I had a fantastic day yesterday at "The Elephant Room," a one day conference where 7 influential, Gospel-loving Pastors discussed and spoke openly about different issues within the church. I got the opportunity to go to the live site, as this event was simulcasted all around the US and Canada, which was incredible to sit just a few feet from the action. It was a good day for me to do something out of the normal, have good fellowship, laugh a lot, and gain some things to chew on. Here are some of my thoughts.
-Mark Driscoll- Mark is one of the quickest, funniest, and knowledgeable guys I've ever seen interact. He doesn't even try! Both Humor and Theology spew from His mind! I really admire His love for His family. As much as he loves His church, and pours time into His ministry, He clearly makes sure he is investing in his wife and kids first.
-Perry Noble-I haven't really heard of Noble until this event. He is a sarcastic guy, who says some "shocking" things, and fights for His stance on things, with Biblical backing. I admired that he took notes the entire day. He clearly wants to seek everything out and holds even his own views with humility.
-David Platt-One of the most humble guys I've seen interact, with one of the biggest hearts for the lost. Platt is brilliant in his Bible knowledge, critical in his thinking, and longs to see the Gospel be the center focus of compassion in the world.
-Matt Chandler-Quick-witted, sharp, and biblically thorough! The man is just solid!
-Greg Laurie-Wisdom. Laurie speaks with biblical wisdom and experiential wisdom.
-Steven Furtick-I was really impressed. 30yrs. old, and extremely passionate in evangelism. He pushed back a lot on some of His stereotypes from certain youtube clips, etc. with biblically thought-through responses, and left us all thinking. I really admired his ability to cast vision, and see it carried out...LEADERSHIP mixed w/ PASSION and CREATIVITY.
-James MacDonald-Spot on! Definitely not afraid to mix it up and fight out different topics, but extremely humble in accepting others arguments. MacDonald doesn't get off the trail of the Gospel. The Gospel is the centre focus of His thinking, which showed in His points. Plus, only he could pull something like this off. Brilliant.
Honestly, it's hard to sum all these guys up because they are all partners in the Gospel, seeking to achieve the exact same goal. Above are some of my observations, but in the end they are all friends who hold God's Word high, seek truth, and love Jesus.
There was really too much information for me to even try to put it down on here, but I was challenged in my ministry to:
1. Continually grow in my knowledge of the Bible. Memorize it.
2. Love and shepherd my family first. All the men above have biblical families or are making that a top priority as they raise their children and love their wife. W/out a God-fearing, Gospel loving family, my ministry fails, and biblically I don't have the right to be in ministry.
3. Prayerfully seek the Lord, and carefully seek the scriptures on every view, stance, and move I make.
4. Cast vision and be passionate about it that it might be carried out.
5. Hold my views and accept others views with humility. Sure I have biblical opinions, but so do others. Even the things I didn't agree with yesterday, had extremely biblical backing that I had never thought of and need to think of. Seek out the scriptures.
6. Agree to disagree, in love, for the sake of the Gospel. Everyone there held the same Primary Doctrines regarding salvation, as well as the same mission for the lost. AND they all agreed that anyone who taught anything outside of those Primary Doctrines were "wolf in sheeps clothing," and should be "shot." The secondary issues like money, music, and methodology were all carefully, prayerfully, and biblically thought through, but with different beliefs. That's okay. Sure challenge one another, and let God's Word be the measure, but lovingly and graciously agree to disagree.