HT: Tim Brister
I recently had the opportunity to attend the Acts29 bootcamp in St. Louis. My wife was able to go with me, and I must say we both left encouraged, challenged, and thankful. I’ve long appreciated what Acts29 guys are saying, promoting, and writing (The Resurgence); so I wanted to get a closer look and here are some of the observations I walked away with.
- They want to make Jesus and the Gospel big. They want to preach Jesus from the Scriptures, and they want to make the gospel the core of everything they do. This emphasis was not just theme of the bootcamp, but it is the theme and driving force of the entire network.
- I saw a real sense of brotherhood. These guys care about other pastors. They want to coach, mentor, and disciple you. We had so many great conversations with other men and women; people facing similar challenges, but trusting in the same Lord.
- As much as these guys care about pastors, they care the same, if not more about healthy gospel-saturated marriages. The had some really good stuff to say to men about being husbands, and had a time for the women to interact and talk about the challenges of ministry and church planting. This emphasis was really encouraging for both of us.
- They want a culture of multiplication. They are all about sending more men out and planting more churches. As much as they want to see more church plants, they are honest about the struggles and pitfalls associated with it. I was deeply challenged and grateful at the same time as I heard this theme of multiplication throughout the bootcamp.
- These guys are honest about their struggles and sins. I sensed a real transparency from the speakers and the men I spoke with. I see that the gospel is not just something these guys preach, but actually believe. Despite our sin, they continued to point all of us back to our acceptance in Jesus.
- The network is more diverse than I thought. A lot of men at the bootcamp were from all walks of life. I think there are some stereotypes about Acts29 guys that are misguided. These guys care about seeing the church made-up of people from every tongue, tribe, and nation.
- Even though the network doesn’t have a strict top-down model on ministry philosophy, almost everyone reflects the same mindset. They are big on strong leadership, godly men, relationships, discipleship, being missional, and multiplication.
While there still is a lot to process from these two-days, more than anything the Lord gave us confirmation on many things we were already thinking and believing. Whatever place you find yourself in; you should attend a bootcamp.
Found this humorous, but true:
Churches must not look for people who are never jerks, but for the people who admit that they are jerks and are willing to fight it. Kind of like me. Maybe like you?
Jonathan Leeman, Church Membership, p. 90.
Carl Trueman has some excellent thoughts on the gospel and the church. As much as I have a concern and love for the local church, he reminds me why the gospel must remain central. Below is an excerpt of what he writes. Read the whole thing here.
Now, Paul certainly thought ecclesiology was important: it is why he spends so much time talking about it in his Pastoral Epistles. He also had very little to say about arts pastors. He never seems to have identified the Christian mind with being taken seriously by secular academics, intellectuals, and people who throw paint at blank canvases. But he did spend rather a lot of time talking about Christ. Indeed, his primary focus was always on the gospel and – crucially – he never conflated the gospel with the doctrine of the church or with opinions about the Christians relationship to secular society. Ecclesiology is necessary to Paul in this end-time tribulation for the preservation and transmission of the gospel. For Paul, an understanding of believers as sojourners and pilgrims arises out of a correct understanding of what the gospel means; but neither of these are to be identified in itself with the gospel or to occupy more discussion space than the gospel.
In case you aren’t familiar with the Elephant Room you can check it out here. If you are familiar with it, then you know the recent swirl that has taken place with the invitation of T.D. Jakes. Below are three helpful reflections that I benefited from.
Grace and Truth Beyond the Elephant Room, by Trevin Wax
Truth, Debate, Unity, and The Elephant Room, by Joe Thorn
The Elephant in the Room, by Voddie Baucham
Seven Thoughts on the Elephant Room and T.D. Jakes, by Kevin DeYoung
11 Things I’m Thinking in the Wake of Recent Events, by Thabiti Anyabwile
Carson and Keller on Jakes and the Elephant Room, by Don Carson & Tim Keller
I really appreciate the 9Marks ministry. Where I have really benefited from them is how to put “flesh on the bones” so to speak. Scripture clearly gives us the theology and direction for ministry, but at times pastors need encouragement in connecting the dots and thinking practically about certain situations. Recently I found two posts by 9Marks that were especially applicable.