This weekend, my very own Durham, NC is hosting a Christian conference of EPIC proportions.
As the Durham News and Observer reported, the Advance Conference is in town featuring a wide array of “celebrity pastors,” a list that includes controversial Mark Driscoll, fiery preacher John Piper, the influential writer and Lifeway research guru Ed Stetzer, Village Church’s Matt Chandler, and my friendly, neighborhood multi-site pastor, J.D. Greear. As the article described, it is a time for “young pastors to learn from the masters about how to start a successful church.”
While I’m sure the article made every single speaker blush (and then secretly feel good), the article is not that far off. As I stood in the lobby this afternoon, I stared out at a sea of eager young men and women, all looking uber trendy in graphic tees, skinny jeans, funky haircuts and Converse tennis shoes. I think I saw maybe one middle-aged guy in a polo shirt, but he was the exception to the rule. (You know who you are……Rick Langston) This was a crowd of young people all hoping to make their mark on the world and learning from those who already have.
When you’re surrounded by so many great pastors, it’s hard not to get swept up in a kind of hero worship. And I think that’s the great temptation at conferences like these. We look up to these trail blazers, and we all secretly fantasize about the day we’ll be up on stage instructing the younger generations how to lead and preach and grow the Church. It’s funny how a gathering intended to exalt Christ can end up doing quite the opposite. God becomes small in the face of our own aspirations.
But the reality is that, in spite of my ungodly motives, these men do have a lot of experience and wisdom to share and it’s an excellent opportunity to learn. And while the conference itself is about the resurgence of the local church, I’m going to be coming at it from a very different angle:
How do we stage a resurgence of women’s ministry?
In the next several posts I am going to examine the reasons that women’s ministry is declining, why you should care, and what we should do about it. I will not only be writing from my own experience, but from the discussions and correspondences I’ve had with influential Christian leaders as well. From these conversations it has become clear that I am not alone in feeling a burden to initiate change in this particular branch of the Church–the Holy Spirit is on the move.
The theme of Advance 09 is that of an advancing army. We may have experienced some defeats in the past, but now it’s time to mount a resurgence. And ladies, we constitute one half of that army. If this “resurgence” is going to happen then we need to carry our own weight, so it’s time we start thinking about what it means to be a soldier in the Kingdom ranks, fighting not against flesh and blood, but against powers and principalities. You are not just a precious daughter of the King–you are a mighty warrior.