Today was the Missional Community Labs here at the Verge Conference. It was from 8:30am – 5:00pm. The day had six different time slots with about five options per time slot. Sometimes it was an easy decision of which to attend, but other times I had to make a tough choice and expect to get an audio download later of a few I missed.
I won’t type out my entire notes from each session but some key points from each.
A – The Future Of The Church: Panel of Mike Stewart (director of the Verge Conference), Jeff Vanderstelt, Hugh Halter, Neil Cole, Alan Hirsch, Felicity Dale: It was a time for Stew to ask a few questions of the panel and they gave some insight and observations about the church. This was meant to prime the pump for the rest of the day.
- FD: In the first reformation the Bible was placed in the people’s hands. In the second reformation we’re seeing the church being placed into their hands.
- JV: We can’t accomplish what God has called us to without the power of the Holy Spirit.
- NC: Is the Holy Spirit evident in our lives? It’s not the gifts of the Spirit that should be so important, but the fruit. We need the spirit filled life that bears the fruit.
- AH: What type of church do you hope your children are one day a part of? How are you helping to build that church?
- HH: The Kingdom will always be good news. Our task is to make it tangible.
- Everything we do is a form of discipleship. Everything we do counts. We’re showing the world what life in submission to Christ looks like.
- The goal is never discipline, but discipleship. Discipline w/o Christ can lead to self-righteousness.
- Discipleship happens through Life on Life, Life in Community, and Life on Mission.
- Those three parallel with knowing, believing, and doing.
- Most groups seem to focus on knowing but need to work on the being/doing.
- Life on Life – How is your life being exposed to those in your community? Where is your life visible/vulnerable? Access points into our lives for others to witness.
- Life in Community – We are in a context of living the life together.
- Life on Mission – The mission God calls us on will reveal our deep need for God in our lives.
BO 2 – Practical Tools for Moving Small Group sot Missional Communities – Hugh Halter
- Hugh basically laid out the differences between traditional small groups and the “next level” that missional communities are taken too. They take more buy in, more time/life investment, and more transparancy. He likened them to be a part of the Navy (anyone can join) to being a Navy Seal (specialized calling).
- He explained the differences between the “modalic” structure and the “sodalic”.
- To make the transition he recommends starting a pilot group that you do not go public with. He recommends 10% of congregation to begin to grow MC’s.
BO 3 – Gospel on Mission – Jonathan Dodson
- What is the gospel? The good/true story that Jesus has defeated sin/death/evil through his own death/resurrection to make all things new.
- How do we go on mission w/ the gospel? Know people, love people, speak the gospel.
- Non Christians know when you see them as a project. They should be objects of love instead of projects of evangelism.
- Discipleship isn’t inviting people to an event but into your life.
BO 4 – Discipling Children in Gospel Communities – Jeff Vanderstelt
- If you can teach something to kids then you can probably teach it to anyone
- You can’t effectively make disciples w/ Sunday only church. MC’s are the primary vehicle for disciple making.
- Mom/Dad are primary ministers to kids. And we should equip them.
- Shift from being a director to an equipper.
- The family is the greatest influencer of kids’ lives. Or lack there of.
- Where/how do you want your kids to end up as an adult? Then train for tha tnow. Is ther ean expectation for that’s what htey’ll become? And make sure they have experiential time.
- All kids go through The Story of God at least once a year.
- If we don’t take seriously the discipleship of kids, then the parents won’t either.
BO 5 – How To Use The Story Of God in Making Disciples – Ceasar Kalinowski
- We live in story. We are born aural leaners. Most people are good story tellers.
- More and more of society is functionally illiterate.
- Will one more good sermon save our land? No.
- People engage more and retain more w/ a story narrative.
- We have to help people find their story in the story of God. What does it mean for them to live w/in God’s story?
- God is always the hero in Biblical narratives.
- You can’t teach the NT w/o first knowing the OT.
It was a full day of sessions. But they kept us supplied w/ snacks, water, sweet tea, and lunch. It was a great way to kick off the Verge Conference. And I walked around the city some and enjoy Austin. I hope to get me a UT shirt this week. And maybe a BU shirt as well.
And here is my friend Logan’s take on his first day at Verge Conference.