In case you haven’t heard, there is a big Missional Community conference happening here in Austin Feb 4-6—VERGE. Sold out at 2000 attendees, with 30 organizations, and 70+ on the waiting list, this just might be the hottest conference of the year. Of course, Austin Stone, the conference organizers, have no interest in being “hot”, but they do want to be missional.
What is VERGE for?
My old friend Michael Stewart, Pastor of Missional Community at Austin Stone, is the VERGE conference architect. Stew’s strategic gifting is through the roof. VERGE will be proof. I recently asked Stew to clarify just what VERGE is (in 160 characters or less)! He replied:
To equip & unleash ordinary people to pursue Jesus, be gospel-centered missionaries, recover a movement ethos, & multiply MC.
As you can imagine, planning a conference this big requires a lot of energy and time. Much of the Austin Stone staff has been devoting time to VERGE. Curious how this workload is affecting Stew, I asked him it has shaped his view of mission and Jesus. He replied:
A deeper affection for the person and work of Jesus on our behalf as the propulsion in any gospel movement. Jesus is not just an example, he is our source, our strength, our refuge, our good news, our hope, our wisdom, our joy…he is everything to everything and renewer of all things, even me, us, our neighborhoods, our communities, and our cities.
That’s the kind of architect you want behind a conference. This God-sized, Jesus-centered goal is inspiring! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if God granted Stew’s hope and aim?
What Will Happen at Verge?
The unlikely line-up of VERGE speakers around a topic like Missional Community is intriguing. Mega and Micro churches are represented, theoreticians and practitioners, and despite differences in philosophy of ministry, all these speakers agree on one thing—the centrality of Jesus in the Mission of the Church. This united but diverse focus will prove helpful and interesting as the missional church dialog continues at VERGE.
What will happen at Verge? It largely depends on you. Will you come to engage, repent, adjust, encourage, affirm, critique, dialog, and strategize? If you do, great things could happen. Let’s pray they would, starting now. Let’s come, not just to consume, but to give and strengthen one another in the great task of gospel leadership and the mission of the church.
Missional Lunch Break-outs
Some news on VERGE offerings. Several new break-outs are now being offered. Register here.
“For the City: Theology, Principles & Practices of Mercy Ministries” (pre-conference)
World Vision Gospel Quest Dinner
Friday, February 5, 5-7PM
BBQ Dinner by Rudy’s
International Justice Mission Brunch
Saturday, February 6, 10:45-12PM
Hope to see you at VERGE!