This past week (May 10-13) I had the privilege of attending the PAOC General Conference in Edmonton, Alberta. The theme of this years conference was “Rooted in Relationship”. This series of posts contains my notes from the speakers I heard at the conference. Many thanks to my church for making it possible for my wife and I to attend!
I’ve never heard a message on Leah before (see Genesis 29 for the introduction to Leah). That was the subject of the message by the Assembly of God’s General Superintendent, George O. Wood. Here are some of the statements he made that I thought were important enough to record (note that although I tried to record the words of Rev. Wood verbatim, there may be instances where I just got the spirit of what he was saying):
- circumstances in Leah’s life were out of her control
- Leah is the one who is recorded as putting her faith in the Lord. Notice Rachel stole her father’s household idols.
- Notice that Genesis 49:31 tells us that Jacob wanted to be buried not with Rachel but with Leah!
- Leah’s story teaches us that we cannot measure the effectiveness of our life within the span of a couple decades. Sometimes the effectiveness of our life isn’t even seen until long after we die!!
- Leah did a whole lot more to build up the house of Israel than did Rachel.
- All the key players from the Christmas story are descended from Leah.
- Barnabas was descended from Leah
- We will make choices that will impact others long after we are gone.
- Ministry is about people not buildings and we have to leave our “failures” (or what we think are failures) to God.
- There is a reward that exists for both the sower and the reaper
- 6 of heaven’s pearly gates stand in tribute to Leah’s legacy in her sons – what will stand in heaven as a tribute to what you are going through now?
- What will matter 100 years from now is the legacy of your life that you pass on to others.
For the next few days I’m just going to post my rough notes from the conference and I may comment here and there. However, I’m going to reserve the majority of my personal reflection from the conference until the last post. In the meantime, feel free to write your own thoughts in the comments!
Ivan Satatyavrata serves as the Senior Pastor of an Assembly of God church in Kolkata (Calcutta), India. Here are my notes from his message at the General Conference:
Christianity in general is more of a multicultural and global movement than ever before.
- need for Christians all over the world to work TOGETHER.
- John 17:18 (Jesus prayer)
- John 20:21 (commission) – As the father sent Jesus, so he sends US!
“How of Missions”
- it is the manner in which the Father sent the Son that determines the manner in which the church is sent by Jesus
- it’s mission is governed by the manner of His (mission). (Newbigin, Missons in Christ’s way)
- the importance of “as” in what Jesus said. (the father has sent me AS I send you)
- missions is NOT about colonization.
- missions must NOT be done alone!
- missions is not marketing (corporatization)
What is Jesus way for missions?
John 14:21 (Jesus prayer) – one as you and I are one.
- with God and with each other
- must be nurtured in and flow out of our intimacy with God
- need can be a motivation for philantrophy but can never be a motivation for mission
- Mission must be rooted in an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ
John 13:1-5 – washing of feet
- mission IS servanthood
- “if you come to us in the spirit of your master we cannot resist you” (Ghandi writing to E. Stanley Jones – missonary to India)
Jesus prayed that we may all be one.
- such friendship is a non-negotiable if missions is to succeed.
- this friendship is supernatural. Not just two people sharing the same values or in the same club etc.
- friendship is put together by God.
- it involves pain, love etc. (John 15:13-15)
Here are the notes from the session with Gordon Franklin:
The text Romans 16:3-16, Philippians 1:3 (where Paul lists greetings to his peers)
- For Paul this wasn’t just a list of names!
- It is a mosaic of memories of people that changed Paul’s life, who impacted him.
- We need to thank God for spiritual history before us.
- When mailing “the list” Paul is exposing a foundational family in his life.
Personal application, who is your honour roll?
- finish this “… I thank my God everytime I remember…”
- Don’t just tell the people that they’re on your honour roll but also why they are there.
Remember that for this series I’m just posting the raw notes and then I’ll be posting a wrap up post with my reflection on all the messages I heard. But for this post, do you have an “honour roll” in your life? Who are some of the people who have had an impact in your life? By the way, I’ve been reading this interesting series of posts on honour over on the LifeChurch.tv Swerve Blog, check it out! (each one of those links goes to a different post).
I attended the breakout session with my lead pastor (Marshall Eizenga) to hear Wayne Cordeiro again. Wayne expanded further on what he had talked about the previous evening in the general session. Really. Good. Stuff. Here are the notes I took:
Whose cage are you tapping and who is pacing you right now?
- you will never have wholeness in a church with broken relationships.
- if staff or volunteers come into your office and they don’t make your heart leap ask why!
- make sure relationships are good and healthy.
- if you don’t have healthy relationships no program will work because everyone will sabotage it.
- if you are a repenting man you will be a healthy man
- healthy churches still have problems but they deal with them quickly.
- Luke 1 when you have healthy relationships the Holy Spirit can move. And He doesn’t need you!
- healing requires health – if you tolerate brokenness forget about the healing!
- God’s word says without knowledge my people perish.
- We always want to make sure what we do is biblical
How do we build relationships?
- we need the presence of God in order to have healthy relationships.
- we need to be radical chrisitians going back to the core of scripture
- Are you contending for the presence of God or for the absence of God in what you do? In other words are you relying more on what you can do or what God can do?
- every miracle started with a problem
- if you want to succeed more quickly then double your rate of failure
- John Wesley, “I now value everything by the price it will gain in eternity”
Now ask the question whose cage are you tapping? How do you gain and develop leaders?
1. Believe in them early on.
- Love the potential that lies within people. Don’t just love people.
