By Dr. James Emery White, Crosswalk.com
Tomorrow, the sixth annual Church & Culture Conference will take place via livestream from Mecklenburg Community Church (Meck) in Charlotte, NC.
If you have not attended before, you may be wondering what the vision is for this event.
Heaven knows the Christian world doesn’t need another conference that is just like every other conference. You know the drill: the same eight or 10 speakers currently hot on the circuit, the same talks that are not-so-thinly veiled book promotions, the same “pep rally” atmosphere. Yes, they serve a purpose, but we have them in ready supply.
In its earlier years, Meck offered what we called the “New Work Conference.” It was for church planters and we served countless numbers. We stopped after a while because we had grown distant from our own church planting days and the church planting world was changing rapidly. There were simply churches better positioned for that role.
But it was rich while it lasted. Why? Because it really did fill a niche. So we waited until another very clear niche presented itself.
There are conferences that bring the latest insights into leadership, but where is the conference that brings the latest insights into culture?
And not just cultural insight, but practical applications for the local church in light of those insights? If our mission is the evangelization and transformation of culture through the centrality of the local church, then two things must follow: we must understand the times and then we must know what to do.
We must understand our culture and how best to respond to it,
… penetrate it,
… reach it,
… and transform it.
And we must understand how to do that through the local church. It is not that other means do not exist for the mission, but Jesus created and charged the Church to be in the vanguard.
So the vision for the annual Church & Culture Conference is simple: to bring the latest, best insights about culture to the surface and then, to explore how to practically respond as a church being mindful of those insights.
This year is no different.
We’ll be bringing entirely fresh content and new challenges anchored by the living laboratory of Meck that experiences more than 70% of its growth from the previously unchurched.
We’re offering the event via livestream, with the option to watch on demand for two additional weeks. So whether you’re joining from another time zone in the U.S., from another country around the world, or your day is already booked solid tomorrow, no need to worry—you can access the content whenever your schedule allows.
So what’s on the docket for the 2020 Conference?
The first session is titled “Church 3.0” and will explore the next iteration of the Church in light of our 2000-year history. This will be a walkthrough of what marks Church 1.0 and 2.0, and where the future of the church is headed.
That will be followed by an entire session on “Responding to Racism” with a look at race and the Church. We'll take a look at all things related to race and racial reconciliation through the lens of theology and how the Church needs to engage what's happening in our culture right now.
After a break for lunch, the third session will kick off in the afternoon titled “The Economic Challenge” with a look at how the church can flourish in the midst of an economic recession. Analysts are forecasting that the economic situation in the world will only go from bad to worse. How does a church speak into people’s lives who are struggling financially when the church itself may be struggling to stay afloat?
And finally, we’ll bring the day to a close with the final session “The Online Church.” How can you best be an online church – how can you flourish and truly engage people – in the world today? This session will include strategies to blend the physical with the digital if your church is unable to gather in person.
I truly hope you will join us.
James Emery White
About the Author
James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC, and the ranked adjunct professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also served as their fourth president. His newest book, Christianity for People Who Aren’t Christians: Uncommon Answers to Common Questions, is now available on Amazon or at your favorite bookseller. To enjoy a free subscription to the Church & Culture blog, visit ChurchAndCulture.org, where you can view past blogs in our archive and read the latest church and culture news from around the world. Follow Dr. White on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @JamesEmeryWhite.