I got in last night after driving five hours through what felt like monsoon conditions from our Annual Meeting of Northwest Baptists. This morning has been a mad-dash to catch up on all the work I left behind. Most of it has been the endless administrative stuff but I also spent some time working on the “Thanksgiving” sermon for Sunday. It is a special one; and I’m eagerly looking forward to it. But before I let the week pass it is good to review the three days we spent in Eugene, Oregon.
The Great Stuff: The preaching was spectacular this year. Ed Stetzer was one of the keynotes and he was awesome; even if he seems to have a phobia about Twitter. Our very own Jon Fredericks from Discovery Community Church in Tacoma. I cannot over state how great his sermon was, and how timely it was. Wayne Cordeiro preached Tuesday night covering some material from his new book “The Irresistible Church.”
The Good Stuff: Much of the emphasis was on church planting. Some people would say I should put this in the category of Great Stuff; because church planting is great, and we are actually working at planting a new church in Silverdale, Washington. But this is only Good Stuff because it is beginning to feel; quite honestly, like there is no room for people like me and churches like mine anymore. Only church planters seem to matter and they just can’t wait for us to get out of there way. More than once this week I felt very much like I was being told, “If only you were as spiritual and cool as a church planter is.” I don’t think that is the intention of anyone, but it sure is beginning to feel like Seattle and especially Portland church planters are “more equal” than others.
The Bad Stuff: There were two bad things–one was very very bad and the other was just yucky bad. I’ll start with the yucky bad–our hotel was a dump. The staff were friendly and kind; but the property was very disappointing. The meeting space was crowded and convoluted. My bathroom was disgusting. The ‘clean’ towels smelled bad. I’ve had better stays at Motel 6. the second bad stuff was that the final reality that 13 staffers were fired due to funding cuts from the denomination (NORTH AMERICAN MISSION BOARD) due to less revenue and restructuring. It is amazing to me that our denomination talks about reaching un-reached people all the time, but in this region–perhaps one of the most unreached in North America, the word is given to lay people off. Sometimes Baptists can be so stupid.
The really great stuff, though, is that I am back in my church where the real action is. One of the great mistakes we can often make is to begin to think that what happens in the denomination is what is really important. I don’t think it is very important at all, except in that it helps local churches fulfill their mission.
NOTE–PASTOR GREENBEAN THINKS YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN THIS BLOG POST ABOUT THE CONVENTION FROM OUR NEW PRESIDENT.