So, a week ago today we were tying up loose ends for the Raleigh Bootcamp—setting up tables, checking AV, praying—waiting to see what God would do in the lives entrusted to us for two days. What a joy to serve pastors and planters through events like this. I know that there are men who left there on a healthier trajectory than when they came. After getting home and catching my breath, I had a few observations I wanted to make in praise for God’s good grace.
We did it together.
There were lots of people who made this event happen. Vintage Church, as always, pulled considerable weight. However, lots of other churches in our region also worked hard. Seeing men and women serve Jesus in this way was really encouraging to me. It reminded me that Acts 29 is a network of churches that want to plant churches. It reminded me that when we operate as a network, neat things can happen.
Diversity is crucial.
One of the distinctives of Acts 29 that Matt Chandler has trumpeted is the need for growing ethnic diversity to be reflected in the network. We’ve seen this implemented in many ways—particularly in our speakers for events. On Wednesday night, Dwayne Bond served us by connecting our calling as pastors to the health of our marriages and families. Repeatedly, he challenged us not to commit adultery with Christ’s Bride, but to love the bride God had blessed us with. Later that night, I was approached by an African American planter from Virginia who said, “I’ve never heard a black man talk that way about loving your family more than the church. I was undone by Pastor Dwayne’s words.” I was blessed by this and reminded of the need for ethnic diversity reflected in all aspects of our network.
Jesus was lifted up.
Certainly, if we didn’t do this, we wasted our time. However, from Tyler Jones’s message on the gospel to the short talks on more practical matters to Ray Ortlund’s closing message, Jesus was front and center. When Matt Stevens talked about physical health, it was ultimately about Jesus. When Donnie Griggs talked about financial health, it was a call to reflect Jesus. When Matt Adair called us to organizational health, it was a call to repent and return to Jesus. And when Geoff Bradford said that our families don’t need more of our time, they need more of our repentance, we were called to the feet of Jesus. When Darrin Patrick called us to be healthy men, he was calling us to Jesus. What a blessing to be reminded of the centrality of Jesus.
We have no idea of the kingdom potential unleashed from the event.
The majority of those gathered were men who want to plant churches. What a privilege to listen as Jerome Gay poured into their lives about the importance of a healthy mission that connects gospel, culture and community. As he shared with us, I was reminded of the sheer kingdom potential gathered in that room with us those two days. The thought that some marriage might have been saved from our time together is awesome. That a church might have been saved from the effects of a pastor’s moral failure makes every administrative detail ring to the praise of His glorious grace. The thought that the man God might use to bring about revival in a region could have been at the Bootcamp is weighty. All that to say, we have no idea of the kingdom potential gathered in Raleigh last week. God knows, and can do more than we can imagine.
God has good things for His Church. I’m grateful I get to be a part of it with you.