Had a great time at the Exponential Conference last week. I really think it was the best year yet! Here’s my condensed notes… a paragraph from most of the main session speakers:
Danielle Strickland told stories about the importance of letting people see us bleed. Discipleship needs to be from and for real humans.
Joby Martin explained the importance of lead pastors, handing over the keys to new pastors out of a vision for the next generation.
Steve Murrell was a very compelling speaker. He emphasized that our commission is to make disciples, and God’s job is the build the church. Just focus on discipleship. We really don’t need to worry about the organization and church growth structures. He’s grown a planting movement of 90,000 in Manila.
Steve Stroope told his story of the great commission, realizing the need to partner globally and plant in influential American urban centers.
Mario Vega from El Salvador had his church spread internationally during civil war. His cell leaders started new cells, when about five cells came together in one area they started renting space so they could continue to gather together, when those gatherings were established they declared on of the cell leaders to be there pastor.
Michael Frost shared a fable about rabbits… how one brave rabbit did what rabbits don’t do (journey through fields birds of prey and fox-loaded forests), on it’s way to a better place. Anytime a rabbit dared to believe they could do something other than hide and burrow, the rabbits got together tell the story of the one rabbit who did what rabbits don’t do. Pastors need to tell the story of Jesus – a story of someone different, who did what people don’t do, and where we find our courage to be different.
Ajai Lall pushed us to be Christian extremists. He told stories of persecution from around the world, that were met with forgiveness. Our extreme in faith is loving our enemies, and saying yes to God to keep going back to them.
Max Lucado made a brilliant allegory of Jesus turning water to wine. Mary gave Jesus the need. Didn’t tell him how. Didn’t demand it on her timing. Jesus moved forward his timing, because of her prayer. Give your problems to God, before your problems get to you. He can give you his best, he can give it ahead of his timing, he can give it abundantly. 6 jars of wine would amount to 903 bottles.
Dave Ferguson summarized movement creations as spontaneous patterns of repeated behavior. Repeated sending and going is the spark. We get to create that culture.
Oscar Muriu challenged mustard seed faith. God can work with the smallest faith, as long as it’s not 0. 0 x anything is still 0. 0.00001 x God still does something amazing. Your prayers should make God sweat. It’s not your job to figure it out, it’s your job to agree together in Christ and wild kingdom advancement. Do you want to be brave or safe? You can’t do both. The church suffers from over cautiousness. If your life doesn’t feel dangerous, check who you’re following because it’s not Jesus. The apostles always prayed for increasing boldness to supersede the increasing persecution. Dead men aren’t afraid of anything – you can’t cut or bruise someone who’s dead.