Attending a conference like Exponential really bombards you with information, so I thought I’d take a moment to summarize the summaries – a “best of the best” if you will. For the curious onlookers, I’ll also post my personal application whenever relevant.
Personal Application: I need to check my faith more often that I check my strategy. I’m doing a fresh read of scriptures without preconceived notions, sticking only to what it says by faith.
Craig Groeschelwas a great refresher on kingdom perspective and leadership humility.
Personal Application: Pray for a church movement, not my church’s movement.
Alan Hirsch encourages dangerous projects as a way to build faith and community in the church.
Personal Application: I would like to develop a series of shared, weekend, local challenges in my church this fall. Some possibilities include: 1) an Urban Plunge in which we’d live & sleep at a YMCA or homeless shelter between a number of urban service projects, 2) form of team of people that join/attend local governing/development boards, 3) read the whole Bible in 60 days, 4) get a number of people to commit to three dinner parties with neighbors, 5) adopt a wing of the local nursing home with several weekly visits, 6) participate in an urban church for six weeks and partner with their mission, 7) pray for something big with one or two others.
Hugh Halter and Matt Smay were the insightful highlight for me. Their church planting model is the best merger of organic and traditional church structures I’ve come across: start with conversations/relationships in the culture, gather some of these relationships into small groups, gather some of these groups into structured congregations.
Personal Application: First of all, I’d like to continue building relationships in my neighborhood and amongst local artists. I think I have the foundation for an incarnational church going without realizing it. I’m starting a parenting small group on Tuesday and have invited a few neighbors to it.
Second, I’d like to hand select some families from my church for a two year incarnational experiment. The goal is to engage as many relationships and gather as many small groups as possible from the local community within this time frame, and then see what we end up with. Maybe this will feed new participation into our current church; maybe it will result in the plant of a new church. Either way, we will support each other’s incarnational outreach with prayer, accountability, and the sharing of ideas. I’ve wanted to do this with our church for over a year now, so I’ll still have to search God out on whether or not I’ve actually discerned his timing correctly.
John Burke says your first hundred people in a church plant determines who you’ll reach. They define your culture.
Personal Application: If the Hugh Halter/Matt Smay application flies, I’ll need to protect/limit participation in it until its identity is solidified with a hundred people.
Ed Stetzer says it’s demoralizing for your people to keep changing your vision/approach. It pays to do your homework before starting to truly understand what has the best chance of working. The goal is to look the same as your context, but live different.
Personal Application: I have a way I’d like to do church. My way is birthed out of personal theological conviction, as well as an assessment of what I’m capable of. That being said, I have to make an honest assessment on when, where, and among whom my way would actually work.
Neil Cole had the strongest contribution to pondering movements: “If you couldn’t handle a million converts this year, you don’t have a multiplication based structure.”
- Personal Application: No clue, unfortunately.
Have you ever known by a handshake that you met a pretty impressive person? There are a few speakers at the Exponential Conference who are flying rather low on the pop circuit scene, but something in my first impressions of them tell me these are people to keep your eye on. Mont Mitchel, Troy McMahon, and Bob Harrington to name just a few.
By the way, registration for 2010 is just $99 right now. I’m going again.