We had a great weekend at C3 Church. It began with a Leadership Conference led by Pastor Matt and Pastor Rick White from The People's Church, in Franklin, TN. It was a truly great leadership conference, follow by a great sermon by Pastor Rick on the weekend. He shared about how he made a decision in 1992 after leading a mainline traditional church for 10 years that he had to do change to begin to reach those who were "far from God." This decision cost him friends and 1/3 of his church but he has no regrets. Today they are more than twice the the size that they were before 1/3 of the church left. The great part is that the growth they experienced since 1992 is largely due to this new effort to reach those "far from God." He said that before '92 his church sustained continued growth but in those days they were just "trading sheep." He said that the only people coming to new faith in Christ were children of members.
I praise God for men like Pastor Rick White. He is one of the few pastors who developed a vision for a new type of ministry and had the strength stick it out. There will be many in heaven one day who will thank him. He opened his sermon by asking a question from the book No Perfect People Allowed: Creating a Come-as-You-Are Culture in the Church by John Burke. What does a Buddhist, a Biker couple, a gay rights activist, a transient, a high-tech Engineer, a Muslim, a 20-somthing single mom, a Jew, an unmarried couple living together and an atheist all have in common? They are the future church. So I guess I have to add a new book to my wish list.