More than 80 people attended an informal meeting last night at Pinecrest ARP Church for a discussion on ARP Confessional Heritage and Missional Challenge. “The meeting came out of a desire for a pre-Synod conference on evangelism,” said ONA Executive Director Alan Avera.
The idea began with a conversation between Clint Davis and Daniel Wells – after Davis attended the spring ONA Board meeting. “This is about faithfulness to Scripture and standards, plus evangelistic zeal,” he said. “This is about the heart – ours and the denomination’s,” Davis said in a prayer. “We have the answers for the hurting world, but don’t always know how to go about sharing it.”
ONA Board Chairman Wes Springs added, “We have a rich history – we should be leading in evangelism. This is motivational, not an educational issue.”
Panel members Matt Lucas of Reformation ARP, and Wayne Frazier of Back Creek ARP, and Erskine Seminary Professor R.J. Gore were introduced and told a little about themselves. Lucas said Reformation church is growing, “The Lord is the one who does the work of the ministry; we are human vessels who are amazed to see God’s grace.”
The church’s Website slogan is “We are seeking to be a church that is Christ-centered, gospel-driven and kingdom-focused.” Lucas advises going into your community and ask about the reputation of your church. “It’s a humbling experience,” he said:
- Do they even know who you are? If not, your church is irrelevant.
- Rebranding your church: do through love and acts of service.
- Your job is not to build the church, but to focus on building the kingdom – let God build the church.
- Network with other church’s – sometimes you have to agree with visitors that your church might not be for them.
Wayne Frazier told of the unusual way Back Creek has become a church plant: “It’s backward from the way most church plants start – “God dropped in a new community instead of a church planter!” The church has tried to reach out to this new community through prayer walks, concerts, outdoor festivals
“We want the community to ask, ‘Why are these people so gracious to me?’” Frazier says his most important emphases are discipleship and community – as well as connecting with the number of people who have no religious affiliation at all.
- Shows the gospel leaping over cultures and barriers.
- By 2044, Anglos will be the minority; we need to realize the demographic shift and G
Coming from a military approach, R.J. Gore said, “Mission equals task to accomplish. What goal are we trying to reach? For Christians, it’s the Great Commission. We must shape the battlefield in order to reach our goal or end state. The church hasn’t properly interpreted the battlefield.
“This generation has the largest number of high school graduates coming out of divorced families, and a second generation of latchkey kids. Their IQ is higher, but they don’t have intensive analytical abilities. Their knowledge is a mile wide, but an inch deep. Being missional and being confessional are critically related; because of what we believe, we have something to say to people in the midst of postmodern despair.”
Marty Taylor, who attended the discussion, said it’s a good start to a discussion that needs to continue – how we translate from confession to our mission.