I’m at the Verge Conference in Austin TX and wanted to post a few reflections from day one of the conference. Matt Carter, pastor of The Austin Stone Church kicked things off by wondering if this generation might be remembered for rediscovering the idea and practice of Missional Community. He said that missional community just might be the structure that the American church has been waiting for, the structure to wake the sleeping giant. The American church has been asleep for far too long. However, he warned, if all we’re known for is reinvigorating communities on mission, and not a love for Jesus, we’ve missed it. He warned us from Revelation 2 that if we don’t love our Savior more than our mission, our Savior will have nothing to do with our mission. Definitely timely words.
Francis Chan followed, and though is message was scheduled to be on the topic of “Jesus is Lord,” and he did touch on this, it was more than anything else, a call to return to the basic task of making disciples. He peppered his message with pithy but convicting illustrations as he is prone to often do. He marveled at the simple game of Simon says. When Simon says something, we do it or we lose. Yet, when it comes to Jesus, when He speaks, we often don’t do what He says. We might memorize it and even be able to tell it to you in the Greek, we might get together to talk about what it might look like if we lived that way, but rarely do we actually do what Jesus says. Wow. Convicting.
Jesus says that we are to be about the business of making disciples. Why is it that so much of what the church does is about anything other than this? We spend so much time and energy trying to create movements of our own without centering on what Jesus actually calls us to do and without depending on the power of the Holy Spirit. Chan stressed our need to repent for trying to do church on our own and prayed that God would strip away what is non-essential.
Hopefully Carter and Chan set the tone for what’s to come. It’s so refreshing to go to a conference that’s not about trying to start a movement but instead, finding what God’s already doing and joining Him. After being able to process some of the evening, I’m incredibly excited to see a room full of 2,000 people who are not only frustrated (I hope I can speak for at least some others at the conference) with the way we’ve come to “do” church, but looking for alternative and biblical corrections, people searching the Scriptures and being excited to join God in His mission.
I’m excited to hear what’s next.