I’m flying to Oklahoma City today to speak at the Convergence conference, which aims to encourage people in “the passionate pursuit of Word and Spirit.” Given the timing, this obviously isn’t an advert (although with Sam Storms, Francis Chan, Matt Chandler and Jack Deere, it should be quite an event); I can’t imagine many of you getting on a plane at the drop of a hat. I’m sharing it more as an encouragement, and a request for prayer. For those of us who are broadly Charismatic and Reformed, and who would love to see more of such voices raised in the US in particular, the prospect of over a thousand leaders from all over the country gathering for three days on the subject may well be heartwarming. We may also be stirred to pray for it, as the sort of context in which God might do something significant with the people who come, and the churches they represent.
It’s a good programme. Jack Deere will be speaking on prophecy and hearing from God, I’ll be looking at healing, Matt Chandler will speak on the power of the Word of God, Francis Chan is considering how to lead a sceptical church into Charismatic life, and Sam Storms will be framing the conference in the context of spiritual power and spiritual language. There will also be panels, seminars, Q&As, and of course times of corporate worship. But a good programme isn’t enough for a good conference. What we need is for people to encounter God in both Word and Spirit, and to receive wisdom on how best to apply what they are learning in their local contexts, in many of which Charismatic gifts remain pretty controversial. This wonderfully honest post from Jason Meyer, who replaced John Piper at Bethlehem Baptist Church (and who is bringing a number of pastors with him), gives a great example of the kind of people the conference is trying to serve.
So if you have a moment, please pray for us. Many churches in the US are passionate about spiritual gifts, experiential Christianity, and signs and wonders; many are passionate about sound doctrine, biblical theology and expository preaching. Pray that God would use this conference to equip churches to pursue both.