Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Purpose Driven Network Summit 2008

Today through Thursday, Rick Warren of Saddleback Church will be gathering 35 pastors to share some powerful messages on best practices for ministry today. It's the Purpose Driven Network Summit 2008 - a rare invitation only conference for about 1500 ministry leaders and pastors. Bloggers and blog-readers were in for a treat as Rick invited DJ Chuang, Carlos Whittaker, Josh Griffin, and Tony Morgan to webcast/blog the event. The webcast and intereviews were hosted at UStream. I'm glad that I saw Tony's blog about this and that Rick's opening message was lunch time for us on the East Coast!

Saddleback was able to share Rick's opening message and first session as streaming video over the internet. It was quite an excellent message from the heart, as Rick poured out his desire to help pastors run a strong race and avoid discouragement. I took a lot of notes to share but found some really excellent notes/thoughts from Perry Noble (one of the attenders/speakers) as well as Dave Ferguson at his blog Velocity. Both Perry and Dave followed up with equally good notes on the next session.

Some assorted nuggets that caught my attention...

- A while back Rick asked God what did He want him to do next. The answer: "Shut up!" "Listen!" John 3:30 He has not taught a conference in the past two years, but has been listening: a lot. Talking to a lot of pastors. Trying out some amazing ministry experiments. We'll hear soon about some big upcoming news on his P.E.A.C.E. initiative to battle some major social and spiritual evils in the world.

- Rick reminds us that Purpose Driven is a framework and an informal network, not a church, not an asoociation.It's a coat hanger with five hooks. Pick what you put on each, he's not into programs, but simply that you need balance to have health, and that your church and ministry focus on the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. There are many such networks, but they tend to be silos - don't communicate, dont' cooperate. That's something he would like to start addressing, via a 'PEACE coalition.' -- Promote reconciliation, Equip servant leaders, Assist the poor, Care for the Sick, Educate the Next Generation.

The main part of his talk discussed how renewal has occurred through history, following five steps:
  1. Personal renewal
  2. Relational renewal
  3. Missional renewal
  4. Cultural renewal
  5. Structural renewal
There's also a sixth at a higher level, institutional renewal. Institutions never institute, rather they preserve the change of the previous generation. Growth is always on the new limbs, institutions are the trunk, which provides stability.

I liked what he shared for several 'telltale signs' of these aspects of renewal.
- With personal renewal, the singing gets better :)
- With relational renewal, people hang-out longer after church is over.
- With missional renewal, the church starts to get a clue, we're here for a purpose beyond ourselves. Also, when these three line up, you can't stop a church from growing.
- The next stage, structural renewal, is a reflection that you can't but new wine in old wineskins. He stressed there is no perfect structure, which is why structure is never really discussed in the bible.

See the other blogs for info on staying strong in minsitry, but a takeaway suggestion I really liked was:
"Divert daily. Withdraw weekly. Abandon annually."

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