To me the highlight was Reggie McNeal. I read his book, The Present Future: Six Tough Questions for the Church and I resigned my church less than six months later. Reggie’s breakout session dealt with three shifts he thinks the Western church needs to experience: From internally focused to externally focused; from program driven to people development; from institutional leadership to an apostolic movement (or AD 30 leadership).
Reggie majored in on one of the themes of his book, that is, our churches are far too focused on themselves and their people and not involved in impacting the community enough. The ironic thing was that he was saying all of this while within one of the largest evangelical churches in
I was so convicted by his book because I saw myself in his writing. I was so busy “feeding the monster” as I called it (that is, developing and running programs that ministered to the church members) that I never had time to develop relationships outside of church. Part of that was my own fault for not making the time, but I usually was so drained by all of the “ministry” I was doing that I didn’t have time or the desire to expend the energy to get involved with my community. I think I am going to reread my notes and post some of the thoughts on his book very soon on this site. If you haven’t read this book and you would like to, let me know, I’ve got an extra copy.
Another highlight of the evangelism conference was a message by former state evangelism director Bob Caldwell who had some great things to say to Missouri Baptists about allowing the next generation of leaders to do their thing.