The Resurgence Conference is off to a huge explosion around the world.
1,500 have gathered together in 5 locations. Downtown Seattle is sold out. That space was packed all day and even with a cool, dark day in Seattle, it was piping hot in there with no AC and ridiculously powerful preaching from Mark Driscoll, Crawford Loritts, Greg Laurie, and Matt Chandler.
Additionally, 14,000 people joined us online for free around the world. We have to take a step back and think about something like this happening even 18 years ago before Mars Hill began. The number of young men and women longing to see a revival of hearts toward Jesus without compromising the powerful authority of Scripture is growing, like a wave gaining more and more force. On top of that, to see the global impact through the Internet is just staggering. God's providential timing for a ministry such as this should blow us all away. Where were you 18 years ago? Where were you 5? Chances are, if you're reading this, you have been impacted by the ministry of Pastor Mark, Mars Hill Church, Acts 29, or the Resurgence in some way. We have to give glory to God alone for that!
In case you missed the first day, you can still watch what went down as we are replaying it all throughout the night.
Here are the five big takeaways that stood out to me:
- Christendom is dead. This is the main observation of Pastor Mark in his new book, A Call to Resurgence. The big question for us in America today is, "how will we as Jesus-loving, bible-believing Christians respond in a culture that is more and more hostile toward us?" How will you respond? Will you fold within that or will you move? I am honestly asking myself that question this very moment, seeking God to see how I have cowered in fear and where I may repent and trust God with what is next.
- The core of your ministry is not you, but others: Crawford Loritts drove this point home for me immediately in his introduction. You know it is about you when it you are finding significance in the ebb and flow, the decline or increase, the praise or the persecution of your ministry. You know it's about you when it's about your significance. So for young men in particular - we have to fight early on to ensure that the core of our ministry is not about us, but about others. We have to master the art of self-forgetfulness and others-remembrance.
- It's not about charisma, but character: Crawford Loritts, Greg Laurie, & Matt Chandler hit on this. You can have all the charisma in the world, but your gifts save absolutely no one. People can be drawn to you, to your teaching, to your motivation, but if they do not respond to the call to Jesus and repentance, they will not be saved. All of this is the work of the Holy Spirit alone. So as a preacher you are to give them the gospel and entrust them to God. That's the bottom line. And the way it is on display most is not merely through our preaching, but the character that undergirds all the words you spit out for people to hear.
- Work hard: Matt Chandler just laid it down. Ministry is hard work. If you want to rest, if you want ease, if you want security, do anything else but this. Anything. You come off as a jackass if you're lazy in ministry because as a shepherd, God is entrusting His people to you to shape them, mold them, and call them to follow Jesus at all costs. That means you have to go there with them! If this is anything, it's hard work!
- Spiritual fatherhood to the fatherless: Pastor Mark touched on this with Crawford Loritts in his interview. The big idea is that pastors, especially as they age in their ministry, must see themselves as spiritual fathers to a growing fatherless generation. As young leaders, especially those influenced by Mars Hill, we have a tendency to fight for respect, much like a younger brother with older brothers. As we age in ministry, many continue in that mindset, though we are no longer younger brothers, and we end up damaging the younger men and women in our church with our rough, edgy, defensive attitudes. Regardless of years in ministry, we must always be in a position of seeing ourselves as both serving as spiritual fathers and as needing spiritual fathers. We need to be examples for the younger generation. If we are in our 20s or 30s, we should be "fathering" those who are younger than us in years, but also younger than us in the faith. The young, fatherless men need to see older men walking with Jesus and looking to our heavenly Father for our identity, hope, joy, and love. Likewise, we must all seek out godly counsel of those who are older than us, so we don't fall into the trap of arrogance like Rehoboam, surrounding ourselves with a bunch of dudes our own age just tickling our ears with nonsense (1 Kings 12).
If you went, or listened online, what did you takeaway from the first day?
I'm sure there's much more to glean from this conference and I'm just getting started. I'm looking forward to tomorrow and you should be too. It is still free, so make sure to tune in for Rick Warren, James McDonald, and Mark Driscoll for the close.
By His Grace.