2. Disciple them Daily
- How do you do this? Live authentically
- you will shape tomorrows church. How it’s shaped depends on you. Tomorrows leaders will become just like you. Ultimately you will reproduce who you are.
- what habits are people observing in you?
- if you want to leave Jesus footprints behind you then you can’t be wearing a costume you have to have Jesus all the way to the core.
- Discipleship begins with me.
- Discipling doesn’t just mean encouraging it means correcting as well
3. Challenge and invite them into ministry
Sorry for the delay in making these posts folks. Here’s my notes from the final session at the 2010 PAOC General Conference. Ed Stetzer was the speaker and I was really looking forward to hearing him speak because I’ve been a reader of his blog for quite a while. Sometime this week I’ll write the final post in this series where I’ll sum up my thoughts and observations from my experience at this years General Conference. Remember the notes below may or may not be verbatim.
The title of Ed’s message was, “Mobilizing all God’s people on Mission” (1 Peter 4:10-11)
1. All have gifts…
- Everyone should use it to serve others
- we need to teach people that the gospel involves knowledge AND ACTION
- church is more than a theatrical show it is a team sport
- 1 Cor. 12:7 “7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.”
- God gives gifts for the common good
- we need to lead more differently so people can engage God’s mission more faithfully
- what do we need to do to lead them on mission?
- the gospel is not YOU do it is JESUS DID
- when we do for people what God has called people to do everyone gets hurt.
- you can’t disciple people with books alone- you disciple them life to life.
2. …God intends all to use…
- God has given us gifts – we are to steward them
- God calls us to be managers of our gifts and equippers so people can manage their gifts
- too many churches are just a pile of dismembered hearts rather than a body of members on mission
- we’ve made it acceptable to sit in church, do nothing and still be called a follower of Jesus Christ
3. …for which he empowers us…
- Hebrews 4:11; 1 Peter 4:11
- there are people who think it is their job to sit and to watch rather than to go and do.
- too often church staff have a codependent relationship with their congregation
- to break the codependency the enabler has to break the enabling
4. …to bring God glory
- Ephesians 4:11
- you want a united church get everyone working together.
- God is not getting his due glory in church because people are spectators rather than participants
- all are called
As promised here are some wrap-up thoughts (albeit I got this published a bit later than I originally intended!) on the 2010 PAOC General Conference that I had the privilege of attending this year. I’m so grateful for the opportunity granted to me by my church family that made it possible for my wife and I to go – it was our first ever General Conference in the 14 years that I’ve been a PAOC Pastor.
Overall, there are really two “themes” that kind of impacted me the most in all the things I heard and experienced at this conference. There was nothing really groundbreaking or life-changing for me but it was more of a reinforcement of the things I’ve learned in ministry and a reminder of the importance of them.
1. The importance of working together in relationship in the Kingdom
The message was loud and clear this conference – what we accomplish together is far greater than what we’d accomplish individually. Whether that is on the denominational level (i.e. supporting national initiatives or missions internationally), or the local level (working with others in our cities) there was a renewed emphasis on keeping the relationship strong in everything we do.
Another aspect of this is recognizing that a large part of who we are is made up by the people that God has put into our life that we have cultivated relationships with. There was a great reminder (especially by Gordon Franklin) to remember to thank those who invested into our lives. I’ve had time to reflect on that and I would have to say five of the individuals that had the greatest impact on me in terms of how they intentionally invested in me as a person are:
- My Mom: She showed the power of believing in you as a person. She never stopped believing in what was possible for my sister and I and demonstrated that by her willingness to take the time necessary to take us and get us wherever we needed to go in all the different things we were involved in growing up. Mom always had this to say to my sister and I, “You CAN do it”.
- My Dad: My Dad instilled me the value of hard work and doing things right the first time. I’ll always remember the times (now fondly but then I hated it) when Dad would make me do something over again because I didn’t give it my best and cut corners to get it over with.
- My Grade 7 and 8 English Teacher Mrs. Mclean: Under her tutelage I gained an even greater love for books and creative writing. She challenged me and gave me freedom to think creatively, write and speak creatively. I remember being able to choose my homework rather than having to stick to the curriculum because she believed I would do greater things with that freedom. And I did.
- My Youth Pastor, “Barry Risto”. At a difficult time of my life, Barry was one of the first people to show me I had leadership potential and I attribute much of my being in full-time ministry to his encouraging words and Godly example.
- My friend and mentor, Merv Brockwell: Merv was the second Senior Pastor I worked with and under him I grew incredibly as a leader. He also imparted to me the confidence to eventually lead a church. Further, without Merv’s influence in my life there was a time when I might have left full-time minsitry.
There are many others, friends, and people who God used in particular moments. To many to list here. But those five I’ve listed above are the first that come to mind when I think of who has had the most impact in my life.
2. The importance of investing in and releasing the next generation.
As leaders it is always important to be thinking not only of who you are leading but also who you are releasing to lead. This means that leaders need to be intentional about investing in the next generation. As Wayne Cordeiro put it, “What cage are you tapping on?” – a very powerful image (follow link to get context). This investment must be intentional and will require time to be of greatest effectiveness.
Ed Stetzer also reinforced this theme when he drove home the importance of the church equipping people for ministry.
Personally I was really challenged as a leader to think about who I am investing in, and who I am actively equipping to be a future leader.
The questions for you are, “Who has impacted you by virtue of your relationship to them?” and second, “Do you have someone from a generation after you that you are investing in?”