On Tuesday we arrived in Chicago early so we could register and take advantage of a church planting pre-conference that was being held that morning. What follows are some notes from that session.
Dave Harvey (Sovereign Grace Ministries, author Rescuing Ambition) talked at length about the calling to plant. Here are some of his thoughts:
-Go vertical. Talk to the one who calls.
-Proclaiming the word of God is essential to planting.
-Planters must have a faith in God that goes beyond trial and difficulty.
-When there is dissension on whether one is called to plant or not, it's important to examine those who agree and disagree with the call.
-The planting process is vigorous in and of itself and weeds out individuals.
-Care for one's wife is the window into a man's ministry.
Mike McKinley (9marks, pastor Guliford Baptist Church, author Church Planting is for Wimps) then spoke at length about the importance of the word of God. His book is well worth reading for a good look at planting (really replanting) and evaluating what is really important.
-The preaching (really the proclamation of the gospel) bears fruit. (See Colossians 1:5-6)
-Communicating the Word bears much.
-The pulpit is key. People need as much contact with God's word as possible.
-A misplaced pragmatism can drive out the Word (see Acts 6 for the counter to this).
-The people in his church who were there before the replant now have a renewed sense of God's power and recognition that they truly matter to Christ.
Tullian Tchividjian (pastor Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, author Surprised by Grace) spoke about his story at Coral Ridge. If you get a chance to read his blog or check out anything about his story, you will understand how he has come to marvel at the gospel during the most difficult period of his life. Here are some of his thoughts.
-Gospel preaching is more than just an evangelistic add-on.
-The gospel is justifying grace and sanctifying grace. There's no pressure to perform.
-The gospel frees you to rejoice and revel in your expendability.
-Because Jesus was someone, you're free to be no one. Having the gospel means having all the approval we'll ever need.