The week I’m at the Acts 29 North American Conference. The theme is “Building Healthy Churches”. It’s been a great conference so far and here’s some thoughts from the first day:
– YOUNG BEARDED MEN WILL LISTEN TO WISER OLD MEN – this conference demonstrates that. There is a whole generation of young pastors and leaders that are looking for older men to father them in the faith. For a young network of churches, almost all the speakers have been over 50 and there is a real sense in the room of respect for these older men. In fact, in one of the sessions, Ray Ortlund came up and spoke and he was so out-of-touch with the crowds clothing attire, lingo, hair style (on head and on chin), but if he would have spoken for 5 hours, no one in the room would have moved. Every word he spoke was filled with grace, wisdom, and the gospel and everyone in the room was taking it in. This is how the faith works – passed on people to people (2 Tim 2:1-2)
– GOING TO CHURCH AND PURSUING A HOLY LIFE IS ONLY PART OF GOD’S PURPOSE FOR OUR LIVES – That is you being a disciple. The other part of life in the present as followers of Jesus is you being a disciple that makes disciples. That’s the great commission. In some sense, the first is loving God and the second is loving people. However you want to frame that understanding, Christianity is both an inward life and an outward work. One is towards God and the other is for people.
– PLANS ARE NECESSARY – This conference has been different than any conference I have been at. Usually, you bring out all the big speakers for conference, you do big and flashy sessions and provide heavy and in-depth teaching after teaching after teaching. So many at this conference are great teachers so Acts 29 could have done this, but instead, they chose to structure the conference towards helping churches work through some of the topics it needs to build healthy churches. Things like how to raise and train godly elders, how to theologically-form disciples. In both of these instances, there was a call for leaders to have Spirit driven, clear plans for how these things would happen. This was a big learning point for me yesterday.
– I LOVE THEOLOGICALLY RICH WORSHIP – It’s been great to worship. The worship has been a mix of hymns and more contemporary songs, but in every case, the songs convey theology, the songs are interwoven with scripture reading and calls to worship. The emcee in fact is a boisterous Presbyterian minister. Lots of fun!