About Me

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New Orleans, LA, United States
Family from South Africa, Born in New Orleans, Lived in South Carolina. Married to Annabeth since May 2004. We have three boys (Bolt, Mack, and Birk). Currently living in Uptown NOLA and serving as Lead Pastor of Vintage Church and Camp Pastor of Student MissionLab.

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Response to A29 vs. the SBC

Earlier today I was forwarded a blog and decided to share my thoughts. I don't always do this but felt I needed to share because of my connection with both entities.

Here is the blog: http://sbcvoices.com/acts-29-vs-the-sbc-one-year-later/comment-page-1/#comment-1337

Here is my response:

Great article. Thanks for the follow up. We are planting Vintage Church with the LBC in New Orleans and we are currently in the candidate phase of becoming part of Acts 29. Our experience with A29 has been great.

About the situation in MO: I have gotten to know Darrin Patrick (pastor of The Journey in St. Louis). Before we decided to join up with A29, I talked with him about the controversy. He admitted that there were some tough times but that he was encouraged about the future. Darrin has great respect for the SBC and has no desire to leave. He encouraged us to stay with the LBC and join up with the network.

About the A29 movement: A29 has no desire to be a denomination. Driscoll reiterated in Dallas last fall about the fact that they are a network and a movement. When I have received any resistance by my SBC friends for partnering with A29, all I had to tell them was that A29 is extremely similar to the "Purpose-Driven Movement" in function and purpose. This has helped a lot of my older-generational friends. A29 desires for each partnering church to not only sustain their denominational identity, but to also respect and follow their rules and convictions. Do most of the A29 churches endorse the freedom to drink alcohol? Of course. However, A29 encourages those planters who are planting through a denomination that is against this freedom to abide by those rules and regulations. Here is the official response by A29 at the end of their Alcohol statement online:
"In conclusion, there are different views on alcohol in our network and even on our board. We recognize that this is an issue where Christians can and do disagree, so we have no position on alcohol other than that people should have their conscience captive to the word of God, submit to the leadership of their church or denomination, and do everything for God's glory."

My conclusion: I am not burdened by this battle, but by the fact that the SBC is a dying denomination that needs a major reformation through the power of the Holy Spirit. This is no secret. Even the most hardcore old-schoolers would agree with this. Something radical has to be done. Instead of attacking a Bible-based Network that is making an strong impact around the world, we should be focusing on the fact that our own churches are failing in making an impact. Our church pursued partnership with A29 because we have a desire to grow a vibrant church in the heart of New Orleans that is making disciples. In an urban context, these guys are the leading voice. We would have loved to learn from an SBC entity or church, but I am not aware of any that provide the brotherhood and resource (in particular for Urban Church Planting) I would love to hear any recommendations within the SBC circles.

To my fellow young SBC church planters...don't jump ship. The theological, cooperative, and missional conviction of the SBC is solid. There is a great need for a reformation. We can't do anything about those who resist change and create conflict over things that don't really matter. Focus on planting a church that glorifies God. Focus on reaching the least and the lost. Trust me, nothing speaks louder than the transformation of a community by the Gospel. Launch your church, seek out Godly counsel from the SBC and other Biblical entities, evangelize your community, and then have a rocking baptism celebration. Reality is...even if you baptize 5 people it will probably be more baptisms than most of the churches in your association in years.

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