2020 Converge Reach Conference recap: How will you reach?
Converge Content Specialist
Converge vision & mission
In a time of uncertainty, the 2020 Converge Reach Conference was filled with encouragement, words of wisdom and hope for the future as we move forward to fulfill the Great Commission together. Insights about biblical diversity, global ministry, current-day evangelism and leading through a crisis were timely and relevant.
During the conference, Converge executive director of International Ministries Ivan Veldhuizen spoke about focusing more on our sending capacity than our seating capacity, in order to bring a gospel movement to every least-reached people group — in our generation. It’s a huge task, and it can’t happen without you.
Here are three ways you and your church can get involved:
Raise One: Identify and raise up someone in your church to go to the nations here, near or far.
Support One: Set aside funds to help send one onto the international mission field.
Teach One: Preach or teach in your church about sending sometime in the next year.
Then, text “Raise One,” “Support One” and/or “Teach One” to 407.476.8560 to tell us how you and your church will commit to joining this mission and movement.
Check out these additional highlights from the conference.
Biblical diversity: Let’s get personal
Converge president Scott Ridout and vice president of Biblical Diversity Dr. Harold Lewis joined other pastors in an honest and powerful discussion about race relations, personal experiences and how Christians of every class, color and culture can move forward together to create change in a biblical context.
“We, as leaders of Converge and followers of Christ, condemn racism as sin. It is contrary to biblical teaching and contrary to the way we’re trying to live out the gospel in our lives.” Scott Ridout
“When you talk about systemic racism, you’re talking about institutionalized structures and systems that hold people of color hostage and at a disadvantage to other cultures.” Dr. Harold Lewis
“If I don’t call out my church or my family or my friends and say, ‘Hey, that’s not acceptable, that’s not God’s way,’ then I could be, in essence, signing on and giving liberty for wrong things to happen.” Rod Hairston, lead pastor, Messiah Community Church
“We have to have true relationships with people in order to cross all these divides. When I hear someone’s story of racism, it breaks my heart — and it should break the heart of anyone who loves Jesus.” Darryn Scheske, senior pastor, Heartland Church
“If you preach the gospel and you’ve preached (the Good Samaritan story) before, then we need to be living it, not just preaching it. That’s what the generation coming after us is looking for: Don’t just tell me — SHOW me.” Laurel Bunker, associate vice president, Bethel University
Despite the challenges of COVID-19, Converge president Scott Ridout says now is the time for the church to advance the gospel. “We will never have a greater opportunity from God than this one that he’s given us. It is a gift from him.”
“The ultimate purpose of the church is not to gather, but to go. It’s not to encourage people to come and see, but to empower them to go and tell. God has called us to do this day in and day out until every tongue, tribe, people and nation hear the gospel.”
According to Nick Hall, founder and chief communicator of Pulse, “The age of the platform celebrity needs to be over. Today is about God rallying the everyday, ordinary believer. It’s time for everyone to go, everyone to share, everyone to be bold. It’s this lifestyle of praying for people, caring for people and sharing the gospel that we need now, more than ever.”
“I believe this is a Bible revival generation, a Josiah generation that’s going to rise up and share the gospel to the ends of the earth. And the opportunity is unprecedented.”
John K. Jenkins Sr., senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Glenarden, shares three things you must do when leading in a crisis.
“You are the leader that God has called you to be. You are the person for such a time as this. And my challenge and encouragement to you today, from the depths of my heart: Go ahead, rise up and be a leader. Speak up, look ahead and don’t be afraid.”
Bethel University retiring president Jay Barnes celebrated; Ross Allen affirmed as Bethel’s sixth president
Converge and Bethel University honored Bethel retiring president Dr. Jay Barnes and his wife, Barb, for their 25 years of service and affirmed Ross Allen as Bethel’s sixth president.
“Over my 25 years (at Bethel), the world has changed, and certainly Converge and Bethel have changed. Converge and Bethel both represent the body of Christ more fully than we did back in 1995.” Dr. Jay Barnes
“I ask you — I beg you — to pray for me, to pray for Bethel, to pray for all of us, that God would give us a discerning heart to know what is right and what is wrong. Who am I to lead his people? Only when he is beside me, in front of me and within me can I do this.” Ross Allen
Michael Smith serves as Converge’s content specialist. He has nearly two decades in the newspaper publishing industry. Michael worked as a copy editor and designer for the Tampa Tribune for more than a dozen years. He also was a member of the editorial staff of Florida Baptist Witness and other publications across the Southeast.