There are many conferences, but Verge is the only conference that I think is worth attending. That’s a bold statement, but I’ve yet to find another conference that focuses on loving God, shaping a community by the gospel and moving entire churches on mission together.
Verge is not perfect, it has its holes and lacks certain aspects of church ministry that are important, but few conferences seek to impart great theology AND great practices. Most conferences focus only on one or the other.
Conferences are miniature versions of seminary packed into 3 days. It is amazing, yet incredibly challenging to drink from a firehouse for a few days then try and implement anything you learned. You leave inspired, tired, feeling like you need to change everything, but with no idea how to do it.
Attending Verge or any conference becomes a waste of time when you do the following. If you’re not attending Verge, you can watch the Free Webcast.
Critique and Bash Everything Your Church is Doing Now
At Verge, you will hear from all the “experts” who have 12 minutes to share their best stories and material. The temptation is to focus on all that your church is doing wrong and how the church leadership just doesn’t get it. You move away from loving your church to critiquing your church and you no longer are a blessing because your heart is far from love.
What you miss is the struggle behind the story and 12 minute message. There were failures, setbacks, disappointments, and frustrations with beautiful results.
Be open to learning and dreaming about what your church could become for God’s glory, allow for conviction, but hesitate when you find yourself angry and disappointed. Check your heart, pray for your church, and see how you can humbly love and serve your church.
Copy and Paste the Methods You Hear
You will hear the best practices and think there’s one method for missional communities that you can copy and paste their methods to achieve the same stories!! If you do this, you’re missing the beautiful diversity of the gospel of Jesus Christ, missional communities, and even Verge.
There are 4 gospels and Paul wrote letters to different context with different challenges. Focus on the truths of the gospel guiding the mission and the principles, but don’t be lazy in your thinking.
Set aside time throughout the day at Verge, at the end of the day and a whole day when you get back just to process what you are learning, assess what is transferable, and question whether what you’ve heard applies to you and your church.
Worship the Mission and not the Messiah
It can also be tempting to worship the mission over Jesus the Messiah. We’re hungry to see people explore Jesus and the gospel and to be a part of community that loves and serves their neighbors.
This hunger can unfortunately drive us to be more obsessed with missional living than with love for Jesus. What mission is there if we lose our love for Jesus?
Enjoy Verge, learn from it, but enjoy and worship Jesus most. Mission is a terrible God, but Jesus is a beautiful Lord.
What if I want to Implement this and Don’t Know How?
There are so many mechanisms to learn how to implement what you will learn at Verge. Verge must be the beginning of the learning and exploring process.
There are seminars, workshops, collectives, and coaching that will be the best way for you to implement it. Missional communities sound amazing until you start doing it and find it challenging along with facing objections from your church community.
Only these ongoing learning environments or coaching will allow you to apply the gospel of Jesus Christ along the way while you transition your church or plant through missional communities.
I’m looking forward to Verge and learning from others on missional communities, but mostly looking forward to worshipping our missional Jesus.