January 13, 2009

Leadership Interview - Emmett Dunn

This is the first in a new series of Leadership Interviews. Emmett Dunn is the Director of the BWA Youth Department as well as the Director of all BWA Major Meetings. Emmett, thank you for your global ministry and ongoing concern for emerging Baptist leaders.

Q: Can you give us a brief overview of some of the most recent developments, challenges and/or opportunities that have faced the BWA Youth Department?

Emmett Dunn: The key challenge facing the Youth Department is balancing the different understandings of “who is a youth/young person?” The BWA seeks to serve people between the ages of 13-35 however; each region that makes up the BWA has a different, yet unique, understanding of who is a youth/young person. This gap creates major challenges as it is almost impossible to design international programs that meet the needs of this group. It is certainly not a “one size fits all” approach but one that seeks to fully understand the different group dynamics, taking into consideration the different contexts in which these groups do ministry to include, cultural, political and socio-economic.

Q: What will it mean to be a Baptist leader in the 21st Century and what are some of the necessary skills, opportunities and challenges that will be required of emerging leaders?

Emmett Dunn: Depending on where you are in the world, the word Baptist may mean something different. While the fundamental doctrines seem to be the same on the one hand, on the other, there are diverse views on the issue of worship, women in ministry, authority of Scripture to name a few. Knowing who we are as Baptists will be very important if one must be a leader. In order to be an effective leader one must be able to articulate what is it that we believe and why. The younger generation is not really interested in being aligned with a particular denomination just because their parents where associated with it but in their search, they are looking for value, honesty and acceptability. This will require the leader to be contemporary in style and thinking but never giving in to the temptation of compromising the truth of the gospel.

Q: What one piece of advice, note of encouragement or word of caution would you most like to share with emerging Baptists?

Emmett Dunn: Leadership is difficult but commitment to task and love for the people you are called to lead makes it easier. As an emerging leader, you must first count the cost of leadership and be assured that it is God who has called you to the ministry of service. It is not always a pleasant experience especially when others are critical of you but patience and understanding of people and task will enable you to be the best you can be. Learning from those who have walked the path ahead of you will help you avoid unnecessary mistakes. Always remember to listen well enough to hear and understand what is being said and rely on God for guidance and direction.

Thank you Emmett.

**Check back every Tuesday for a new leadership interview or nominate someone whom you believe best exemplifies contemporary Baptist leadership.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

great interview--I'm looking forward to reading more!