February 24, 2014

Focused Session #1

Reading the War Texts – Redemptively

Speaker: Bill Webb
Room: Minnesota

The so-called “holy war” texts of Scripture include disturbing scenes from genocide (the total kill of all men, women and children) to grabbing good-looking women captives as wives. Unfortunately, the traditional answers [holy God, evil Canaanites, etc.] simply do not work at the level of military ethics. They do not stand up to rigorous ethical scrutiny. By continuing to answer objections with the traditional answers, we have been banging square pegs in round holes. This session will look at some of the emerging, better answers for reading these war texts redemptively.

The Goals of Missional Preaching

Speaker: Al Tizon
Room: America A
The well-known adage, “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time,” is true for preaching as well. The fact that the language of objectives and goals is not used very much in homiletical discussions should be of concern to us. What do we hope to accomplish in our preaching? This workshop discusses seven goals, which when striven for, help determine the theological, ethical and practical—in a word, missional—shape of the church.

Boasting in our Weakness & the Power of the Word

Speaker: Mandy Smith
Room: America B
Paul didn’t minister in spite of his weakness. Ironically, his ministry was empowered by weakness. If our brokenness or lack can make God shine, how are we shortchanging him by pretending we’ve got it all together? If our lives are the place where God’s Word meets this world, do our lives need to be perfect to reveal his Word? How can even our weakness and brokenness reveal His perfect Word? Through story, times of reflection and creative exercises drawn from Mandy’s book, this workshop will show how “Bringing the Word to Life,” heals to the worn out and restores the perfectionist.

Debating, Deciding or Discerning? Seeking Spiritual Direction in the Community of the Spirit

Speakers: Alexander, Keasler & Holsclaws
Room: Missouri

The New Testament account states that the church is a new society, led and ruled by Jesus. This means that the church makes decisions in a way that is unique and peculiar. This workshop explores what it means and looks like for the church to be a “pneumocarcy” (rule of the Spirit), rather than a “democracy” (rule of the majority) or an “autocracy” (rule of one). What does it mean for a local community of faith to discern God’s will together? How can the church listen to God’s Spirit and come to a place of consensus around potentially divisive issues? Can the local church make decisions in which they say “it seemed good to us and the Spirit”? (Acts 15)

Our Churches in God’s Story: How the Kingdom “Expands”

Speaker: Scot McKnight
Room: Ohio

We live in the already/not yet reality of God’s Kingdom. What we often miss, however, is that the church exists within this same dynamic. Ironically, when we compare the present kingdom and the present church, or the future kingdom and the future church, we come out with near identities.

This fundamental identity shift has significant implications for how the church carries out her kingdom mission in the world today. In order to “make the world a better place” or “pursue the common good,” we often ethicize, secularize, or politicize the church’s mission, severing it from God’s Kingdom mission. Instead, we must align with the King himself who came to build the kingdom/church. This workshop will seek to orient and expand these reflections within God’s story.

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