This week, some of our team traveled to San Jose, CA for the 400 Gathering. This 2-day Conference is for church and non-profit leaders to help grow leadership in the faith-based community. The conference was hosted in San Jose in order to give access to some of the technology gurus of Silicon Valley. While there was a lot of incredible information, here are some of my highlights…
Technology continues to change everything. We heard about Gamification and Hackathons. From Yahoo to Google to Facebook and Amazon, these companies are driving the market. Former companies like Blockbuster, Kodak and possibly Sears, did not embrace technology and change quick enough. If you are not willing to change, you will become obsolete. One Venture Capitalist showed how AI (Artificial Intelligence) will change every industry from manufacturing to law to the medical field (AI will be able to scan you to determine your illness with greater accuracy than any human doctor). Uber is a software company, and now the largest taxi company in the world, yet they own no cars.
Our world is changing faster than ever and ministries, as well as non-profits, need to be at the forefront of the movement. What a powerful opportunity we have to share the Gospel and to minister to people through technology. Life Church developed the You Version Bible App and it has downloads of over 4,000,000 a month. How else can we use technology to impact the world for Christ? What about gaming? What about Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality? Instead of running from this, how can we use this for the glory of our great God?
The power of story. Nancy Duarte, who is known for her famous Ted Talk, works with corporations and non-profits to help them craft and tell their story. Through analyzing the most famous speeches in history, Nancy and her team have determined how to best leverage stories to engage listeners and impact behavior. We all have a story to tell and now we have countless mediums to tell that story. As we share our faith stories, people will listen and lives will be changed. It is only God who can change a heart, but He uses our stories to share His transforming work with others.
What was amazing to see is that Nancy and her husband were in ministry. God called them out of ministry and into business. Their company has an enormous platform, and they are using their platform to share Christ. Wherever we find ourselves in life, God has given us a platform. From business to a stay-at-home mom, we all have access to social media and greater impact than ever. How do we use our platform – for our glory or His? What story are we telling?
Carey Nieuwhof challenged us all with this line: The more success you experience, the more conservative you become. We stop taking risks and we become more worried about protecting what we have as opposed to being bold. He spent a good bit of time talking about Early Adopters, the Quiet Majority, the Minority and the Opposed. He referenced that the Opposed group is only made up of about 10% on any idea. Yet, they are many times the loudest. We can either listen to these people or we can proceed to accomplish the vision God gave us.
We all tend to listen to the Opposition more than we should. We need to know what God has called us to do and then passionately pursue His call in our lives. There will always be opposition, but that doesn’t mean we have to listen to them. Is there anything in your life that God has called you to do, but you have not because of some opposition?
Finally, Craig Groeschel closed the event with a powerful call to have an increasing passion for reaching people for Christ. Many times we focus on our limitations rather than on God. Limitations are a great opportunity to see God come through. Innovation is always born out of need. Also, he added, we can’t be afraid to fail. Failure is necessary and productive. He challenged us, asking “When was the last time you failed?” If you can’t answer that, then he said, “You are playing it too safe.”
Jesus gave us all the Great Commission – “Go and make disciples of all nations…” Matthew 28:19-20. Are we passionately pursuing lost people and introducing them to Christ? Too often we are with believers all of our life, and we never engage unbelievers. Yet, this is our call as Christ-followers. Being bolder and dreaming bigger is essential if we are going to share the love of Christ with the world. This is for all of us.
Overall, it was a great two days. The content was good and challenging. But, the best part for me was being there with a part of our team. Having time to process with fellow servants of Christ and friends was what I needed. I love our church, and I believe our best days are still ahead. As we apply what God is teaching us, lock arms together and go forward in Christ, then I truly believe we can change the world. Imagine how different our world would be if everyone knew Jesus? No more wars, sex-slave trade, broken homes and tragic mass shootings. There would be love, joy, and peace which we all so desperately desire.
Let’s invest our lives in what matters by passionately sharing Jesus with everyone in our day and generation. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, the commitment of dedicated Christ-followers and advancements in technology, the best days of the Church can still be ahead. Let’s give our best and further His Kingdom. To our God be all the glory!