As I alluded to in this post, one of the reasons I started the blog was to fulfill a requirement to help promote the Advance13 conference from March 19 – 21 2013 in Raleigh, NC. I’m really excited about this conference for several reasons:
1) I love conferences.
In December 2000, I started attending the annual winter conference with Cru (known as Campus Crusade back then). Since then, I’ve been to every conference under the sun with Cru (including this gigantic one in South Korea). While most people attend these conferences for the conference speakers they get to hear or the musical worship bands they get to see, I actually enjoy the small things like meeting new people, networking and rubbing shoulders with like-minded people who are on the same mission I am on.
2) I went to Advance11.
A couple of years ago, I went to the last conference these guys put on, mainly because I wanted to hang out with guys from my church and see Tim Keller speak. It was a great conference that gave me a deeper vision for the Church and church-planting in general. It was there that God planted the seed for me to transition to using my gifts in the local church.
3) The topic is something I am extremely passionate about and interested in.
The official overview states:
There is a false dichotomy in the church today, between faithful ministry and effective ministry – depth and width – making disciples and reaching the lost. Most of our churches are good at one or the other. Churches that prioritize faithfulness make mature disciples, but don’t always reach the lost. Churches that prioritize effectiveness reach the lost, but often don’t make mature disciples.
The gospel calls for both. Faithfulness and effectiveness cannot be separated. Churches that grow wide without growing deep are not producing width that lasts. Churches that grow deep without growing wide are not as deep as they think.
I have been thinking about this for some time. I have seen ministries and churches put so much emphasis on “reaching the lost” that they forget that Jesus said in the Great Commission to go and make disciples, not go and read someone a booklet and get them to pray a prayer. Now, I am not saying that method has not been effective in conversion and starting the road of discipleship, but I am saying that I have seen the focus be more on whether “the gospel was shared” or the person “had a chance to receive Christ” as opposed to the long term view of bringing someone to maturity in Christ through discipleship. Discipleship is harder to measure than the “golden” egg of a PRC (Prayer to Receive Christ). Those look better in prayer letters.
So, I am really eager to hear from a who’s who of speakers on this topic. Speaking of that…
4) The Who’s Who of Speakers (all that is missing is Francis Chan).
John Piper. David Platt. Matt Chandler. In Evangelical
idol worship fame, they’re kind of a big deal (in a non-Anchorman kind of way). But seriously, there are some great voices getting together to tackle this topic.
I am actually very excited about two “other” guys: Bryan Loritts and John Bryson. They are pastors at Fellowship Memphis, a racially-diverse church in Memphis, TN where my wife and I were members from 2007-2008. It was there that we grew tremendously in our view of the Church, got fed deeply from preaching of the Word and community through some really difficult times, and learned how anti-gospel racism really is. I’ve gained a love for the Church and racial reconciliation from them that I have never lost.
So, do yourself a favor and get on over to Raleigh and join me!