NOVEMBER 15-17, 2013 HERSHEY LODGE AND CONVENTION CENTER, HERSHEY, PA
From the President
Ministry in the Northeast these days is tough sledding! Sometimes church leaders just need an affirming pat on the back to remind us we’re on the right track, that we’re not crazy for giving our lives to God’s work. We all need an arm around our shoulder to encourage us.
But sometimes we also need an abrupt kick in the shorts, through an urgent call to action that helps us see with fresh eyes how critical our mission truly is! We all need to hear Jesus’ call to action that drives us to be more bold, more strategic, and re-lights the holy fire in our bellies that God first put there when we signed on to serve Him.
The 2013 Eastern Christian Conference will do both! It will comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable. Everyone who comes with an open heart to Hershey this November will go away with hearts full of encouragement to keep on in ministry, but also challenged to be even more strategic and effective in ministry.
Heaven knows we need it. Surveys suggest that the percentage of Americans who attend a “Christian church” on a given weekend is about 45%. But actual attendance statistics in the Northeast U.S. hovers between 10% and 18%. That means nearly 90% of people in the NE have no meaningful connection with Jesus Christ through a church home. A third of adults under the age of 30 have no religious affiliation at all – and that percentage is higher in the NE.
Participation in a Bible-believing Christ-centered church is 50% higher in the South and Mid-West than in the Northeast United States. Where you and I live, the fastest growing religious affiliation are those who, when asked what religious group they identify with, indicate “NONE.” New data shows that about HALF of those between 18 and 25 who grew up in the church are LEAVING the church.
This Northeast corridor where we do ministry is home to 70 million people – almost a quarter of the country’s population. It also harbors the highest percentage of unchurched anywhere in the country.
We live on a critical mission field RIGHT HERE! People desperately need Jesus RIGHT NOW! Each one of us is a missionary, sent on a mission, RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW. The 2013 Eastern Conference is designed to help us fulfill this mission better than ever.
Gene Appel, Greg Nettle & Josh Burnett, our main speakers, are some of the most effective leaders and powerful communicators in the country. Each has figured out something essential to ministry in a post-Christian context. They will inspire and teach us how to do ministry in this critical time and place, no matter what our church size or ministry context. Workshops are strategically developed around what I consider to be some of the most pressing issues of our time. The goal of it all is to hear from God and come away knowing a clear next step in your life and ministry.
I’m excited about the powerful and uplifting times of worship, and the opportunities to meet new and old friends. We’ve also thrown in some fun that will make this year’s conference an event you don’t want to miss. The hilarious and talented Buddy Greene will be with us for a special Saturday lunch everyone is invited to. Sponsors are chipping in to make that event the best value meal in town, so get your ticket now.
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Most importantly, register early and bring a group of people who do ministry together to the Eastern Christian Conference in November. They will receive a pat on the back and a kick in the shorts – which is exactly what all of us in ministry need RIGHT HERE and RIGHT NOW!
President, 2013 ECC
Senior Pastor, Mountain Christian Church
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