In all honesty, I’m not even sure where to begin on recapping some highlights from the Verge Conference last week. I guess I’ll start by saying that it was really refreshing to hear many of the leading thinkers and practitioners of the missional movement share about the future of the Church in America and where they say it needs to be going.
Here’s just a few of the many highlights and take-a-ways:
- One that I think we all agreed on and enjoyed was the conversations that we got to be a part of. It’s always good to hear other people and churches share their stories. Since the conference was focused on Missional Communities many of the conversations we had were focused on our churches’ journeys on the missional path. I really enjoy hearing other people’s stories of successes and even failures (it’s how we learn and grow from one another).
- A take-a-way that really stood out to us was the emphasis on prayer and reliance on the Holy Spirit. I know it may sound silly for us to say that because we are on a church staff, but when we are being missional and incarnational with those around us the only thing worthwhile that we have to offer people is Jesus. When we find ourselves rooted in prayer, as well as the Word, and are in tune to the Spirit’s promptings then the incarnational, life transformational piece begins to take place with those that we are being missional with!
- The Gospel is NOT behavior control/modification! Jeff Vanderstelt laid this out in one of his Pre-Conference seminars and it proved to be a big take-a-way for us. As we are being missional and intentional with people around us things are going to get messy. Lives are messy. People are messy. I talked briefly about this in one of our previous posts. Our goal isn’t to get people to act right or say the right things that might fit into a Christian mold. Instead our goal should be to disciple them and as Jeff said, allow the “change of behavior to come from a change of heart.” This approach tends to change how we view and approach those relationships and those around us that we are discipling. It was a very good and refreshing word.
Overall, it was great conference and time away. Plus it was good to be hanging out with John Moores and Alex Absalom for a week in Texas at the end of February! It definitely was a nice change of weather from what we are used to this time of year in Northeast Ohio. On top of that, I know God spoke to each of us and gave us many Kairos moments. John and I both felt that there was some stuff that God was speaking to us specifically concerning missional student ministry that we will be flushing out on here over the next several weeks and months.