Driving into the arena Friday morning I turned to PJ and said, “I really don’t think today could every top yesterday.” Well, I couldn’t be more wrong. Friday had some of my favorite speakers.
Tad Agoglia – This CNN Hero presented his organization First Response Team. They have huge tractor trailers and trucks and respond to all major catastrophes across the country. This guy basically gave up all his possessions to start this and now Caterpiller and Peterbilt have donated all kinds of equipment and they are normally in before local first responders.
Perry Noble. I saw Perry when we were at the conference in Lexington, KY. I knew we were in for a treat. And that we were. Perry talked about not giving up on your calling. He talked about the invitation (to lead) and how we should just “do what the Lord told you to do.” And if our results are explainable, it’s not of God. He talked about Elijah and how God provided food from the birds and water from a brook and how the brook dried up. And many leaders are in a time where their brook has dried up. They want to quit. They feel punished. But Perry says God is not punishing he’s preparing. He’s teaching him that the source is not the brook but it is God. We must learn how to depend on Him. Don’t run from a situation God reigns over.
Gabe Lyons – I wasn’t familiar with him before we came but this was one of my favorites. Gabe has an interesting angle. We works with leaders to understand and lead culture through his group Q Ideas. The stuff he presented was almost like all this stuff I’ve been working through and feeling and trying to understand, he categorized and organized and helped me understand this shift in culture and my role in it. So historically we’ve had a very church-centered country. Ideas and decisions were brought forth from the church but now in this post-modern world people are discussing at work and with friends. It’s happening in schools and communities. And we can either fight back and try to get church back in the center or we can work with what we have. There are 3 different viewpoints
- Separate – The church huddles up and pushes culture out. It’s the church against the world.
- Culture – The church looks just like world. They’re doing good stuff and blending in.
- Restorers – This new culture understand that there is a difference but instead of fighting back they seek it out to restore people to their place in God’s story.
As a restorer you understand that there is a full picture of God from creation to the fall to redemption and restoration. So much before it was just fall and redeem. Get as many people saved as possible and move on. Or some would stop at creation—God created the world and we should take care of it and are consumed with doing good deeds but are disconnected with the Gospel. Restorers are not offended by culture but provoked to engage. They are creating culture with magazines and movies and blogs and school and organizations. They believe that God has called them to reshape the world.
So many Christians are struggling with meaning and purpose. They feel disconnected. We need to understand that people are already on mission where they are. The pastor needs not to inspire people to work within the church to make a better church but to inspire people to be a missionary where they are now. So many people are leaving churches because they’re trying to find a church that will teach them how to BE the church. YES. Yes, yes, yes!! I’m a restorer!! I’ve never had a name for it but that’s what I’ve been striving for. I see the social injustices but I don’t want to do them just within the world. I want it to be connected to the Gospel. I think so many people in my generation and younger are SO THIRSTY for this direction from their churches.
Craig Groeschel – Craig talked about the tensions between older and younger generations. He encouraged the older generation to keep going. You’re done until you’re dead. But also not resent the younger generation but pour their wisdom into them. He encouraged the younger generation to honor the older generation. While that boils it down to the bottom line, I so enjoyed Craig’s enthusiasm, passion and humor.
TD Jakes – I of course knew of TD Jakes but had never read or watched him in any capacity. I was just thrilled with his talk. He was super funny and passionate. He talked about leading outside your comfort zone. He talked about getting out of our comfort zones because we can’t change the world “from our corner”. But in order to change the world, we must learn the languages of many kinds of people. We have to on the forefront and learning to speak these cultures. You need to understand what types of people you speak to/draw. Do the cell phone test and see what kinds of people are there. If they’re all like you, it’s time to reach out. God does not allow sameness to procreate. When differences come together, it brings fruits and blessings. We all must work together to make a difference.
Andy Stanley – The closing session was directed at church leaders but it could be any organizations. He talked about tensions that come up over and over in churches – going for a longer service time vs. not having preschool volunteers quit, building a new facility vs. caring for the poor, attracting new believers vs. discipling mature believers. He suggests that the tension between the two are GOOD. Not one group should win. These problems should never be resolved. But there are times in a church where one will need to be put on hold and the other comes up more. Use the terminology “we need to manage this tension”. Be able to say, right now the church needs more music or right now the church needs to concentrate on attracting new believers. There is a season for everything.
Also amazing on Day 2?
And human canon ball. Talk about tension!
Oh, also you MUST check out Gungor. They had the most amazing worship time I experienced there. And no one was even singing a word.