Monday, May 19, 2008

Re:Think Conference 08 - Wrap-up

Well, I wasn't live blogging this event, but blogger supreme Alex Chediak was, so I'm not going to reinvent the wheel. He did a superb job. But, I do want to highlight some points that stood out to me. This conference was held this past Friday at Providence Baptist Church in Raleigh, NC. For those of you who couldn't make it, please contact Inquest and they have the podcasts of the sessions.
I hadn't personally heard any of the speakers that day - live that is. I have heard them on CD or read their writings, but this was a treat for me.
Daniel Renstrom band and the Shelley Moore Band led us in worship all day - that was great - Excellent worship, hymns, contemporary stuff, good!
Leon Tucker, one of the pastors at Providence, started us off on Friday morning. He is over all the education ministries at Providence. He spoke on Foundational Issues in Ministry. Toward the end he said something to the effect of the early church didn't have programs, ministries, etc. They had the Centrality of the Resurrected Christ. And look what happened. Spread of Christianity - everywhere, many saved! But, yet, we think we must have ministries and programs in our churches today to be effective. Those are not the telltale sign of a healthy church (or youth ministry).
David Horner, founding and still Senior Pastor of Providence, spoke next. His theology came through so strong in his talk. He talked about having the Fear of the Lord. We trivialize God so much in our every day language. Another point he made was that we must treasure the beauty of the Lord. Not just sing about him or "talk theology" but in every facet of life our walk should be pointing to the beauty of Jesus.
Dave O talked. He is college/missions pastor at Providence. What a dynamic speaker - very passionate. As he shared his testimony, he reminded me much of other college pastors I know who were saved a little later in life - and you can tell they are so passionate about Jesus, telling others about Him, and what they do. I think its because they remember what their lives were like before Christ. So often, I don't. But, they do. Oh, God, bring to mind that I was bound for hell before you. He gave us 4 things for ministry (and our lives) as we are passionate about bringing fame to God: saturated with the Bible, centered on the Gospel, devoted to the family, devoted to the local church. He made it a point to say the Word is glorious - not just a way to lead a moralistic therapeutic deist life.
Steve Wright, Student Minister at Providence and author of ReThink, spoke next. I had read a lot of what he said in his book. He did ask what the difference was between getting more people (in a youth group or other ministry) and glorifying God. He talked about family worship, parents discipling their own kids, and ministries based on the truths of the Word. The thing I liked most was meeting Steve and his wife, Tina. He was one of the most genuine and humble pastors I have met. He confessed where he went wrong and said he didn't do everything right. He was willing to say that not everything he did in youth ministry always worked. Not many youth pastors will willingly say that.
Dr. Randy Stinson ended the evening speaking on the church as a family. So many times in NT books we hear of the family in terms of our family and relationship in Christ. He shared examples of family discipleship within his own family. He told ideas of how churches could be families to people who had none or how ministries could work together to make them ministry-integrated.
What a great day. Excellent worship, Bible-centered ministry equipping, and seeing old friends, and meeting new - and being in Carolina! :)

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