Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Ignite MidAtlantic Conference Wrap Up

God is moving across the MidAtlantic. Hearts and minds of leaders and churches are being ignited for the mission of Christ. It’s a wonderful thing to experience and play a part in!

That’s the sense that many of the over 200 leaders and participants were feeling as our Ignite Midatlantic Leadership Conference concluded at First Baptist Church of Glenarden on Friday evening, June 24th. After two full days of learning, listening, interacting, sharing, eating, and mostly, hearing from God, Converge MidAtlantic leaders and churches ARE IGNITED to move forward and transform our communities with the love and power of Jesus Christ. Many shared that this Ignite Conference was truly an historic event in our movement. Praise God for His power and presence in our midst.

Some of my personal highlights included:

Incredible Plenary Messages from Pastor John Jenkins, Pastor Al Detter, Admiral Barry Black, Pastor Mark Batterson, Damian Williams, and Dr. Jerry Sheveland. God truly spoke through each of these leaders in amazing ways. The theme of PRAYER and the spiritual authority we have as followers of Jesus stood out in many of these teachings. DVD’s of each of these plenary sessions can be obtained by emailing Anna Rolland at the Converge MidAtlantic office at: Anna@convergemidatlantic.com.

Outstanding Hospitality from First Baptist Church of Glenarden as they served us and served Christ throughout the entire Event. Our meeting room accommodations, transportation support, the meal services, greeters and host personnel; all servants of Christ, helped to make our experience a pleasant and very enjoyable one. Thank you to all of our friends at First Baptist, Glenarden

Engaging Diversity modeled by Pastor Michael Henderson, Damian Williams, and Rod Hairston as they hosted our sessions throughout the two days. We truly enjoyed connecting up with those who are doing ministry in settings that are vastly different than ours. We learned from those who are younger than us, and for some, from those who are older. We were blessed by the Choir of First Baptist, Glenarden, and Stephen Hurd, Director. We were reminded that the work of bringing the Kingdom of God to this world is not an individual thing, but requires partnership and teamwork. What a wonderful blessing this diversity is in our Converge Midatlantic movement.

Inspiring Video Stories: I personally was inspired and greatly encouraged as a result of the Video stories we saw throughout the two-day conference. They helped us all see that God is working all over our region. We witnessed a church moving from “dysfunction to disciplemaking” in Mentor, OH. We saw “10 years of community transformation” in the Washington DC area. We saw a wonderful “Multi-site Movement” occurring in the Centre Region of Pennsylvania. Of course, we saw the “Ignite Torch” carried across our MidAtlantic region, as a reminder of the 85 communities we are currently seeking to transform, and the opportunities ahead of us to make an even greater impact. I want to personally thank Steve Lowe from The Journey Church Community in Eldersburg, MD, for his servant leadership in the video production. Thanks a million, Steve!

Each of the video pieces can be viewed on Vimeo, by logging on to our Converge MidAtlantic website and clicking on the “vimeo” link.

Practical Breakout Teachings: I was so impressed with the hard work that each of the breakout presenters put into their sessions on Thursday and Friday afternoon. I was equally encouraged as I heard responses from so many who spoke so highly of the benefit from these breakout sessions. I want to thank each leader who gave of their time and effort to teach these hands on sessions. Thank you to: Cindy Finley, Pastor John Jenkins, William Gentry, Vince DiPaola, Dan Nold, Dee and Jerry Sheveland, Dave Scull, Jeremy Copeland, John Cournan, Michael Henderson, Bill Heaton, Belynda Gentry, and Bobby Watkins. Truly, God used each of you to help us to grow and to learn.

Where do we go from here? Converge MidAtlantic is positioned to continue to Ignite a movement across our region and around the world in the coming year and years. Of course it’s going to happen through each of our 85 member churches as they advance the cause of the Gospel and multiply disciples, and leaders, and churches. As we partner together, some of the “next steps” for our movement as a whole include opportunities such as: A Lead Pastor Coaching Cluster launching this fall, an Impact Church Network Event planned for October 19-21 in Charlotte, NC, and a newly revised First Steps Training for church planters and church planting coaches, planned for February 1-3, 2012.

As our Church Planting leadership team met on Wednesday, prior to the Ignite Conference, we collected some information from churches in our movement that have indicated their intent to plant/daughter new churches, or to expand through multi-site venues during the next four years. We tallied the number which came to 24 new churches or sites in the coming four-year period of time. We’re working hard to build a sound strategy and put all of the systems in place to see this become a reality. We want to be held accountable by you and by God for the resources and gifts we have been given. We really do want to do our part to Ignite a movement of transformation across our region and around the world.

Thanks for playing your part on this team. Thanks for being a part of Ignite MidAtlantic.