The Reform & Resurge conference is on full force. Three speakers today. First was Darrin Patrick of The Journey Church in St. Louis. Darrin is an SBC'r and a church planter with Acts29. His talk was just perfect for me, exactly what I needed.
He said that your biggest challenge in ministry is yourself. He used James 1:1-4 to talk about how those who walk with God will be a mess because God wants to build our character through trials. The process of going through trials is painful, but we need to focus on the product of trails not the pain of trails. Why would we want to avoid trials when it's the trigger to God's power?
The second speaker was Anthony Bradley. I didn't like it. Seemed like a good guy with something to say, but he didn't get it out.
The third speaker was Ed Stetzer, the church planting and church researcher with NAMB. Great missional stuff. He used Acts 17 to make four points. 1. Acknowledge spiritual questions in culture, 2. Understand culture, 3. Acknowledge the positive and rebuke the negative inside the culture, and 4. Proclaim Christ.
Stetzer said that the HOW of ministry must be determined by the WHO, WHERE, and WHEN of culture, but that the church is currently answering questions that no one in the culture is asking. The church has then become a culture in itself. But what the church needs is to hold two truths in tension, that we mus be contending for the faith (Jude 3) and contextualizing by becoming all things to all men (1 Cor. 9).
Great quote: "Preaching against culture is like preaching against somebody's house. It's just where they live."
Second great quote: "The stumbling block of the cross has too often been replaced by the stumbling block of the church." Most people aren't being recruited by other religions, they are being repelled by ours.
Today I was able to sit with Kevin Cawley and Brian Brown. We had some discussion after the day ended with Kevin, Brian, Bruce Chant, Bill Streger, and Pete Williamson. I also met a handful of other bloggers and blog readers.
Sidenote: I'm reading and planning to blog-review Stetzer's new book Breaking the Missional Code soon. The book is about how Tom Hanks finds the code for missional theology in the glow of Thomas Kinkade paintings. Okay, not really. But it's very good so far.
For lunch we had it catered by a local barbeque restaurant, Porter's Place. Wow, was it good. We were told to be sure to "meet the man." So we saw a guy who we figured was "the man" and asked if he was. He said no but went and got "the man." "The man" is no man, but one of the most powerful hot sauces I've ever experienced (and I've experienced a couple of very hot ones). That's "the man" that I tasted a drop of on the toothpick (see pic). Literally burned my mouth and made my eyes water for 15 minutes or more.
Tomorrow, more Ed, Josh Harris (who I met tonight at the hotel), and Tim Keller. It's gonna rock. For now, the donger need sleep. G'nite. Oh! And be sure to keep up with my Seattle pictures.