I'm not "live blogging" anything here, nor am I going into great detail about the teaching (listen to the audio when its available). But thought I would sketch a simple picture of what's happening from the perspective of a newbie. This is my first time to an Acts 29 Bootcamp. I am here as our church seeks to become a "Stratgegic Partner" of the church planting network. We want to connect because we share a common faith (reformed and gospel-centered), want to address culture in similar ways and want to be a church planting church. So I am here for Tuesday and Wednesday's Bootcamp, and then Jen and I will come in on Thursday for assessment - that will determine whether or not Redeemer Fellowship is ready to join Acts 29. We are praying that things work out. Darrin Patrick was up first this morning and spoke on "Leading the Mission," focusing on Paul's letters to Timothy. He talked about the gospel as a code word to summarize the Christian faith (think the life, death and resurrection of Jesus as the means of establishing a Kingdom in which humanity is forgiven and creation is restored), a hermeneutic, and a paradigm for how God works in the world. The whole discussion on pastoral ministry was helpful, but I was most impressed with his caution that we tend to lack discernment where we find ourselves in most need.
Mark Driscoll was second in the line-up and talked about preaching - which he confessed is not as fun as preaching itself. Good words all the way around. His thoughts on masculine preaching were helpful, and he pushed preachers to ask, "Why people resist the truth?" in our preaching as a means of anticipating and overcoming the objections of our hearers. Good stuff all the way around. He also addressed the perspective that "preaching" is no longer relevant in the postmodern culture; that "preaching is out." He argued that preaching is the biblical norm, though it can take a variety of cultural presentations. Ultimately he said, "Preaching is only out for those who suck at it."
Ed Stetzer filled the last two sessions and offered his thoughts on missional and kingdom-focused church planting. Ed is always disarmingly funny, but it is usually a way of throwing an audience off balance so he can drop a bomb or two on us. Great stuff, but his words of caution to not try and be Mark Driscoll (or others), but be the pastors and plant the churches God calls us to in our unique contexts, was needed. He also emphasized the biblical place of "membership" in our new churches, lamenting the "theological disaster" of membership in our denomination pointing out that over half of the members of the SBC are not a real part of any local church.
After the last session those being assessed met with their assessors for a meal on campus. This was a nice meet and greet and helped to break the ice for the official assessment on Thursday.
After dinner Steve and I were invited to meet up with Darrin Patrick and company, Mark Driscoll and company, and Ed Stetzer at BW3. We had very encouraging conversations with everyone. All of these men are passionate and articulate about the gospel and what God is doing in and through the churches they are a part of. Afterward Steve drove us back to the hotel in near zero-visibility.
Everything starts up again tomorrow morning at 9am.