The Vision for a New Kind of Conference
Dr. James Emery WhiteJames Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, North Carolina; President of Serious Times, a ministry which explores the intersection of faith and culture (www.serioustimes.org); and ranked adjunctive professor of theology and culture on the Charlotte campus of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Dr. White holds the B.S., M.Div. and Ph.D. degrees, along with additional work at Vanderbilt University and Oxford University. He is the author of over a dozen books.
- 2017 Jan 30
In just a few weeks, the third annual Church & Culture Conference will take place in Charlotte and then, a few weeks later, tour through the U.K.
But what is the vision for this event?
Heaven knows the Christian world doesn’t need another conference that is just like every other conference. You know the drill: the same eight or ten speakers currently hot on the circuit, the same talks that are not-so-thinly veiled book promotions, the same “pep rally” atmosphere. Yes, they serve a purpose, but we have them in ready supply.
In earlier years, Meck offered what we called the “New Work Conference.” It was for church planters, and we served countless numbers. We stopped after a while because we were getting a little distant from our own church planting days, and the church planting world was changing rapidly. There were simply churches better positioned for that role.
But it was rich while it lasted. Why? Because it really did fill a niche. So we waited until another very clear niche presented itself.
There are conferences that bring the latest insights into leadership; but where is the conference that brings the latest insights into culture?
And not just cultural insight, but practical applications for the local church in light of those insights? If our mission is the evangelization and transformation of culture through the centrality of the local church, then two things must follow: we must understand the times and then we must know what to do.
We must understand our culture, and how best to respond to it,
… penetrate it,
… reach it,
… and transform it.
And we must understand how to do that through the local church. It is not that other means do not exist for the mission, but Jesus created and charged the church to be in the vanguard.
So the vision for the annual Church & Culture Conference is simple: to bring the latest, best insights about culture to the surface and, then, to explore how to practically respond as a church in light of those insights.
Every year, fresh content.
Every year, new challenges.
Every year, the best practices, anchored by the living laboratory of Mecklenburg Community Church (Meck). Meck started with one family and now has around 10,000 active attenders. Over 70% of our growth continues to come from the previously unchurched.
So what’s on the docket for #CCConference2017?
This year we will explore the latest findings in regard to the rise of the “nones,” Generation Z, and the nature of our new post-Christian reality. It will delve into how to “do” apologetics in a post-truth world. It will examine the trends just now taking shape that we will be talking about in months and years to come (It’s time the church got a bit ahead of the curve, don’t you think?).
At the U.S. event, this year will feature an extra half-day of breakout sessions to allow you and your team to go deep on any number of topics including guest services, children’s ministry, the arts/worship, communications and marketing (including social media), assimilation, discipleship, and a special session I’ll be leading for senior leaders.
And, as in years past, every participant will receive special access to all of Meck’s documents and materials.
I hope you will join us.
James Emery White
For information on the 2017 Church & Culture Conference, both in the U.S. and U.K., visit ChurchAndCulture.org.
About the Author
James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC, and the ranked adjunctive professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also served as their fourth president. His latest book, Meet Generation Z: Understanding and Reaching the New Post-Christian World, is available on Amazon. To enjoy a free subscription to the Church & Culture blog, visit ChurchAndCulture.org, where you can view past blogs in our archive and read the latest church and culture news from around the world. Follow Dr. White on twitter @JamesEmeryWhite.