For a couple of years I have watched the Verge Conference attract a variety of church planting networks and missional organizations. The messages have been on the forefront of embracing challenges for people to know and spread the gospel through communities on mission.
This year the regional church planting teams of SGM gathered at the Verge to talk strategy, process, and multiplication to make disciples.
Here are some front-burner takeaways for me from the last week…
1. God is moving. I was reminded once again that God is using conferences like the Verge to gather varied streams of the Church together to renew his people, build relationships across denominations and tribes, and force conversations regarding pushing the gospel message out. Through the preaching and spontaneous conversations you can taste the hunger to see God move, the desperation to see lives changed, the dissatisfaction of life spent in disobedience to Jesus. I saw it. I felt it. I feel called into this movement I can’t attribute to any one church, leader, or group and am convinced it’s simply another example in church history of Aslan on the move.
2. We must adjust to reach a new generation. I came into the conference feeling like I don’t need a lot of convincing on this, but I was wrong. I was challenged greatly by Jeff Vanderstelt’s time with our SGM team. I can sometimes not engage the missional conversation for fear of or frustration with buzzwords or sloppy language. But I was reminded that what one generation calls normal was once a rejected buzzword or an idealistic vision for church life in their current context from innovative leaders. Almost everything I heard at the Verge were exhortations to walk ancient Christian paths acknowledging the challenges of a post-Christian context. I don’t always love new language for biblical things but I must acknowledge that language (for all the dangers of confusing) have an ability to communicate to a new audience the clarity of what the Bible describes as New Testament living to a cynical and struggling generation. Revival throughout church history has proven to be scandalously innovative in its method of communication.
3. Deep community flows from sacrificial mission. This conference reminded me that the churches, networks, and movements seeing God’s blessing are often those prayerfully taking risks. The constant theme I saw highlighted in my heart is the principle that if we sow sparingly we reap sparingly. For days I spent with Sovereign Grace brothers crying out to God and in late night conversations desperate to see God send us out as a family of churches to make his name famous in North America and around the globe. We feel the wind in our face and the call of Jesus to trust him as leaders. We don’t feel like we are experts but learners eager to see God make us missionaries on war footing. It was one of the most encouraging times I’ve ever spent with my Sovereign Grace brothers as we dreamed and prayed and laughed and learned together. I’ve come away so encouraged about the future of SGM and desiring more than ever to get after making disciples and planting churches together.
God, continue to renew, restore, and build your people into the truths of your great grace and love in Jesus. Stretch us, unite us, and send us out to the lost and broken. Make our hearts believe You can change anything through the power of the gospel.