Gabe Lyons Challenges Engage@ETBU Participants to be Restorersby Dr. Scott Bryant
MARSHALL, Texas (11/30/12)- Christians should be known for their efforts of restoration and reconciliation in their communities, said Gabe Lyons, author of The Next Christians and founder of Qideas.org. Lyons challenged participants at Engage@ETBU: Leading the Church in the 21st Century, a conference for church leaders recently hosted by East Texas Baptist University. Lyons urged the audience to be more creative in representing the gospel within the culture. Lyons said, "Part of your role in the world is restoration, it’s to partner with God in the renewal of all things, to be restorers.”
Lyons referenced 2 Corinthians 5:18 in which Paul contends followers of Christ have the task of serving as ministers of reconciliation in the world. "We are supposed to be doing tangible things, material things in the world that demonstrate what the kingdom of God looks like when it shows up in a broken world,” Lyons said. "When our faith does that, people start asking questions about our faith.”
Engage@ETBU was a joint effort between ETBU’s School of Christian Studies and Office of Spiritual Development to host a thought-provoking event to help area pastors and church leaders be more effective in representing Christ in the world. Ryan Berryhill, Pastor of First Baptist Church Marshall, participated and enjoyed the event. Berryhill noted, "The Engage conference not only gave valuable insight into how twenty-somethings think, but also practical ways that churches can connect with this age group--and help them connect to the mission and life of the church.”
Chad Edgington, Associate Pastor of Worship and Senior Adults at First Baptist Church Wake Village, participated along with two other staff members of his church. Edgington left the event inspired and encouraged by what he learned. Edgington stated, "Engage@ETBU was a great time of training that helped me understand how to minister to Generations X and Y. Gabe Lyons, Eric Bryant, and the other speakers provided a positive outlook on how the church will survive and thrive in a post-Christian era.”
Breakout sessions were also offered Saturday morning to provide information and encouragement to participants. Sessions included "Reaching Those Who Are Not Like Me,” led by Eric Bryant, South Campus Pastor of Gateway Church in Austin. Bryant is the author of Not Like Me and previously served on staff at Mosaic in Los Angeles.
Dr. Ellis Orozco, Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church Richardson, offered a session entitled "Effective Preaching in the 21st Century.” In addition, Dr. Emily Row Prevost presented "Understanding the Millennial Generation.” Dr. Prevost is the Director of Leadership Development at ETBU and formerly worked with Buckner and the Baptist General Convention of Texas.
Dr. Scott Bryant, University Chaplain and Vice President for Spiritual Development at ETBU, was thrilled with the success of the first of what he hopes will be an annual event. According to Bryant, "We have witnessed our culture change before our eyes and we need to think deeply and creatively how we will can best represent Christ in a new context.” Bryant continued, "Far from a discouraging conversation, the event was inspirational and stimulating as new ideas were discussed and stories shared about Christians who are effectively communicating the gospel.”