By Dr. James Emery White, Crosswalk.com
In just a few weeks, the fifth annual Church & Culture Conference will take place at Mecklenburg Community Church (Meck) in Charlotte, NC.
If you have not attended before, you may be wondering what the vision is for this event.
Heaven knows the Christian world doesn’t need another conference that is just like every other conference.
You know the drill: the same eight or 10 speakers currently hot on the circuit, the same talks that are not-so-thinly veiled book promotions, the same “pep rally” atmosphere. Yes, they serve a purpose, but we have them in ready supply.
In its earlier years, Meck offered what we called the “New Work Conference.” It was for church planters and we served countless numbers. We stopped after a while because we had grown distant from our own church planting days and the church planting world was changing rapidly. There were simply churches better positioned for that role.
But it was rich while it lasted. Why? Because it really did fill a niche. So we waited until another very clear niche presented itself.
There are conferences that bring the latest insights into leadership, but where is the conference that brings the latest insights into culture?
And not just cultural insight, but practical applications for the local church in light of those insights? If our mission is the evangelization and transformation of culture through the centrality of the local church, then two things must follow: we must understand the times and then we must know what to do.
We must understand our culture and how best to respond to it,
… penetrate it,
… reach it,
… and transform it.
And we must understand how to do that through the local church. It is not that other means do not exist for the mission, but Jesus created and charged the Church to be in the vanguard.
So the vision for the annual Church & Culture Conference is simple:
This conference brings the latest, best insights about culture to the surface and then, to explore how to practically respond as a church in light of those insights.
This year is no different. We’ll be bringing entirely fresh content and new challenges anchored by the living laboratory of Meck that experiences more than 70% of its growth from the previously unchurched. And not only is the content entirely new, but we’re also excited to offer the option to live stream the event if you can’t be here in person.
So what’s on the docket for #CandCConference?
In the first session, “The New Digital Reality,” we’ll uncover the lost art of missional thinking with an in-depth look at why Meck ended its multi-site approach to growth, what it means to go digital, and the importance of continually evaluating strategies to reach the unchurched.
That will be followed by an entire session on “Parenting and Protecting Generation Z in our Post-Christian Reality.” In light of our ever-deepening post-Christian culture, it’s more important than ever to equip parents, youth pastors and student ministry leaders to navigate cultural waters.
What does it mean to be “informed, involved, and in charge”? With the cultural emphasis on not being overprotective, what does it mean to avoid being “underprotective”? Parents need to be equipped to raise and guide this next generation of children, Generation Z. If you are in any way, shape or form someone who has the opportunity to be a person of influence to today’s youth, this is a critical session for you.
And finally we’ll discover the art of “Being a Church for the Unchurched.” Churches often think they are a church for the unchurched, but when you scratch the surface, you see that many are not. The reality is that many churches have outreach in their rhetoric but not in their reality. There are countless decisions that must be made week in and week out to be strategic in reaching the unchurched in our ever-changing culture. Discover the latest insights for reaching those who are far from Christ, including a look at speaking out on the most pressing topics of our day.
I truly hope you will join us.
James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC, and the ranked adjunct professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also served as their fourth president. His latest book, Meet Generation Z: Understanding and Reaching the New Post-Christian World, is available on Amazon. To enjoy a free subscription to the Church & Culture blog, visit ChurchAndCulture.org, where you can view past blogs in our archive and read the latest church and culture news from around the world. Follow Dr. White on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
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