Thursday, October 29, 2009
Last week I travelled down to Indianapolis for the bi-ennial meeting of Converge MidAmerica (www.convergemidamerica.org)
Converge worldwide is the association of that The Orchard Church is a part of and because we are located in Illinois we form part of the MidAmerica district. The conference provided an encouraging time as I had the opportunity to connect with friends from other regional churches and sit under some good teaching. What encouraged me most however was a resolution that was unanimously passed.
Sadly we are all too accustomed to hearing about statements, policies and resolutions that come out of the meetings and gatherings of many denominations and church associations. In recent years most of these have surrounded the support of unbiblical issues that these groups have determined to embrace. Thankfully Converge have diligently held to the authority of Scripture in these issues and therefore have not followed where so many others seem to have gone.
What excited me about the resolution that was passed was not that it contained anything new but rather that it reaffirms the centrality of our mission and in our culture today to hear so many pastors and church leaders unashamedly proclaim our position was truly refreshing and inspiring.
Now that I have hopefully wet your appetite, here is the text of the 2009 Missional Resolution of Converge MidAmerica.
"In a time when churches and ministries are flourishing, and mega-church attendance often can number in the tens of thousands, an uncomfortable reality is haunting us. We are losing our cities at supersonic speed. This reality is rooted in clear, undisputed research indicating the influence of the Church is diminishing significantly and dramatically in our cities and communities across the United States.
The world system we are part of has effectively and successfully called the unchurch and the churches alike to a selfish, self-centered, fear based, consumer-defined, individualistic view of the world that is driven by lust and greed. Statistically, American Christians think and behave no differently than the outsiders.
Jesus' vision of humanity is a much higher vision than the one we are currently experiencing...
To actually follow Jesus is to be on mission with Jesus; to love those he loves, to care about what he cares about, to go to the places he went, and do the things he did. Jesus promises the same Holy Spirit that empowered him would empower his followers to do all the things that he has done and greater things!
We, the pastors and leaders of Converge MidAmerica declare our radical commitment to the centrality of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. First in working it out in our lives! Second, in the proclamation of the Good News to our generation! Third, to serve the poor and the rich, the marginalized and the mainstream in our cities who are far from Christ! Fourth, to lead our churches to be transformational agents in our Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth!
1) Our undying devotion in seeking the Father's will and in fulfilling Jesus' great commission through the power of the Holy Spirit. We commit to live reflective lives, to personally lead our churches in the way of prayer and in the practice of the spiritual disciplines.
2) Our unswerving commitment that those who have been redeemed by Christ are commanded to "make disciples of all people." As pastors and leaders we will commit ourselves to do the work of an evangelist and to tirelessly lead our churches in multiplying disciples, leaders and congregations.
3) Our humble dependence on one another as pastor, leaders and churches. Seeking ways to learn from each other! Finding ways to encourage and inspire one another! Generously sharing our resources with each other!
4) Our mutual conviction that generosity is an expression of the grace of God. To this we resolve to personally model generosity to our churches and to lead these churches to excel in the grace of giving. We will model generosity in our communities, to the regional ministries of Converge MidAmerica and to the ends of the earth."
My personal thanks to the MidAmerica Multiplication Team who authored the resolution.
By the grace of God may we be found faithful about the work entrusted to us!