Confessions of a 36-year-old Preacher Bound for Louisville

April 14, 2006 — Leave a comment

“Hi, my name is Arron. I’m 36-years-old, I’m going to the NACC in Louisville this summer, and . . . (big breath) I am looking forward to it.”

Does my confession surprise you?

I wonder.

Perception is not always reality, but the perception is that a lot of younger (40 and below) ministers don’t view conventions like the NACC as relevant anymore, so they aren’t coming, or encouraging their members to come.

I don’t know if this is true, but it’s the perception I’ve picked up in conversations I’ve had with dozens of ministers my age (and younger) and from a recent experience.

I had the privilege of working with the Florida Christian convention for about 5 years–with the last 2 as President. It was rewarding, challenging, and–to be completely honest with you–an extremely frustrating experience.

My team and I invested countless hours–and dollars–trying to convince the preachers in the state to come to, and tell their congregations about, the state Christian convention. Many of them told us that the Convention is just not “relevant” anymore. They told me that they get all of their ministry needs met through their own congregations and/or through one of the many conferences offered by Saddleback, Willow Creek, etc., so–even though they admit enjoying seeing old friends, hearing a good speaker, visiting the exhibits, and worshipping with a large group–those pleasures are not compelling enough reasons to come to the convention.

If the next generations view it as irrelevant, the future of the Florida Christian Convention is in jeopardy.

What about the future of the North American Christian Convention?

I’ve read the books and the blogs on post-modernism and I’m still relatively young, so I understand–and regularly share–the postmodern distaste for institutions, centralized religion, and large organizations, but I’ve also been blessed by my many experiences at Christian conventions, so I can’t wait to go to the NACC.

What about you?

Are you going to the NACC in Louisville? If so, why? If not, why not? Are you a “young” ministry leader? Do you think the NACC is still relevant?

I am, I am, and I do.

And, I don’t think I’m going to be alone with my family at the NACC. It seems like everybody I’ve talked to is going to Louisville during the last weekend of June. I’m happy and I’m surprised, but then I’m also not . . . surprised, that is. The program looks great, the theme is important, the location is excellent, the time is right, and people seem eager to get back together again.

I also think this convention is going to be relevant, so I hope that the perception is wrong and the reality will be a blessed time in the bluegrass state.


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