• Five reasons why you should go to the In The Chute Conference

    I love being a Geneva Church planter. In fact if anyone tells me they are even thinking about planting a church the first thing I say is “You gotta get in touch with the Geneva guys!” Every year The Geneva Push puts on it’s yearly conference called In The Chute. It is always an amazing time. So in light of the upcoming conference I want to give you my five reasons why you should go to In The Chute.

    1. It is a refreshing time. As church leaders we need to get away and be taught ourselves so we are refreshed by God and his word. The teaching at Geneva events is always top notch and is always encouraging and refreshing.
    2. Don Carson will be speaking. If you have never heard of Don Carson he (along with Tim Keller) runs The Gospel Coalition and is one of the most influential men in Evangelicalism. Don is an amazing speaker who will stretch, rebuke
      and encourage you as he preaches and teaches.
    3. The topic for this years conference is The Church. I have written on the mission of the church here. I think what the church is and does is one of the most important topics for contemporary Christianity. It is going to be amazing hearing from Don Carson on this topic.
    4. You learn from other church leaders about what is working for them. It is great to get together with other planters and church leaders and compare notes on what is and isn’t working for them.
    5. You get to listen and learn from older more experienced guys. I love hearing from a guy 1, 5 , 10 or 20 years down the track because I hear that what I am going through is pretty standard. I also get to reap the wisdom that God has given them through the years. At In The Chute I always get time with older more experienced pastors and try to learn everything I can from them.

    There you have it. There are my five reasons why you should go to the In The Chute this year. If you want to sign up for it go here.

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  • Pastor Fashion?

    Pastor Ed Young Jr. has a new website for Pastors it is called Pastor Fashion.com. (No I am not lying click the link!)

    Here is the first blog on the site:

    “Pastors aren’t typically known for their fashion. Most people don’t think of the runway leading up to the pulpit. But why not?! Why can’t the men and women of God set the standard for the rest of the world in fashion as well as faith? That’s why we’re launching PastorFashion.com. We want to set the trends.

    Check back with us regularly, as we’ll be posting things like what not to wear, fashion tips, the latest trends and so much more!

    We’re not trying to be like the world…we just want to be fashionable while we try to change it! Have fashion tips, things you’ve seen done (whether right or wrong)? This is the place we’ll keep the conversation going and the trends growing!”

     

    Now a couple of reflections are worth considering:

    1. There is really nothing inherently wrong about pastors wanting to look good or giving each other advice about what to wear or not wear if that is what floats their boat and as long as looking good doesn’t define them. In fact I have seen in some churches Pastors dress down as much as possible in reaction to a tradition where pastors have to wear a dress and a collar. This is an overreaction which communicates more than dressed down pastor wants to communicate.

    2. What we look like communicates a hell of a lot. If I go to church in my daggiest clothes what is communicating? If I rock to church in a suit or robes or a footy Jersey what is it communicating? What I wear communicates how I want people to treat me, what I think of myself and in some sense what I think of God. If drag some clothes off the floor and sniff them to make sure they don’t smell too bad and then put them on and go to church I may be seen to be saying “I don’t care about how I look” Or “I have no self confidence” or “Meeting with God and his people isn’t a big deal”. Conversely, if I wear a really expensive suit I may seem to be saying “I care a lot about what you think of me” Or “My God is a blingy God who will bless you!” What we look like communicates a hell of a lot.

    3. In the Bible women are told that they shouldn’t be known by what they wear but their inner character (1 Peter 3:3, 1 Timothy 2:9). This command surely has to be applicable to men also. What a website like pastor fashion does is take our attention off what the bible says should define us as pastors (godliness, theology, love for people etc) and put the attention onto the very thing that shouldn’t define us i.e. what we look like. So even though we have to be careful that what we wear communicates the right things about us we cannot fall into the trap of making something that should be far on the periphery come to centre stage.

    4. It is a sad day when one of the most well known pastors in the world launches a new website for pastors and it is not about theology, joy in God, pastoral skills or something else that God is concerned about but fashion, which is something that the world is deeply concerned about but which God doesn’t care about. But this gives us pause to reflect on our own lives. If one very intelligent pastor who wants to reach people for Jesus is spending his time talking about periphery are we doing the same?

    What do you think?

     

     

  • Why the reaction to Pipers talks in Australia has frustrated me.

    Let me be very clear about a few things before I start.

    1. I think we need to discern and sift teaching to see if it is legit. I think to do so would be absolutely irresponsible for Christians especially Pastors. So I don’t have any issue with anyone lovingly critiquing Piper’s talks in fact I will be doing just that this morning with my staff team. As Piper said we should be good Bereans!
    2. I love my heritage, I am grateful for growing up in an Anglican church and so thankful that I went to Moore college even though I am not an Anglican now by choice. The tweet I put up about Sydney Anglicans was rash and from the gut and sinful and I ask if you have been offended that you would forgive me as I am very sorry for that asinine tweet.

