year. This is a great thing they’ve put together. You can search by topic by year, by all sorts of things. I just search for podcast.
It’s not in there. And, you know, maybe that’s a good thing. There’s nothing that Mitchell. Or
JimBo Stewart: h.
Luke Holmes: or anything either, so.
Bob Bickford: Well, there’s always, there’s always room for another resolution. Since you are two for two.
here in a couple years, I think, uh, you might be thread the needle for the trifecta. Get the hat trick, and we would be, we would certainly be, happy to be included as a mention, a specific mention in the resolution.
because I think Jimbo’s still a little sore from us not getting mentioned like we were last year.
On what page was it?
JimBo Stewart: Oh man, I don’t remember now. I used to have it memorized. it was
90. It was either, It was it was, some, I can’t remember which page it was last year.
Bob Bickford: All right.
Luke Holmes: I will say I went and, uh, you know, the first rural resolution, actually I had the idea the year before and [00:16:00] I kind of drafted it and I ran it by Kyle Biman and Matt Hensley and they kinda, and they had helped on some of that year and they, and it didn’t get approved. And then the next year he had started working.
Fernan then, and he took his name off and it did get approved. So just saying maybe that’s, maybe that’s a sign.
I don’t know if that’s on Kyle or Nam or what, but
Bob Bickford: It is Kyle and it is Matt. So maybe there was a, there was some pushback there. Who knows?
JimBo Stewart: Okay, so serious question though, on the 1, 2, 3 fourth, whereas, the scripture argument that you bring, I appreciated this. I like this, you said scripture exhorts believers to persevere in their commitment to the local church, admonishing, them to encourage one another to spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Not to neglect meeting together. Hebrews 10, 24 and 25. you’re, I know there’s an economy of words when it comes to writing something like this. and so this was the, I think the soul scripture kind of reference you used in here. [00:17:00] why do you think that passage and, and what if, if, if you were to add other passages you think that would point to the importance of this, what would those be?
Luke Holmes: Well, that passage is good because you know, to not neglect meeting together, revitalization is hard. And if you are committing to a local church and you know you’re in a church that needs revitalization, that’s hard. You know, I, I would love to go to the big healthy church with no problems, you know, wherever that is.
but sometimes we need that encouragement, that reminder. and I think it’s a reminder too, that revitalization doesn’t. Happen just because of the pastor. The pastor helps and he leads, but it cannot happen without good church members. And so this is not just for, pastors, it’s for church members too, you know, to remember that, you know, it takes everyone working together.
pastor can have the best bylaws and the best, Sermons. But if he has ungodly people, then it does matter. And the church can have no bylaws and kinda run everything by the seat of their pants. If they have good people, it’ll probably work out for the [00:18:00] most part, you know, and so it’s a reminder there kind of, that we need to work together.
other passages, Jesus words to the church in Rev. Revelation are always important about, remember, and return to the deeds from which you came. I’m fascinated by stories, and I love the stories behind a church revitalization. How did a church get where it is? Sometimes it’s by sheer sin, but not usually.
Usually it’s just by. You know, by good intentions and by not carrying things out. And God has worked there in the past, I think lots of times in revitalization. There’s a long to return to the glory days, but I think they don’t even look back far enough, look back even farther at the beginning of the church and how God worked in that when it was small and how it gotta work through pastors and people then to grow it to become something.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah.
Bob Bickford: Okay, Luke, as you consider, wrapping up your doctoral degree, and as you look over the landscape of s BBC churches and you consider replanting and revitalization, what do you see? In terms of our future work, [00:19:00] what’s necessary, where should we head? What are the opportunities?
Luke Holmes: You know, I think the, biggest. Help has to happen at association LE levels. They’re the ones that have the inroads to these churches. Uh, lots of them will not respond to somebody from the Big Baptist board, you know, but, the local association often, and he’s pastored there and he knows them.
He has met with them a lot. It has to start there and then it has to move to the state conventions and, especially for revitalization and for replanting. You know, Nam can bring in a lot of resources and direction and those things, but at some point you’re gonna have to pull out and walk away, and then it’s left then to the local association.
And I think. I think that’s where the value is and everybody kind of learning their role and where Eric can together that way, and I think, when y’all have your annual performance review, you can go to Kevin Zel and say, Hey, we have a messenger mandate here.
JimBo Stewart: There we go. Messenger mandate resolution one. I I do appreciate that you [00:20:00] mentioned Nam as well as, the partnership with state conventions and local associations, cuz we do affirm that, man, it, it really does work best. I mean the most well positioned. Uh, institution in Southern Baptist Life for revitalization is the association.
and, as much as we can be back there cheering ’em on, supporting them, creating resources, providing help, man, that’s what we want to do. And, one of those things that we’re, we’re promoting now cuz we wanna, this is one of those things we put together for that is the replant summit happening, towards the end of August, August 29th and 30th.
You can go back to last week’s episode where we kind of talked through the themes of that, of renew, and, you know, mark Clifton will be there. Mark Hallick, Brian Croft, HB Charles, Jeff Chang, Tim Booker, Andy Addis, some great breakout sessions with Claude King who helped write some of the, The experiencing God stuff.
we’ll have a breakout for the wives. We’ll have Mark Hall and Brian Croft are partnering up again to do breakouts. HP Charles will be [00:21:00] doing a breakout on preaching. Man. It’s gonna be, uh, a good time. Replant summit.com. Where you can go find the information to register for that event, and help us continue to live out this resolution on the importance of revitalization and replanting.
Luke, for everybody listening, I know that they can also find more things written by you, through, life research, uh, and things like that. Tell us just a little bit real quick, on where they can find other things written by you.
Luke Holmes: yeah, you can. I’ve had the privilege right for lifeway research a lot and for the church and other places. all those things. Most of ’em can be found at my website, luke a holmes.com. And I’m on Twitter most of the time, unfortunately. And, And Facebook and all that. So track me down. I’d love to hear it from you.
JimBo Stewart: Thanks for
coming to the boot camp.
Bob Bickford: Man, Luke, thank you so much. It’s been great having you. And, and I just want to commend, our listeners check out Luke’s writing. he is a, a good thinker. He communicates important truth in a clear way, and I think, uh, you’ll be helped by them. So I enjoy reading Luke’s stuff and look forward [00:22:00] to S B C 24 Jimbo and to see what resolution Luke’s gonna bring forth next year.
JimBo Stewart: Absolutely.
Associations, Bob Bickford, church health, church strengthening, How to Revitalize a Church, Jimbo Stewart, Luke Holmes, Models of Replanting, NAMB, New Orleans, No Silver Bullets, Replant Bootcamp, replanting, revitalization, SBC23, Southern Baptist, State Conventions