B21 will once again host a lunch panel discussion at the Advance the Church Conference. This years panel is entitled, “Lessons from the Trenches: Challenges to Planting Healthy Churches.”
- Darrin Patrick- The Journey, St. Louis, MO http://journeyon.net/
- Eric Mason- Epiphany Fellowship, Philadelphia, PA http://www.epiphanyfellowship.org/
- Tyler Jones- Vintage21 Church, Raleigh, NC vintage21.com
- David Bowen- Church of the Good Shepherd, Durham, NC http://www.cgsonline.org/
Location: Raleigh Convention Center (Raleigh, NC)
Date and Time: May 4, 1:00-2:00PM
Cost: $15, lunch included
Registration: In order to attend this breakout panel you must be registered to attend the Advance the Church Conference and then select this breakout session on the registration page “Lessons from the Trenches” (REGISTER FOR ADVANCE THE CHURCH CONFERENCE HERE)
Advance the Church will once again host a tremendous conference. This year’s conference is entitled, “The Gospel is Revolutionary.”
From the Advance 2011 Website: Gospel: Is it possible that the reason the Church has lost its credibility and prophetic voice is that its Christians no longer believe the Gospel? The Gospel turned the ancient world of the Apostles on its head. It transformed the most unlikely of people into fervent ambassadors for God, while making enemies of both the secular and religious establishments. In contrast, the Church in many places today has become a part of a dying tradition that neither challenges the culture nor attracts the skeptic. Even in movements founded on Biblical truth, a pervasive legalism and moralism has eclipsed the explosive power of what God did for the world in Christ. There is only one thing that can restore the revolutionary power of God to the Church: the Gospel. The Church is in a moment of crisis. The Gospel is our only hope!
Join Advance the Church in May to hear from incredible speakers including Tim Keller, Alan Hirsch, Eric Mason, Danny Akin and others as they engage this growing and concerning issue, and discuss how the Church can recover the Gospel: the power that makes Christianity revolutionary. Advance11 is for anyone interested in the Church, advancing the Gospel, or understanding Biblical Christianity. Whether you are a pastor, community group leader, college student, churchgoer, or skeptic, we encourage you to join us.
Where: Raleigh Convention Center
When: May 4-5
- GROUP PURCHASE – $40 (4 OR MORE)
- GENERAL PURCHASE – $60 (MARCH 8 – APRIL 15)
- LATE PURCHASE – $70 APRIL16-MAY 3
- STUDENTS – $15
Schedule *Schedule is subject to change.
Tuesday, May 3
1:00PM Early Check-In at Raleigh Convention Center
5:00PM Early Check-In Ends
Wednesday, May 4
8:00AM Check-In at Raleigh Convention Center
10:30AM How the Gospel Changes Christian Obedience | Alan Hirsch
11:30AM How the Gospel Changes Our Ecclesiology | Danny Akin
12:30PM LUNCH | B21 BREAKOUT
2:30PM WELCOME BACK
3:00PM How the Gospel Changes Church Planting | Darrin Patrick
4:00PM How the Gospel Changes our City and Community Ministry | Eric Mason
Thursday, May 5
8:00AM Latecomer Check-In
9:30AM How the Gospel Changes Our Perspective on Current Events | Tyler Jones
10:30AM How the Gospel Changes Global Mission | J.D. Greear
11:30AM How the Gospel Changes our Heart | Timothy Keller
12:30PM LUNCH | BREAKOUT SESSIONS
- When Missions is the Mission
- Small Groups as a Catalyst for Church Mission
- Life of Mission: Gospel in the Corporate Workplace
2:30PM WELCOME BACK
3:00PM How the Gospel Changes our Church Community | Alan Hirsch
4:00PM How the Gospel Changes our Apologetic | Timothy Keller
4:50PM Q&A Session
5:15PM CONFERENCE CLOSING
In the past Baptist21 has let our readers know about a church-planting network in NC called PlantNC. It is their mission to be a network of churches, pastors, leaders and planters whose mission is to make disciples through the planting of gospel centered churches. So, in order to carry out that mission PlantNC has an exciting opportunity coming up that Baptist21 would like our readers to know about: Porterbrook NC Training
Recommendations for Porterbrook:
Tim Keller “The Porterbrook Network is an innovative resource that offers affordable, high quality training for mission and ministry in the 21st century. I warmly recommend it.”
Alan Hirsch “Porterbrook? Do it!”
