The first day of the State Conventions Summit in Nashville got off to a very good start. After eating dinner with Wayne Poling, Daniel Spence, Jamie Baldwin, Tim Holcomb and Tom Belew.. we were ushered into Van Ness Auditorium. If you grew up in a rural county seat church, I don't have to describe Van Ness Auditorium, you already know what it is like. You can clean an auditorium like this until it is spotless, and it still feels dusty and people have allergy attacks. Van Ness even has pew arms, yeah pews with arms every 18 inches so they can cram more people into the place.
The theme for the week is "Transformed Leaders… Transformational Churches". The biblical focus behind the theme is Romans 12, and our speaker tonight quoted it – from memory! Steve Stone spoke and did a super job. Here are his bullet points:
- Bow – Romans 12:1-2. Before we do anything else, we must present ourselves a living sacrifice to Christ. Steve encouraged us to find more solitude so that we can encounter God more personally.
- Belong – Romans 12:5. We are all in this together. We are members of one body.
- Broadcast – Romans 12:6-8. We have spiritual gifts and we have a voice. Our gifts and our voice are to be broadcast.
- Behave – Romans 12: 20-21. We are to behave in a godly way toward each other, and just as importantly, we are to behave in a godly way toward our enemies.
Tomorrow we start with Ed Stetzer and then spend most of the day in our affinity groups (I'm leading the Sunday School group). We have a series of presenters lined up. As I mentioned in my blog this morning, although our theme is transformation, the underlying issue I believe is relevancy. As I've thought about this all day on a very bumpy plane ride from OKC to Nashville (via Cincy), it looks to me like the two are related. The GCR is really about relevancy and transformation. The GCR may use the terms structure and effectiveness (don't worry, I'm not going to mention the word b-l-o-a-t-e-d), but I believe those of us in state convention ministry are really looking at relevancy and transformation.
From my field of calling (Sunday School), it looks like relevancy and transformation need to be more than just words from a theme. Our group is going to be discussing this topic the next two days.
I'll take some pics and if I can hack through LifeWay's internet security I'll post them during the day tomorrow.