Exponential – Day 3!

So this is how the morning of Day 3 looked.  As you can see, we’re off to a glorious start.

We started a little earlier today.  No big deal, I was going to grab some Dunkin’ Donuts.  I was only mildly depressed when we ran out of time and I couldn’t grab my donut and coffee.

First thing at the conference today was a main worship session.  Ken Blanchard, a fantastic author, spoke to us for a few minutes.  This lead into Matt Chandler.  He is a fantastic speaker with an amazing passion.  I was mostly impressed with his testimony.  After a malignant brain tumor was found, he is undergoing chemotherapy.  He is in a 12 month round of chemo right now.  He has an amazing attitude and is boldly praying for God to completely heal him.  You should Google him and follow his story.  His story will inspire you.

Then it was off to our next workshop.

I made my way to Neil Cole’s session on Transformational Groups.  It was fascinating study on how groups and organic communities work in the church.  I am very intrigued by his methodology and am looking forward to exploring it more.  One of the biggest things I took from his session was his research on how we make disciples of Jesus Christ.  I don’t have the time and space to go into that here, but if you want to know more, comment me and we can chat offline.

After a quick lunch it was back into the groove with another main session.

This time around was one of the most powerful one hour and thirty minutes of my life.  It started with a passionate warm up by Reggie McNeal.  He was very passionate about missional churches.  Missional is simply acting like a missionary everywhere you go.  Rather than assuming church is a noun (a place you go), church is a verb.  Church is something you do, something you are to everyone around you.  In the work place, at school, in the grocery store, at the PTA meeting.  The church is a verb.

Then, there was this extremely calm moment.  A pastor from St. Paul, Minnesota, got up to speak.  He’s kind of a quiet, shy guy.  His name is Efrem Smith.  If you can’t read tone, please read sarcasm in his introduction.  Efrem Smith is probably the most passionate speaker I have ever heard.  His style is far more motivational than anything else.  I might not remember a point he made, or a specific thing he said, but I know that as I listened to him, I was re-energized to go out and “save the world.”  He is the kind of guy, every Christian should have the privilege of hearing at least once.  He is fantastic!

Next was a think tank with Alan Hirsch, Shane Claiborne and Neil Cole.  This was an opportunity to watch them in an interview format and also ask some of our own questions.  Alan Hirsch has a book out called “The Forgotten Ways.”  I am going to be reading this one very soon.  I have heard nothing but amazing things about the book.  Alan struck me as a very humble, gentle man with a huge heart for reaching people in organic communities for Jesus Christ.  I can’t wait to learn and hear more from him.  Shane Claiborne was also a new name to me.  He is doing some incredible things in the name of Jesus in his community.  A young man was shot and killed on his street.  He held the young boy in his arms right after he was shot.  He was their on the front lines to bring Jesus to the neighborhood and this young man’s family.  It is a very inspiring story.  Neil Cole was there as well and I briefly mentioned him above.  His organic churches have spread all over the world.  Meeting in homes, groups of people have begun to spread.  He said they lost track of how many organic communities were a part of their church when it reached 400.  All over the world, 400 organic groups meet in homes under his leadership.  He has experienced rapid growth in this decentralized model of church.  His story is another that is very inspiring to me.

Then we were off to our last main session for the day.

It started with a lady named Brenda Salter McNeil.  She has written some fantastic stuff, specifically designed for women.  She was a passionate speaker and very excited about churches working in the community.  I won’t offer a “deep analysis” here (whatever “deep” means for me) of what I thought of a few of her points.  For now I’ll leave it at she was very passionate and inspiring to take the message of Jesus deeper into our communities.  She was followed by Shane Claiborne who did some more straight forward speaking.  He was also very passionate about taking Jesus into our communities.  I liked him for many reasons, but my favorite reason was his dreads.  I’m inspired to do that to my hair now.  What do you think about that, Misty?  Then Dave Gibbons spoke for the last 30 minutes or so.  Most people go to conferences to either learn or to be built up and encouraged in a work.  This is exactly what this entire group at Exponential have done  this year.  Dave Gibbons was no exception.  You can hear in him a very deep passion for getting to the souls of people.  He wants people to know Jesus.  This passion comes out in his speaking.

As we were leaving, we were told that a book by Pete Wilson was being given away, free.  There were only a couple hundred copies though.  I follow Pete on twitter and enjoy reading his stuff.  So I was very excited to get my hands on this book.  Picture this with me if you will.  You are outside with your family on a hot summer day.  All the neighborhood kids are out playing in the sun.  Some are riding bikes, others are shooting each other with squirt guns.  Some are just running around and playing tag.  Just imagine this scene for a minute.  Then, in the distance, you can hear it.  It’s faint at first, but it’s sound is unmistakable.  It grows louder and louder.  Before long, you notice that its sound can be heard even over the sound of children playing.  Why?  Because they begin stopping, one at a time, and putting their ear to the sky, listening intently to the sound.  It’s music playing.  The most unmistakable music on the planet.  It’s the sound of the ice cream truck.

Now, can you picture those kids, flocking to the ice cream truck?  Can you see them nearly overturning the vehicle in their haste to get ice cream?  Can you hear the excitement in their tone as the pitch goes up and the volume follows.  Kids scream, “Mom, look what I got.  Hey dad, look.  A Superman Popsicle.”  Have that picture in your mind?

Now picture this.  A conference with over 3000 church planters from all over the world hear an announcement that there is a free book available.  But there are only a couple hundred of them.  You should have seen the mad dash out of the auditorium.  Running of the Bulls has nothing on this.

As I was strategically seated in this particular session, I was at the front of the line.  Then, in a great moment, Pete Wilson signed my book.  Yes, God has been good to me these last couple of days.

But the number one lesson of the day; never get in the way of a group of church planters and a free book.

Then it was off to dinner and some great staff bonding time back at the room.  What happens in Orlando, stays in Orlando.  ^_^

That’s all for tonight.  I’ll hit you all up tomorrow on the 4th and final day of Exponential Conference 2010.

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About Stan Rodda

Follower. Husband. Father. Shepherd. Apostle. Husker.

Posted on April 21, 2010, in Church, Church Planting, evangelism, Leadership, missional communities, missionary, pastors, the basics, the culture, the nation, the world, worldview. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Glad you scored a book. It was an honor to meet you and I pray the book is helpful to you!!

    • To find out that one of our pastors follows another paster I follow…is kinda COOL! As I read this, I started jumping up and down…well, as much as I could from where I was sitting 🙂

      Fantastic to hear you two met!

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