In a letter from the Elders they describe the purpose of the conference:
“The goal of the conference is to bring together like minded people for encouragement, training, education, and fellowship. This is the first of many events that will be hosted by Henderson Hills. We feel led to invest in other pastors and leaders now so that they can be better leaders in the future.”
Schedule – Saturday, November 6th
11:30 Lunch (cost is $10 per person for those eating lunch)
12:30 Why Do We Do Things that Way? The Gospel and Baptist Identity – Nathan Finn
1:45 Panel Discussion – Nathan Finn, Daniel Akin, Dennis Newkirk, Nathan Akin
3:00 Close (dinner on your own)
5:30 Marks of a Great Commission People – Daniel Akin
Nathan A. Finn
Nathan Finn currently serves as Assistant Professor of Church History and Baptist Studies at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the author or editor of numerous publications on topics such as Baptist history and theology, missions history, and general church history. Nathan is married to Leah and they have three children. Nathan frequently blogs at his personal website nathanfinn.com and the Southeastern Seminary faculty blog betweenthetimes.com.
Dr. Akin is president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Also a prolific author, he holds degrees from The Criswell College (B.A.), Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div.), and the University of Texas at Arlington (Ph.D.). Akin is married to Charlotte, and they have four sons and 6 grandchildren.
Henderson Hills says of these two men:
Both men are from Southeastern Baptist Seminary, one of the fastest growing seminaries in the nation. Both are experts in their field: Missions and Church History. So, Learn what’s currently happening in Baptist life from two that are involved.
Dennis Newkirk is Senior Pastor/Elder of Henderson Hills Baptist Church
Nathan Akin is College Director at Open Door Baptist Church, Liaison to the Churches for Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Co-founder of Baptist21
B21 would like to invite you to attend this conference – REGISTER HERE
It is reported that before William Carey left for India to begin the Modern Missions Movement he was told by J. R. Ryland “Young man, sit down; when God pleases to convert the heathen, he will do it without your aid and mine.” Surprisingly, it seems that a similar debate is taking place within the SBC. In fact, it has been implied recently that Britain is now pagan because Carey left England and launched the Modern Missions Movement. This “fact” is being used to justify keeping larger concentrations of missions dollars at home instead of getting them around the world.
This argument was brought forth to support the decision of the Kansas-Nebraska Convention of Southern Baptists (KNCSB) to keep an even higher percentage of CP dollars in their states. The KNCSB has decided to reduce their CP support of the SBC from 32% to 22%, so now 78 cents of every $1 given in Kansas and Nebraska through the CP will stay there and only 11 cents of every $1 given in Kansas and Nebraska through the SBC’s primary channel of missions giving, the CP, will actually go to reach over 6,000 Unreached People Groups around the world.
This was a difficult decision for the KNCSB but they believe it was necessitated by two factors: 1) the current economic situation and 2) the GCR category “Great Commission Giving.” The KNCSB says it could weather the economic climate but it cannot weather the GCR (that was overwhelmingly adopted by the SBC messengers in Orlando). This move, however, raises several questions:
1. Is the KNCSB “jumping the gun?” While the SBC did adopt the category of GC giving at this year’s annual meeting, not one of the GCR recommendations has taken effect yet. That means that the GCR has not had a drastic affect on the KNCSB yet, and if churches are choosing to give in a designated way then that was a trend that started before the GCR. It seems that blaming this move on the GCR is not fair. This reality leads to the 2nd question.
2. Why are more churches choosing to give directly to mission causes rather than give as they have traditionally done through the KNCSB? This is a key question that honestly needs to be asked across the board in the SBC. Has the KNCSB asked this question of itself and seriously dealt with the emerging answers? One answer that has been given to this question is that churches are dissatisfied with the small percentage of CP dollars that state conventions send to support National and International mission causes. If that is the case then I fear that this move by the KNCSB will not only not help but will in the end make matters worse. Instead of this quick action it might be better for the KNCSB to seek out the answers to these questions from the churches and then adopt a strategy that is enthusiastically supported by the churches.
3. How can the KNCSB expect their churches to “give more” to the CP when they are not “giving more” themselves? It is an exciting time because several state conventions are stepping out in faith to lead the way in increasing their missions giving to SBC causes nationally and internationally trusting that the churches will give more as well. I am thrilled to see my state convention in Kentucky take the lead on this by considering the move to a 50/50 split of CP funds, as well the Florida Baptist Convention.
