Toward Convergence–Part 1

The Convergent Conference at Southeastern commenced and closed over the past two days. Soon, you will be able to download the messages from the Seminary website (somewhere here). The conference was wonderful and better than I expected, which I expected a lot.

  • Hearing Mark Driscoll in person was a blessing. He was very humble, amicable, and as always a master of words. He also brought some valuable insider knowledge that I needed to hear.
  • Ed Stetzer was humorous and he is definitely a missiologist (my kinda guy). He is also unapologetically Baptist.
  • J.D. Greear from The Summit spoke zealously from his heart imploring us to be cross-cultural missionaries.
  • Dr. Reid (I can’t help but call him that) brought his excitement and enthusiasm for the gospel as well as his burden for the lost.
  • Dr. Akin was very gracious, yet you could tell he was trying hard to be out there where he is not completely comfortable, and I respect him for it all.

One thing that stood out from them all was a focus on Jesus, specifically his substitutionary atonement, as the center of theology, church, and mission.

Others have already begun to share their experiences of the conference, Travis Johnson, Clint Carter, Joel Rainey, Derek Brown, even Mark Driscoll. And now me.

What I have noticed from all the feedback so far is everyone was blessed by the conference. Perhaps people thought a fight was coming, but the conference was sweet, loving, and beautiful.

I will begin a brief paraphrase of Dr. J.D. Greear’s opening lecture:

J.D. brought a message from Acts 16 about the three lost people that Paul reached with the gospel–the God-fearers, the hurting and oppressed, and the cynical outsider. He protrayed these three typologically–each representing a target group for the gospel. A healthy church reaches all three. The God-fearers are the easiest to reach. But in order to reach the hurting and oppressed, it is going to take “a radical involvement in the life of the poor.” He told us that the signs of the kingdom “point to the radical purpose of the kingdom.” Though some signs are miraculous, many signs, such as showing mercy, point to the gracious and merciful King Jesus. He asked us “Will people weep when we die or will they be glad to not have to be bothered by our ‘religion’?” Moreover, J.D. made it clear that the church is to be Gospel-Centered; change coming about from motivation by understanding one’s security in Christ and expressed in gratitude towards Jesus. To conclude, he says the church has to be cross-cultural (amen). He emphatically stated, “Diversity is the end-game of the church.” This is a message for us.

This session started me down a road of re-thinking my ministry priorities and acting on some thoughts I had been having for some time (see my previous post on Racial Harmony, you will find more from me on this subject). Part Two of this post is found here.

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