Thursday, December 4, 2008

REGGIE MCNEAL CONFERENCE

Seven pastors and lay leaders from our church attended a day-long conference at the Lexington Baptist Association office to hear Reggie McNeal. Reggie has spoken at our church on several occasions. His talks always challenge me to re-think how we do church and how I live the Christian life. Today was no exception. His talk was based on his newest book The New Missional Renaissance which will be released late next month. Here are some takeaways.

  • Henry Blackaby was right. We need to join God in what He's already doing. God is having a great time out there. The question is whether we want to play.
  • 3 convergences that are creating a missional renaissance: the rise of an altruism economy, the desire for personal growth, and spiritual awakening.
  • We're in a culture that wants to talk God and not church.
  • Three shifts needed: from internal to external focus in ministry; from program-driven to people development; from church-based leadership to kingdom-focused leadership.
  • The church needs to be like the connecting hub of an airport. The hub is not the destination. We've made the church the destination place instead of the hub that sends us into the world with the gospel.
  • Churches need to reconfigure the scorecard. Instead of counting heads who show up on Sunday mornings, we need to count how many aren't present. We need to count how many are outside the walls incarnating the gospel.
  • Evangelism should never be a program; it should be a way of life. Quoted a pastor in India where the church is exploding: "Our church is growing so fast that we don't have time for evangelism."
  • We live in a pre-Christian world, not a post-Christian world.
  • The church is not the hope for the world (ouch!). Jesus is.
  • We must teach our people to become a blessing to the world. And then we must tell their stories.
  • The emerging model of church will not focus on church as being the big event on Sundays but worship through service to the community.
  • The new missional model of church will require a reallocation of prayer (how to deploy prayer in the streets), time (for staff: why are we in the office and not in the streets?), money (how much are we giving away?), facilities (how can we open our doors to the community), technology (websites that become a means of helping people plug into community ministries), and people (how many community leaders are we developing?)
  • Churches must learn how to customize their discipleship strategies to fit the needs of individuals. 5 questions to ask every member: What do you enjoy doing? Where do you see God at work in your life right now? What would you like to see God do in the next six months? How can you serve other people? How can we pray for you?

I could go on and on. Bottom-line--excellent day of learning. I encourage you to read Reggie's book when it comes out next month.

"For our email subscribers, please visit Ken's full blog page at http://www.pastorkenkelly.com to view previous blogs and many other helpful links."