    Here is my issue with the response to Piper’s talks. Piper made it abundantly clear that he was not equating his joy or love for God as a work. He even said that if people took him that way they were ‘wilfully sinning” therefore I was surprised, shocked and annoyed when I saw a post claiming Piper’s soteriology might be Catholic. This frustrated me because the writer obviously didn’t listen to the many times Piper qualified what he was saying but also that he used the one of the most derogatory things a Sydney Evangelical can say about another Evangelical brother. He said the Piper might be Catholic!! Using this word denies what Piper has written and denies his theology it also makes us who don’t want to be Catholic weary of Piper instead of engaging with him. Painting him with the Catholic brush and makes us think that he is a bit off and we should keep him at arms length.

    We need to critique but let’s do it hearing a brother out properly and not misrepresenting him. Also lets not label him /catholic or charismatic or whatever just to be controversial and get people to read our blogs. Aren’t we too old for that?

    The other thing I am frustrated by is our negativity towards teaching from outside. I have been in many conversations about Piper and his preaching and most of the feedback is negatively geared. This is human nature on one level but verbalizing all the things we didn’t like about something will automatically skew our perception of the thing we are critiquing. Piper said a bunch of brilliant things. I think we should be emphasizing what God spoke to us through Piper and once we have thanked God for this great man and his talks then we can move onto lovingly discussing those areas we need clarification or modification. This is how we should talk about a brother in Christ.

    P.S. I lumped Michael Kellahan’s critique of Piper in with my criticism on Friday. This was wrong, his blog was done generously and lovingly. It had all the hallmarks of a good, fair and loving critique. I apologize to Michael for sinning against him and I ask for his forgiveness.

     

  • What I loved about Engage 11

    For the first three years of the Engage conference I was on the Engage organizing committee and Luke Woodhouse and I led the conference band. Needless to say I had a blast in those years but I loved just kicking back and not doing all that much except listen to the talks last weekend!

    Here are some of the things I loved about the weekend:

    • I loved Rory Shiner’s talks. I have known Rory for years and he is a blast to be around and a great preacher too! He helped me see once again how the physical, bodily resurrection changes my life. His line “Sin is bad eschatology” has been ringing in my ears all week!
    • I love Piper, he was his usual self. I have heard the talks he gave on the weekend in some form or another over the web. But being there, I could really get his passion and his vibe on a whole different level. I loved how he made me think hard, especially about the text and how he made me look at my life and ask “Do I find joy in glorifying Jesus?”
    • As usual the Engage team put thought into the little things. The food, drink, music, coffee and vibe all added to the feel of the weekend and this feel keeps Engage as one of the best Christian conferences around.

    I just want to say how much I and the people from my church love Engage. I can’t wait for next year and I hope that Engage keeps going from strength to strength under the great leadership and organizational skill of Steve Morrison and the team!

     

  • An open letter to Al Stewart, KCC and the Oxygen team

    Dear Al, KCC and team,

    Brothers and sisters thank you so much for putting on Oxygen. I felt like I was drinking from a fire hose. There was so much that God challenged me about.

    I loved how John Lennox kept emphasizing that we will not get the church growing unless we get the word growing. In a world where technique is held as the thing we have to nail to get our churches to grow I was very encouraged by this! He also encouraged me in my evangelism by being so enthusiastic to tell his friends and colleagues about Jesus! I now have a greater love for the book of Acts and I cant wait till i preach through it!

    I love John Piper’s passion(who doesn’t?), but I also loved how he showed me his arguments from the grammar and the syntax of the passages he was exegeting. I came away thinking “It is all so clear!!” But also thinking that I need to show more of my work in my sermons! I loved his passion for Joy in his life and my life and how that cant be divorced from hard and right thinking!

    I loved the music!!! Trevor, Greg, Owen, Rowan, Faith and the other singer and the keys player did an amazing job! The songs lead me to consider the deep truths of the gospel and the music was brilliantly executed. The room was big and had so much natural reverb and yet the mix was always done very well! Great job guys!

    I loved my two electives. I went to one lead by Phillip Jensen who challenged pastors to guard the gospel and protect our flock. Which I, as a natural evangelist, can neglect! I also went Andrew Heard’s great seminar on gospel dreams and realising them. In both there was much food for thought about leadership, vision and motivating my people at Resolved.

    I loved the book pack! I love how generous your sponsors were in giving the conference delegates a bunch of new books! I also loved your generosity in giving away all the talks for free. KCC could have made a mint form the talks and yet you guys are more into blessing the world than making money! I love that about KCC!

    Should Oxygen be a movement? Yes it should. I hope that Oxygen becomes a conference that comes up every year or two. It was amazing. Thanks to all who worked so hard to put it on!

    Your brother in Christ,

    Hans