NOVEMBER 14-16, 2014 HERSHEY LODGE AND CONVENTION CENTER, HERSHEY, PA
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From the President, Don Hamilton
The word, “sent” is used over 200 times in the New Testament, and over 80% of those occurrences are found in the four Gospels and the Book of Acts. Being sent is a key directive for all that follow Christ. Jesus referred to Himself as being sent over fifty times in the four Gospels. He fully embraced the commission that He was sent by God to introduce people to the Kingdom of God, and that He would develop followers and eventually a “sent” Church. We are that church and we are sent.
Most local churches wholeheartedly accept their “sent-ness” from Christ, but in reality they fall short of Jesus’ example. Sometimes it is good to take a look in the mirror and get a fresh view of reality. One good way to do this is to start asking ourselves questions: in this case, questions about how we are carrying out Jesus’ commission. For instance, some good questions for local churches to consider might be: “If we had to close our doors next week, would anyone in the community miss us? Would they know that we are gone? Would community members be saddened that our church no longer existed in their community?”
In fact, it seems that the ones best equipped to evaluate a local church’s adherence to Jesus’ directive would not be those in the church, but rather those outside of the church. What would local businesses, compassion-giving organizations, law enforcement agencies, government agencies, civic organizations, penal institutions, and schools report about your church? How are they experiencing your “sent-ness?”
And what about your campus and facilities? Is your campus viewed as a center of life, hope, and assistance in the community? Or, is your building and property viewed as having invisible walls around it separating it from the very people you are trying to reach? Who uses your campus besides your church? These are all good questions for all of us to consider as we steward our commission.
The 2014 Eastern Christian Conference will take an encouraging and challenging look at being SENT. We will start Friday evening with the theme: Sent churches are the only option; and move from there on Saturday morning to consider the fact that Sent churches go beyond their comfort zones. Sent churches build bridges, not walls will be the theme for Saturday evening, and then we will wrap it up Sunday morning by considering that Sent churches are full of equipped saints. We have a line-up of awesome speakers and lots of great workshops as well.
Having served in the Northeast for thirty-one years, the Eastern Christian Conference is part of my yearly schedule. It is a great place to re-connect with good friends, be challenged, and uplifted by great speakers and leaders, and enjoy some relaxing fun. The hilarious Buddy Green is going to join us again this year for some of our services and the Saturday luncheon. There will be a special track for elder/leader training as well as a wide variety of workshops to interest everyone.
We live in a time and place where we must take our sent-ness from Jesus very seriously. Jesus left local churches with the same responsibility He had - to make known the Kingdom of God and He has no Plan B. Register early and bring a group with you. Seniors, families, pastors, teens, children, and babies – there is something for everyone at the 2014 Eastern Christian Conference.
Don Hamilton, President 2014 Eastern Christian Conference Lead Pastor, Capital Area Christian Church Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania
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