By Philip A. Amerson, President of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
In a time when the mayor of New York City excludes clergy from a 9-11 memorial service and news reports about religion are more often “bad” news than “good” what is the place of persons of sincere faith in our nation? Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary is committed to helping answer these questions in our upcoming conference, Captured by a Compelling Narrative. Mainline Christianity struggles to make positive connections with those it is called to serve. Contemporary church leaders may still carry the “fire” of the Gospel in their souls, but ask themselves and each other “How do we re-interpret the Gospel for today in ways that are compelling, inclusive, and transformational?” More significantly they ask, “How will we share a compelling faith with the young?”
The Rev. Dr. Michael Slaughter, the imaginative pastor of one of the nation’s best attended churches has been wrestling with these questions in the context of day-to-day ministry. Slaughter has evolved into a leader who moves far beyond the “way has always been done.” In the process, he has stepped on many “ecclesiastical toes.” His recent book, Change the World: Recovering the Message and Mission of Jesus (2010: Abingdon Press) confronts the old notions as to why people are drawn to the church – fellowship for homogenous people. He argues this is contrary to the Gospel—which calls persons of God to become agents of transformation, touching and helping to form communities of courageous disciples.
Church should not be about “me” or even “us”… but about what God can accomplish. For Slaughter the church is not the church if it does not get far beyond what he abbreviates as “mortar” – maintenance of a building that usurps precious resources. Whether by means of a first class internet ministry (50,000 visits per month from around the world), or programs that seek to address poverty or the digging of wells that provide water for more that 250,000 in the Sudan, Slaughter’s “compelling narrative” pushes the people of God to move far beyond any comfort zone… into regions of the mind, the heart, and the soul undreamed of before.
You don’t want to miss this opportunity to hear this apostle of a compelling Christ when he speaks at Garrett-Evangelical on October 27, 2011. To learn more about this two-day conference or to register click here.