Here’s a preview of the workshops we’ll be offering at the National Gathering!
- Communicating the Gospel in An Age of Skepticism – Josh Crain
The place of religion in society has changed profoundly in the last few centuries, particularly in the West. What do these changes mean, and what, precisely, happens when a society becomes one in which faith is only one human possibility among others? Borrowing from experts such as Charles Taylor, James K.A. Smith, Don Beck, and Stanley Grenz, Josh Crain walks us through the cultural shifts that define 21st century Western society and how the church might continue to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus in this evolving context.
- Contextual Apologetics – Lisa Fields
Historically, apologetics in America has been framed by white evangelicals. While important work has been done in this area, challenges exist because the dominant culture is often disconnected from the needs and the nuances of other cultures that they are seeking to engage. Therefore, a contextualized approach to apologetics is helpful in this endeavor. In this session we will seek to help the participants defend their faith in every cultural context.
- Before the Bridge – Cyd & Geoff Holsclaw
When it comes to explaining salvation, many of us know the bridge illustration. But what if, instead of us crossing the bridge over to God’s side, it was God who came over to our side and built a house for us to live together with him? How might this house depict the reunion of heaven and earth (God’s side and ours), and even the reunion of God’s presence and our purpose in the world? Can we use the image of a house to quickly communicate the whole narrative of scripture and make it possible to proclaim good news answers to life’s really big questions? In this session, help us ‘beta test’ a new illustration for the gospel that we hope can be shared with people of all ages and faith backgrounds.
- Proclaiming the Good News to Children/Youth – Juliet Liu
There are loads of curricula, books, and websites geared to share the gospel with children and youth. It can be overwhelming and exhausting to try to sort through all the possibilities. But how is everything we decide to read / say / do with kids shaped by who we are with kids? This session will be part theological foundations and part collaborative conversation / brainstorming. Bring your celebratory stories and your challenging struggles. All are welcome, whether you work with kids or not.
- It Doesn’t All Point to Jesus: Preaching the Gospel Without Preaching the Gospel™ – Norton Herbst
Preaching is hard. Preachers have to be engaging, biblical, helpful, and above all, gospel-focused. Every week. But what does it mean to preach the gospel? How do you preach gospel sermons from the Old Testament without simply saying “it all points to Jesus”? And how do we avoid the tendency to develop a packaged summary of the gospel message—the Gospel™—that we simply append to every sermon? In this breakout, we’ll explore these questions about preaching philosophy, style, and methods as it relates to gospel themes. Norton Herbst will suggest some practical ways we can take more risks, incorporate creativity, and bring a holistic approach to preaching that can engage diverse audiences with the life-changing message of the gospel.
- The Gospel in the Life of the Pastor – Mandy Smith & J.R. Briggs
As church leaders our job is to proclaim the gospel to others, but we often forget that the gospel applies to us as well. In the midst of the busyness and demands of ministry, it is too easy to lose track of the significance of the gospel in our own lives. In this workshop, Mandy Smith and J.R. Briggs want to help create a safe space to share the challenges of ministry, apply the truth of the gospel to those challenges, and to pray with and for one another.
- Incarnational Apologetics – Lisa Fields
Classical apologetics focuses on giving intellectual arguments for the hope that we have, while incarnational apologetics focuses on giving a defense for our faith through the way we live our lives. These two must work together in tandem for an effective defense of the Christian faith. The goal in this session is to highlight the importance and means of incarnational apologetic to the Christian walk.
- The Power of the Gospel Across Cultures – Mia Chang & Danny Prada
One of the uniquenesses of the gospel of Jesus Christ is how it is has inhabited and transformed hundreds, if not thousands, of cultures and people groups around the globe throughout history. For many years, those cultures were relatively isolated from one another. Today though, a wide range of ethnicities and cultures are in many of the communities that we are seeking to engage with the gospel. As local churches, how can we proclaim this same good news, contextually and appropriately, across many cultures in our singular local churches. Further, how does the gospel help us live together amidst our differences in heritage and perspective. Join Danny and Mia as they share the story of how diverse communities of biblical faith have developed in their congregations and how their learnings can apply to yours.