Years ago I was introduced to this resource. At the time, I really didn’t know Tim Keller or anything about his ministry in NYC. My brother recommended this resource to me and it was particularly helpful during a time of trial in my life.
At Baptist21, one of our main focuses is on “gospel-centrality.” I can think of no one who has more influenced us in this area than Pastor Keller. He has been tremendously influential in helping us see that the gospel must be central for all of life. It cannot be the focus merely for entry into the Christian life and then forgotten. Instead, it is central to our justification, as well as our sanctification and glorification. Many of our readers are probably already familiar with this resource, but if you are not, it is a must listen. This resource will help your preaching, as well as help you think through how to smash the idols and “functional saviors” in your life. It certainly provided and continues to provide that kind of challenge for me and that is why I listen to it at least once a year.
This message was delivered in May 2006 at the Reform and Resurge Conference
Before I begin this post I’d like to continue the habit of recommending a few resources that are related to church planting:
Mark Driscoll, Seven Views of Culture
After working through the call to church plant, the question naturally arises: where am I supposed to go?
The question I get most often is “Why plant in Denver?” As we worked through the call to a location, we didn’t know where to start. Anywhere on the map was fair game. In the end, we decided on Denver for three major reasons: Need, Influence, and Community. The first two are self-explanatory, but the third is a less-discussed component of calling.
My wife and I wanted to think long term about where we would plant, taking the advice of Tim Keller that the best way to reach the cities is to have Christians plant their lives there for multiple generations. Therefore, we were asking practical questions such as: “what does it look to do life here?,” “what does it look like to raise children here?,” and “how well do I naturally fit into the already-established culture?” I don’t mean to overemphasize this to the point that if you don’t immediately gush at the thought of your grandkids playing in the city’s parks then you need to look elsewhere, but I do think it’s important to actually like where you live. My guess is your effectiveness is limited when you view the city as some dark, horrible, crowded place that you would avoid unless God had “called” you to it.
Below is an elaboration of our own calling to the city of Denver. This was written and reserached by another member of our team, Andy Metzger.
When answering the question, “Why Denver?” we like to focus on three categories: need, influence, and community.
Over the past 10 years, cities across our country have continued to experience a significant return—a return of people. Urban environments are being revitalized, residential life is booming, and all generations have shown interest in being a part of this movement. Young professionals, empty nesters, and retirees alike are migrating toward urban centers, and we can’t afford to ignore this.
Denver is no different:
After decades of decline (~1970–1990), the population of the Denver Metro Area has steadily grown to reach a record high of 2.8 million residents.
Studies show that anywhere from 90-97% of these Denver residents are unchurched
Denver is quickly emerging as a distinguished and prominent city within the western United States
So as Denver continues to grow—as people continue to come—we believe the need for gospel-centered churches rises tremendously. Because the number of churches being planted has not paralleled the growing population, there are millions of Denver residents that have not heard and been transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Fundamentally, we see a tremendous need for more gospel-centered churches in Denver because there are so many people who do not know Jesus as Savior.
Cities like Denver, however, are not merely homes to millions—they are centers of influence for the world. These urban centers continue to be the primary location where culture develops. Economics, commerce, arts, politics, philosophy, and technology are fundamentally shaped in the city and then flow into all other sectors of the world.
Where the cities lead, the world follows. What the cities love, the world loves. What the cities value, the world values. To evangelize the entire world, then, we see the cities as the strategic starting point and launching pad of our mission.
We look at Denver as a strategic city—one that influences culture and shapes the lives of millions of people. It is an energetic and welcoming metropolitan area—one of the most important cities of the Mountain West region—and serves as a gateway to West Coast life. Denver also boasts these amazing qualities:
12 four-year public and private colleges and universities with enrollments totaling more than 140,700
The latest U.S. census shows that over 70 nationalities and languages are represented in Denver
Denver is one of only two cities in America with ten professional sports teams
Denver is emerging as the leader in renewable energy research and “green-friendly” practices
Denver held the Democratic National Convention in August 2008 demonstrating the nation’s recognition of Denver as a leading city
The third primary reason we look to Denver as a strategic city is because of its amazing culture that we know we could quickly grow to love. Recognized by the Pew Research Center in 2008 as the “Best City to Call Home,” Denver has long been revered as the perfect place to live, learn, work and play. Mixing an urban sophistication, educated population, and dynamic culture with an adventurous outdoors, sunny climate, and affordable living provides just a glimpse of why Denver attracts individuals and families from all over the globe.
