Recently, I heard it again. A pastor, lost his pastor job, then took a ‘regular’ job, started hanging out with non-Christianized people. Things started to happen as he became present with people outside the church. Opportunities to minister into real issues, needs. Openings for the gospel!! And then came the realization: “I did more ministry this past month that I did in the entire 15 years of my ministry.
Of course this pastor is talking about transformative ministry that extends the gospel beyond the boundaries of well-established Christians. I know for a fact he had a powerful and steady impact with Christians as he ministered with them.
But what is going on here? I call it the practice of being present in our contexts. It is a dynamic all churches must cultivate among their people if they are to extend the gospel into context, if they are to participate in what God is doing to bring the world to Himself. I call it the practice of being present. It is what this pastor was freed up to do. It is what we all should be leading our congregations into doing.
This is what this year’s Missional Learning Commons is about!
We’re going to be spending the day hearing about the theology and the practice of being present. And it is not only about being present, but bringing the gospel and reconciliation of Jesus Christ to the openings God always creates when we are present.
The schedule looks like this HERE.
The speakers include Darryl Saffore from Lawndale Community Church in Chicago, Cyd Holsclaw from Life on the Vine, NW Suburbs Eric Lerew at Fusion Church Wauconda, Jon Berbaum from Peace of Christ Westmont, and Chris Smith from Englewood Community church in Indianapolis. I (David Fitch) will be giving the opening salvo and MC’ing the whole conversation. The majority of the time will be taken up with back and forth dialogue. We aim to make MLC a vigorous conversation.
For all those who can come the night before (and find a place to stay either at the hotels HERE or with friends. Feel free to ask for the Northern Seminary discount on the hotels) we are going to have an exceptional evening with Chris Smith, author of the upcoming Slow Church from IVP. We’ll be talked about the process of having conversations on the neighborhood. If you’re coming, download this e-book and read it. The discussion will be rich.
And, oh BTW, we’ll be hanging out in the neighborhood establishments Friday night after the session. And we’ll be doing the same after Saturday sessions. Everyone is invited to hang out and get to know fellow practitioners. Remember we are at The Commons in downtown Westmont this year (about 5 miles from Northern Seminary)