Yesterday, I mentioned two of the seven presentations that were given. Today, I'll try to finish the last five.
Craig Groeschel of LifeChurch.TV spoke on making more than a difference. In order to do this, you have to be obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit. When being obedient, you will face uncertainty, and you will have resistance. But a selfless passion will help you to finish the race and complete the task Jesus has given you. Brian and I felt "called" to start Church of the Suncoast over five years ago. It has been the hardest things we have ever done. We need to daily be obedient to God's leading, and trust that God will give us what we need to finish the race, despite the uncertainty and reistance we face. This can be applied in all realms, not just in leading a church. If you want to daily be a part of making history (more than a difference), you have to focus not on yourself, or the group you are a part of, but on the fact that God is good.
The fourth speaker was Andy Stanley of North Point Community Church. After Brian of course, Andy is probably one of my favorites. His whole message was on being the generation who makes a point, by making a difference, instead of the other way around. Jesus' goal was not to make a point, and the only times he did make a point were with the people who were already religious. Jesus spent his time walking towards the mess- he was not afraid of guilt by association, and we should not be either. You cannot influence without association. That doesn't mean you live like they live, and act like they act. But, you jump in and be a friend, hang out with people who do not view the world as you do, live out what you believe by loving your neighbor, being generous, and compassionate, etc. Good stuff!
The fifth speaker was Jud Wilhite of Central Christian Church. I had not ever heard of him until this conference, and he was another one that had a message to share that really impacted Brian and I. All of the speakers were very transparent and more open and vulnerable than normal. Four of the seven were in tears at some point while on stage. Jud was one of them. His overall message was that a faithful and sincere heart is more important than a "successful" ministry (or what others view as successful). He spent time reading through 2 Corinthians 5:11-18. He talked about staying a little crazy for God, reminding yourself of Christ's love, and focusing on the good news of Jesus Christ. Loved his talk so much, I actually now have been reading his and his wife's blog.
Mark Driscoll was up next from Mars Hill Church. He shared about what he and his wife have actually been walking through for the past two years or so. He talked about how even ministry can be idolotry. If you are married, your spouse comes before your ministry. Christian, Spouse, Parent, Worker. He encouraged couples to make sure that your spouse is your best friend. He and his wife are currently writing a book that comes out in January called, Real Marriage. I am looking forward to picking this one up, and I would encourage you to do the same.
The final speaker was Judah Smith from The City Church. He spoke on the topic of what to do when you feel like God hasn't fullfilled his promise. His entire message led back to the cross. What it all comes down to is that Jesus is the fullfillment of all promises. I'm not sure I can add much more to that. It all leads up to and comes back to Jesus. Amen.
On that note- I'm done. I hope this look back was helpful and/or interesting for you as the reader as well. I don't know if anyone cares about seven different speakers at a church leadership conference, but it impacted Brian and I enough for me to want to share.