Man, where do I start? This week I had the privilege of attending The Legacy Conference hosted in “my city”, Chicago. It’s a conference focused on equipping folks who are serious about being disciples of Christ to make disciples for Christ.
Discipleship is a word that’s thrown around in church culture, but you always wonder if people really know what it means. Better yet, you wonder if folks really know what it looks like to make disciples. The conference was created to put some feet on the term—and boy did it ever. Here are some brief highlights from my time at the conference
1. Preaching Track Workshops
I’m a preacher at heart, so it’s always good to go hear other preachers speak about preaching. I sat in on sessions with Nathan Carter and H.B. Charles, Jr. Carter taught attendees about exegeting a text. I could tell that they were really engaged. To see young people so interested in something that a lot of preachers ignore was encouraging. Things like genre, context, culture, original audience, pericope, and sermon preparation all came up during the session. I appreciated Nathan’s approach. He wasn’t too “seminary-like” in his approach and gave participants a better understanding of what exegeting a text looks like.
H.B. Charles was…well…H.B. Charles. I heard someone call him the black “John MacArthur”. He’s an expositor’s expositor. His session dealt with preaching Christ in every text. He also shared his sermon preperation process with participants. He was asked how long it took him to prepare a sermon. I was glad he told the person that they should find their own comfort zone with the amount of time they prepare. He did tell particpants that he spent at least 8 hours just writing his sermon. Not doing research and exegetical work! Writing it! Yeah, H.B. is a beast. Speaking of beast…
2. Art Arzurdia
I’ve heard Revelation 21 preached on several occassions. I’ve NEVER heard Revelation preached like this before. And it’s not because it was some ephereal, “rhema” revelation. No, Arzurdia walked through Revelation 21 with Spirit-filled wisdom and great homiletical insight. He used Scripture to interpret Scripture, and connected Old Testament images and types with the New Testament consummation of Christ’s Kingdom. With that one sermon, he became one of my top ten favorite preachers, easily. I can’t wait to hear more from him and am sorry I’m just being exposed to his wonderful ministry. So humble. So Christ-centered. Speaking of Christ-centered…
3. Humility, Diversity, and the Postmodern
You can really tell people who have encountered the radical grace of God. There’s a humility about them that can’t be replicated. The conference attendees were so diverse, yet so much alike. Humble and hungry for Jesus. I enjoyed conversing with young people from all around the country (and world for that matter). It was a beautiful thing. It really hit me how diverse the conference was when we began to sing Revelation Song corporately on the second day. I nearly cried. I felt like I was getting a glimpse of what Revelation 21 mentions when it talks about every tribe and tongue worshiping our Creator. I’ll never forget that moment. And I left that experience even more passionate about pursuing diversity within the body of Christ.
4. Fatherlessness and Discipleship Workshop
I had the privilege of teaching a life-on-life discipleship workshop on fatherlessness and the importance of mentoring in the urban context. The participants were gracious enough to share some very personal information when it came to their own lives—discussing father hurt and absence very candidly. I think we navigated a very touchy subject well and I left encouraged that more people in the room would commit to finding young men and women to mentor.
Outside of those four things, I finally met my homies from RAAN in person. We’ve been chopping it up online for almost two years, but it was good to catch up with Jemar and Phillip in person. I also met some great writers and editors, who participated in a writers’ panel with me. Trillia Newbell, Justin Taylor, and Kim Cash Tate were great. They really helped make the panel discussion a success. And I’m happy I got a chance to connect with them personally. Many, many others I could name. Joe Solomon. Reconnecting with the homie DJ Wade-O. I met folks from Toronto, Jamaica, North Carolina, Jacksonville, and many, many other areas. My prayer is that we all walked away from this experience with a renewed passion for being and making disciples.