Baptist ID Conference: Day 1

To start, if you want some detailed work from speaker to speaker, you need to go to Timmy Brister's blog.  My ears are still ringing from him tapping his keys as a mind-blowing pace.  Should be more than enough to read there, and some good photos.  Hit Joe Thorn's blog for his as-always-excellent thoughts.

We got into town today and grabbed lunch with Tim Ellsworth at Rafferty's.

Three speakers today to kick off the Baptist Identity Conference.

First was SBC President Frank Page.  Fortunately he didn't drive up in a painted bus.  His topic was the future of the Cooperative Program and he talked on Philippians 2:12-20.  Come to find out this is a sermon he already preached at Southern Seminary (as Brister already posted on in detail).  It was fine as a devotional message, but didn't meet my expectations. 

I really expected Page to develop some important thoughts and possibilities with the Cooperative Program.  It wasn't that so much.  It was an encouragement to be on mission through the CP, but had little to do with the future of the CP.  He did bring up some good questions on the future of the CP, but no ideas or solution.

Second was Thom Rainer.  Thom is the President of Lifeway Christian Resources and the author of a zillion books or so.  His recent book Simple Church is good. 

Thom gave a message I feel like I've heard before.  It was a straightforward on the need for Christians to be evangelistic.  There was nothing earth shattering here, but it's always important to be reminded that we all need to be active in sharing the Gospel with others.  I really came away thinking about how to be a more passionately evangelistic pastor.  God help all of us.

The third speaker was Mike Day speaking about the future of baptist associations and state conventions.  It was fantastic.  He started with a history of associations and how they have functioned, our current problems with associations, and a paradigm for the future.  He talked about a lot of the stuff I have discussed on this blog and Missional Baptist Blog (which is now dead and gone). 

Mike gave a lot of concrete thoughts and ideas about the future.  His seven point paradigm for the future was that associations must be church-driven (it's been backwards for too long), priority-based (three ways: church planting, mobilization, leadership development), resource-focused (no programs, just resources), institution-free (own as little as possible/necessary), strategically-managed (leader a catalyst, not director), regionally-located (stop operating in outdated boundaries), and denominationally-connected (merged state and local association in larger regions).  Great stuff.

The only thing missing, in my opinion, were thoughts on networking beyond the denomination.  I think post-denominational networks are crucial, not just for the sake of the mission, but also for the sake of the denomination.  We will be healthier, stronger, more missional when we stop thinking we are the self-sustained force of the Great Commission.  I think that's right where Day was heading, but I wish he would have said more.  Still, great stuff.

The last event of the night was a bloggers coffeehouse.  Saw a lot of other bloggers there and talked to a number of Union U students.  Very cool.  Talked a lot during the day with Mark and Jacob, a couple of students that we met early on via Greg Thornbury.  Good guys we plan to hang with again tomorrow.

It was a good first day.  Someone asked us (me and Joe) to a breakfast meeting at 7am so it's off to bed and early to rise.  More tomorrow.