There are encouraging trends in frontier states. The Nevada Baptist Convention and its four associations will vote to merge into one entity and increase their CP missions giving by two-thirds over the next five years. The Baptist Convention of New York is also increasing its giving to national and international mission causes, as well as set the goal to start a 1,000 new churches in New York. These frontier and underserved areas are wanting to increase their role in the national and international missions process. At the same time, the GCR recognizes the situation in these frontier states, like Kansas/Nebraska and others, is different than the Southeast for example. The call has been for more mission focus in these areas through NAMB and others, not less.
4. Can we really blame the paganism of England on the Missionary zeal of William Carey? Quite honestly this part of the article deeply saddened me. What would the writer have had Carey do? Stay in England and let the Indians go to Hell? Why should we worry about “them?” Why not just worry about “us?” This leads to my final question.
5. Will we have the attitude of Jonah or the heart of God? Jonah did not want to see God bless the nations because he thought it would weaken Israel (his home). Yet, God’s heart for all peoples was on display. Revelation 5 and 7 tell us that God is not just concerned with the amount of people in Heaven; He is also deeply concerned with the amount of peoples in Heaven. If the SBC, like Jonah, begins to set its gaze on itself it will implode. If we choose maintenance over mission then we will continue to decline. We cannot lower our focus on the ends of the earth and only be (or primarily be) missionaries in our backyards.
Many people who love Jesus and lost people will have strong disagreements about how all of this should work out, but I hope that we can all agree that there are serious questions that we need to answer very soon as a convention. It is in the context of these questions that I would like to make a plea to all Southern Baptist partners.
This plea is to be willing to ask tough questions and adapt because things are changing. Churches, especially those led by a younger generation, will want to increasingly stream line what is done by denominational agencies and emphasize missions to the unreached over sustaining denominational ministries in our backyard. This trend was made clear by the election of Bryant Wright as President of the SBC. These churches will take the lead in evangelizing their “Jerusalem” because they believe it is the role of the local churches to evangelize their city/state, not the role of associations, state conventions, seminaries or any other SBC partner. They will also want the money they give to cooperative missions to end up in the hands of church planters and missionaries to Unreached Peoples. If Southern Baptist partners don’t recognize this, then they will likely see more and more churches deciding to give their money through “direct giving.”
And the questions remain to be answered. Will we have the spirit of Carey or Ryland? Will we have the attitude of Jonah towards the nations or the heart of God?
Bryant Wright, Pastor of Johnson Ferry Baptist Church and President of the Southern Baptist Convention, is working hard to stay in touch with pastors of the SBC. Pastor Wright has been releasing monthly videos at Pray4SBC
Check out this month’s video and continue to check back to the site regularly as we all think through how to cooperate together in “Propagation of the Gospel.”
Check out Part one of John’s Interview – he talks about why he is still pursuing theological education and how theological education has helped him as a church planter
3.) What are the biggest challenges for church planters in the planning, 1 year, 2 year phases of church planting?
There are some similar struggles for most all planters, and then there are some unique struggles depending on each planter. The biggest ones are the most obvious ones.
One of the most difficult things for me was learning to balance my family life with church planting. For most planters, at first, we work out of our home, so there is no “structure” to when you’re at work or when you’re home. The both just happen together during the day. I had spent all of my working life previous in offices. So this was difficult to figure out. On top of that, we have 4 young children who don’t understand that daddy may be home, but he’s working. In the beginning of a church plant there is so much to do, it is also quite a challenge not to work late into the nights and not pour into your wife.
Since church planting is essentially starting something from nothing, there is a sense in which having some entrepreneurial skills is needed. In the Acts 29 assessment, I scored just average in this. I’m willing to take risks, but I am slow in doing so. (Deciding to plant took me over two years!) In church planting, risk will come, and knowing how to be an “entrepreneur” and to know how to build is needed. This was a challenge for me. (And of course, God is the one Who builds not us. I’m speaking on the side where we must work too)
It’s inevitable. Other church plants around you will be more “successful” than you are. They will grow faster, have better websites, serve more often, do more mission trips, and the pastor will be a better speaker than you. This is just reality. As pastors, we must deal with this early, often and beg God to put it to death. Its tough to hear people tell you they want to go to the bigger church with more families or programs, but in the end, its better, because they were consumers wanting to consume and not missionaries wanting to reach the lost. But still, in the beginning when you just need some people, it’s difficult to not be envious.
