My good friend Kyle recently attended the Acts 29 Boot Camp in Louisville, KY. I asked him if he would be willing to share some of this thoughts, especially since he is not a member of Acts 29. Enjoy:
Guest Author: Kyle Hopper
This past week was the Acts 29 boot camp in Louisville, KY. To be honest this was my first real exposure to Acts 29 besides knowing its association to Mark Driscoll and the issues the Network had faced due to a perceived pro alcohol stance.
The way I attended this conference was actually kind of interesting. I am a Minister of Students in Jackson,TN. I have an annual conference budget and had some money left for 2009 that I had to use or lose. So I asked my friend, Brent Thomas, if he knew of any good conferences to go to. He suggested The Boot Camp. I had always been curious about church planting and the Acts 29 Network that Brent always speaks so highly of. So I decided to give it a try.
To say that I was blown away would really be an understatement. First of all the worship was great. The conference was held at Sojourn Church and the worship was lead by their worship band, very talented musicians We sang old hymns put to new arrangements . It is always such an encouraging feeling to be surrounded by folks that are worshipping in spirit and truth.
There was an eclectic blend of speakers ranging from theological to practical. It was interesting to hear from guys who have planted successful churches. Though the more time you spend talking to these church planters you get a different idea of what they consider successful. To them, numbers really never were brought up. There were no lectures on “how to get a crowd to come to your events” or even “How to properly engage culture and be relevant.”
The theme seems to be disciple making. Through mainly the preached Word of God and one on one shepherding disciples are made. These men make an effort to pour their lives into each other. It reminded me very much of a Pauline type of structure. Discipling others, while you yourself are being discipled.
The other thing that really impressed me is that these church planters seem to want to fill their churches with converts not transplants. Basically growth needs to happen from people coming to know the gospel and not just moving membership around. Therefore there is an effort not to be ”culturally relevant” but to do the hard work of getting to know your city and your neighbors. It is not about coming up with the next new thing to get people into the doors. In fact there was a lot of emphasis on getting outside the doors.
I could go into more detail about how the speakers really challenged me to put into practice the beliefs I hold so dear, but I will just say that I was really convicted about quite a number of things. The conference made a huge impact on me and I am continuing to process what I learned daily.
It was refreshing to be around so many people committed to both theology AND evangelism, Expository preaching AND impacting individual lives, Love for the individual WHILE building community. I can tell you that I left there knowing for sure that if the Lord ever calls me to plant a church then I am for sure going to be seeking to be a part of the Acts 29 Network.
Plus being a long time beard grower myself, I have never been in a community so welcoming of facial hair out side of the Amish!