Culture is a moving target. The gospel is not. Connecting the gospel to lost culture is a challenge that requires continual growth in grace and understanding. Are you a learner? Me too! I love to learn from others!
Every chance I get, I spend time with other pastors—older, younger; larger churches, smaller churches; longer tenure, shorter tenure; similar background, varying backgrounds—and I ask questions. Lots and lots of questions.
The longer I serve the Lord, it seems, the less I really know! I’m curious. What works for that guy? Why? How does this one balance his week? How does that one prepare messages? How does his culture differ from mine? What schedule is effective there, and why? What follow up process has that man used? How does that church win the lost? How does that church make disciples? How does that pastor study? What is he preaching right now and why? What are his resources for that series?
My list is endless!
I love conferences. I love classes. I love absorbing sessions—in person and online. But I most love talking personally and engaging with faithful friends, up close—to dialogue. Perhaps it’s selfish, but I am addicted to asking other pastors questions and learning from them.
For this reason, I asked Pastor Josh Teis to host an Idea Day on the East Coast. Watching from afar, and not being able to attend the last two (but wishing I could)—I threw out the idea, and told him I would attend. As the discussion developed, we offered to host an Idea Day at Emmanuel Baptist Church. We landed on November 19th.
This is not a day where I’m planning to share ideas—it’s a day where I want to glean them. We are the host church, not because we “know what we’re doing” but because we’re learning along with others who will attend.
Here’s why I’m excited about this opportunity:
1. Because I’m addicted to good attitudes—For twenty-five years of ministry, I have strategically avoided the plague of those with angry, divisive, critical, and caustic spirits. I’m addicted, not to Christian leaders who are “just like me,” but to Christian leaders with sound doctrine and a joyful spirit. Idea Day, I’m sure, will bring together a group of men with like-minds, sound doctrine, and good attitudes! I can’t wait!
2. Because I love to learn from other pastors—Amongst solid, Bible-believing pastors, there is great diversity—personalities differ, local-church cultures differ, methodology differs, age differs, and ideas differ. While some would attempt to cookie-cutter a particular style or individual church culture—I believe God diversifies on purpose! We are different by design. We minister the same truth, but in very different regions to very different kinds of people in very different cultures. So, when I get around men who differ, I learn from their ideas, their personalities, and their perspectives. It’s an edifying, encouraging, growing experience—always.
3. Because I need to know I’m not alone—It’s not only important to know “what you believe.” It’s important to know there are others who believe the same! Ministry tends to feel isolating, so it’s important to pull away from the battle long enough to relate with friends who are fighting the same battle. They may be in different trenches, on different fronts—but they are friends and co-laborers. It’s good to discover we fight together.
4. Because I cherish encouraging times—The world is discouraging. The news is discouraging. Many Christian leaders are discouraging. Critics are discouraging. Sometimes even Christians are discouraging. Therefore, encouragement is, to the heart, what fresh water is to parched lips. The point of Idea Day is encouragement—and I’m looking forward to drinking it in.
5. Because I love to see how God is using the ideas of others—I’m somewhat addicted to studying healthy churches and faithful pastors. Each one is very different. There are a handful of thriving churches and pastors that I study regularly—I watch them with eager anticipation of how God is using them. I learn from them continually. They model, to me, biblical health and balance. They teach me a great deal—from afar. I love seeing God bless them and give them ideas that will benefit my church. Idea Day will give me a chance to glean from them personally, up close.
Idea Day isn’t for everybody. If you have an argumentative or hostile spirit—you probably won’t like it. If you are not eager to lead a healthy church or reach the lost with the gospel—you probably won’t like it. If you are not open to fresh ideas—it will only bother you. If you believe everybody must do ministry just like you do—it’s probably not your thing.
But if you believe the gospel is still powerful, and that there is hope to reach the lost and disciple believers in healthy, biblical, local-church environments—then you will love Idea Day. If you love the Word, love the lost, love the local church, and love good ideas—you will enjoy Idea Day!
Space is limited to a relatively small group of ministry leaders, so I encourage you to register soon. Click here for more information.