Ultimately, we desire to love the place where we live and its people. Denver has the progressive culture of a west coast town, tremendous diversity, natural beauty, and a hint of Midwestern hospitality that we can thrive in. We are excited about calling Denver home, raising families in Denver, building community in Denver, and restoring true joy and hope to Denver through the gospel of Jesus Christ.
For a B21 explanation of what the Gospel is, see Jon Akin’s post here.
Every problem that we face in our churches is a manifestation of an inadequate understanding and practice of the gospel. Giving problems? You’ve got a gospel problem. Can’t get enough people to sign up for that short term mission trip? Gospel problem. Apathy toward your community? Gospel problem.
The Apostle Paul saw problems in the church as gospel problems. The gospel wasn’t a simple three-step formula that was on par with saying “Abracadabra” to get people their Get-Outta-Hell-Free Card. Instead, it was the “principle article of all Christian doctrine” (Luther), and was something his readers could never move beyond. As Tim Keller puts it, “The gospel is not the first ‘step’ in a ‘stairway’ of truths, rather, it is more like the ‘hub’ in a ‘wheel’ of truth…The gospel is not just the minimum required doctrine necessary to enter the kingdom, but the way we make all progress in the kingdom. We are not justified by the gospel and then sanctified by obedience, but the gospel is the way we grow (Gal.3:1-3) and are renewed (Col.1:6).” Therefore, the Christian is either living out the gospel well, or living it out poorly.
The problem is that our churches are full of the “fuzzy gospel” and we have got to kill it. You know what the “fuzzy gospel” is, don’t you? It’s an understanding of the gospel that is imprecise, cloudy, and lazy. It has a vague notion that for some reason Jesus died, and for some reason I don’t have to go to Hell now, and the details aren’t all that important. The “fuzzy gospel” follower leaves the details to the professionals, meanwhile viewing the gospel as something for unbelievers that is tacked onto the end of a sermon.
Of course, it would be silly of me (and demonstrate my own lack of understanding of the gospel) to act like “everyone else” doesn’t have it figured out. Everyday I misunderstand the gospel. When I’m impatient with my wife, it reflects that I’ve forgotten the patience God shows to me despite my sin. When I am slow to forgive my friend, it demonstrates that I think that his sin is somehow less forgivable than the daily sin I commit against my Savior. And when I’m too quick to assume that I “get” the gospel and others don’t, it means that I’ve forgotten the many years of my life that I rejected the gospel, and those following years where I viewed it as nothing more than my punched ticket to Heaven. God has been so gracious to me, and I pray that I would always demonstrate that same graciousness to others.
However, this grace does not equate permitting gospel-laziness but rather compels us to challenge others in gospel-growth. Now you may be saying, “my people aren’t seminary trained and if I used the words propitiation, imputation, or justification in a sermon they’ll think I’m speaking in tongues.” I say all this for the opposite reason, actually. I say it because I believe in the person sitting in the pew, and that they’re capable of great things, and they’re waiting, whether they realize it or not, for someone to take them seriously enough to teach them the gospel with the same specificity as Scripture does.
After all, they’re experts in plenty of other stuff—you’ve probably got churches full of men and women that can tell you Adrian Peterson’s number of rushing yards his sophomore year of high school or the various Vera Bradley patterns of the last decade. Now let’s help them become experts in what is supposed to be the most important thing in their lives—the gospel. To steal a line from Matt Chandler, we must encourage people to become “experts in the gospel.” This nonchalant, flippant attitude toward it has got to stop, and we have got to kill the “fuzzy gospel” in our churches.
Is there anything else in this world that people can attend on a weekly basis for years of their lives, yet still not have a grasp of the most foundational principles of the event? Can you imagine someone having season tickets to see Georgia football play for the past five years, attend every game without fail, and yet when the team comes out for warm-ups they say to the person next to them, “I love it when they come out on the court like that. I sure hope they score more runs than Florida tonight”? It seems unlikely, but not so if we were investigating the church. We’ve got congregations full of lifelong attendees who don’t understand the very foundation of the faith.
And if we have churches full of people who don’t understand the gospel, we shouldn’t be surprised when evangelism methods fail, discipleship is non-existent, and people are fighting over what type of tables we’ll buy for the new fellowship hall. We don’t have to search for why people won’t tithe, care about missions, or have their heart break for their community. These are all gospel problems. If the gospel is the most important thing we could possibly understand within the Christian faith, and we have churches full of people who don’t really understand it, then we shouldn’t be surprised when our churches are perpetually ineffective.
The next post will discuss practical ways to kill the “fuzzy gospel” in our local churches.
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