Some Things I am Learning at the 95 Conference

Today and tomorrow I am attending a Church conference in Peoria Illinois. It is called the 95 conference because ninety-five percent of Churches are under 500 people in attendance. The organizer’s goal is to encourage smaller Churches in their service of the Lord.

Right now, I have a two-hour break for supper and relaxation before heading back tonight. During this time I thought I would take a few minutes and share some thoughts from today. I have been blessed to hear three main session speakers along with attending two breakout workshops. All total I have about four and half hours of inspirational teaching I have heard already.

Here are a couple of thoughts I would like to share.

1. The Church is a Place of Unity. With all of the things happening right now in the world, the Church is a place that is leading the way in working together. Churches across the country are working with all ethnic, racial and economic backgrounds. The Church is composed of both genders, all ages, and various denominations. In a world of disunity, the Church leading the way in unity because it works on behalf of the God who created us all.

2. Lead With Our Weakness. The book of Second Corinthians is the Apostle Paul’s manifesto on how to do ministry. He emphasizes his weakness more than his strengths with chapter 12 being the pinnacle of his thinking. There is the powerful line that reads, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9). Being a leader in the Church is not about having special abilities, it is about trusting in the power of God.

3. Hope is Not a Strategy. While we trust God and his power, we are also called to be wise. A thoughtful Church leader will assess what their Church is doing. Develop a plan of improvement. Create structures to support the plan. Finally, they will get to work on the task of developing more and better disciples.

4. The Wisdom of Age. Quote from Carl George, “A 30-year-old cannot imagine what a 60-year-old person knows, simply because they haven’t been beaten up enough times.”

5. The Death of a Church. “A Church is dying when it is more concerned about the ‘way’ we do Church than about the ‘why’ we do Church” (Tony Morgan). The Church exists to spread the message of Jesus to a lost and dying world, not to maintain programs that we enjoy.

These are just a few brief thoughts from the many things I wrote down. I am sure these and dozens of others will find their way into blogs, leadership lessons, sermons and conversations in the coming year. I am glad to be here, and I am blessed by such a wonderful experience.

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