People to get vs. people here now
At first, this doesn’t sound like a challenge. However, as a church planter, where “building” is constantly on my mind, I found it very difficult to keep an appropriate balance between trying to reach the people that aren’t at Remedy yet vs. serving and ministering to the people that are already at Remedy who need their pastor. I definitely lost some people in the beginning stages because a lack of balance in this. This is not easy at all (for me). I seem to constantly (at least now in the early stages) keep concentrating on reaching more and more people. If I’m not careful, instead of loving and serving the people who are with me now as brothers and sisters in Christ, I can just view them as the people who are to help me grow the church. Clearly, this is not loving. So it’s a constant battle in which I plead with Christ to give me His heart for His people and His heart for those who do not know Him yet; and to find the balance.
Pride & Leadership
Lastly, the greatest challenge has just been ME. I become increasingly aware everyday that the greatest obstacle in the church everyday is me. For me, this comes in the form of pride and leadership. I must work everyday to mortify my pride by the Spirit. Secondly, I see very often that a great challenge for me is leadership. I have so far to go to learn how to lead people. I spend as much time as I can around godly men who can lead well, ask questions, and pray for God to give me abilities in leadership that I simply do not have now. This has been a tremendous challenge.
The final part of this interview will deal with why John is A29 and SBC, as well as the role of preaching in Church Planting
Quick Bio: John is a church planter in Rock Hill, SC, which is right outside of Charlotte, NC. John is an Acts29 Church Planter and his church also partners with the Southern Baptist Convention. John planted Remedy Church in January of 2009. Remedy Church,“exists to build a Biblical community in our city, so together, we can know, look to, love, serve and glorify Jesus Christ.” John completed his MDiv degree at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and plans to begin his PhD in North American Missiology at SEBTS soon.
1.) Why as a church planter would you pursue a PhD?
This is a great question. Remedy Church is only a year and a half years old. And I have 4 children who are all very young. So, what am I thinking by wanting to go back to school and get a PhD? There are a few reasons why. Before I list the reasons, the PhD I’m pursuing is in NA Missiology in Applied Theology, which isn’t exactly what we think of when we think of PhD’s.
So, the first reason I am pursuing a PhD is to get better and improve as a pastor and church planter now. Education and learning can’t be overrated when it comes to improving at something. While there is always a place for hands-on experience, being able to read and be taught by men who are older and far wiser in regard to planting a church and being a pastor is invaluable. As I look over the past year and a half of planting Remedy Church, the constant thing I am aware of is that I don’t feel like I know what I am doing. So, I pray, read the Bible, try to grow closer to Jesus, listen to podcasts, have conversations with pastor/planters, read books, etc.. But, it doesn’t mean that I’m reading the right books, or having the right conversations, or even thinking about the right things. So, having the benefit of men who are wiser who can teach me is awesome. I look forward to being taught, and, Lord willing, improving as a pastor/planter. This degree is exactly what I am doing right now, which is trying to plant a church.
The second reason is that if the Lord chooses to use Remedy Church, we would love to be a church-planting church. Since we want to be a church that plants other churches, when men are attending our church express an interest in church planting, we want to be able to train and equip them to be sent. So, a desire of mine is to educate myself in the field of church planting, so that if the Lord wills, I am knowledgeable and can provide them with all the tools and resources necessary to send them out to plant successfully. I would want to create a training course and let them go through it, and prepare them for planting.
Lastly, and probably the least important, is that I just love school. This is a new occurrence for me and didn’t happen until I was getting my masters degree. But, now I really just like learning and being pushed academically.
2.) Has your MDiv. been helpful for you as a pastor and planter?
The time I spent at Southeastern (2001-2004) was and is unbelievably shaping for me. God used both in the classroom and and the local church (Northwake Church) I attended while I was in seminary. I absolutely needed both of them.
I thought I knew the Bible and some theology before I went to seminary. That was just naïve pride. Once in seminary, God helped me realize that I had a lifetime of study ahead of me to help be in ministry. Seminary provided me the tools and the hunger to be able to pursue a lifetime of study. Even now, I realize just how much more there is to improve in and learn. Alongside seminary, what prepared me as a pastor/planter was attending Northwake Church. I had never been in or “done church” like that before in my life. I had already worked as a staff member in two previous churches before I came to seminary and never experienced a church like that before. I experienced a real community of believers who really cared about each other, authentic worship, and the most humble pastor I had ever met.
God used both of these things in my life to help me prepare for ministry. Much of what I teach theologically and do methodologically is from what I learned at Southeastern and Northwake Church. I am so thankful to God for the time I got to have in seminary and learn from all the professors.
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