This year’s conference will go down as one of the best ever. The theme was coming to grips with the new reality in which we live and serve as Christian leaders.
Dr. Lamar Vest in his opening address stated, “We are now living in the twilight of the world as we now know it.” He went on to say, “the changes that are occurring now are more radical today than at any time since the beginning of Christianity—the shift is cosmic.”
These are startling and even disturbing statements, yet hold within them the potential for this to be the finest hour for the Church and for our individual ministries in particular.
For this to happen we must first come to terms with the current reality in which we live. Like the Amish, many church leaders are desperately trying to hold on to a way of life that no longer exists. The Great Commission is the same but the old bridges that once provided a way for the church to reach the world have mostly crumbled into the dust; new roads and methods must be built and the challenging part is that the pace of change is so cosmically fast that the old blue prints are mostly obsolete—we must build the bridge as we walk on it (without blueprints for the most part!).
On one hand to do nothing is to embrace certain obsolesce and an ever-increasing lack of influence and on the other hand to build the bridge as you walk on it is to guarantee many failures and frustrations. But one thing is certain, building the bridge as you walk on it is not boring, and from those failures lessons can be learned and progress made.
I came out of this year’s conference with a greater determination to stay engaged in our culture. Christ’s Church was meant to confront the gates of hell and to prevail. This will be our most dangerous hour but also our finest hour.
Over the next few days and weeks, I will continue to debrief from my notes taken at the conference and will share them with you.
For now, let me give a heartfelt thanks to the wonderful people of the Fort Mill Church of God for hosting our meeting, and to my wonderful team for their support in pulling together the dozens and dozens of details that are required to pull something like this off (special thanks to Debbie Dyches), and finally, many, many thanks to the dedicated corps of volunteers that shadowed us throughout the event and served us with excellences.
In closing, to the many church leaders that joined me this year I strongly encourage you to do not walk away from this conference and go back to business as usual. Please take the time over the next few weeks to carefully reflect on the material that was given and determine how it applies in your life and ministry.
You will never learn how to swim in the rapid currents of our ever-changing culture by getting an occasional hosing down at a conference; you must submerge yourself in the material if you hope to learn to swim. The material given to us this year is worth the effort. As I mentioned above, I will share my reflections with you over the next few weeks and would welcome your thoughts and comments as well.