When my pastor asked me to attend the second annual Seismic Shift conference with him I begrudgingly said yes. This was billed more as a meeting for church leaders than anything else. I really wasn’t expecting to enjoy it, but as is usually the case in such circumstances, I was completely wrong! I had a great time and was amazed at the things that people are doing for Christ and his kingdom.
I was truly humbled to be around a group of people that included influential apostles, pastors, and bishops who plant and oversee multiple churches and are responsible for thousands of people. These are the types of people who change cities. I was also in the presence of a number of multimillionaires who put their business acumen to work for the kingdom. In addition to this there were educators, politicians, and scholars who aren’t content to merely theorize about social action or practical theology, but who are intimately involved in such issues.
I was overjoyed to see that Christ trumped age, ethnicity, and gender. There were black, white, and Hispanic leaders, both young and old, male and female, who are all working toward a common goal: the proclamation of the Gospel and the advancement of the kingdom of God. It was Galatians 3:28 in action!
I was pleased to see that the presenters were all extremely knowledgeable of their subjects and in touch with the things presently going on in biblical/theological scholarship and with a familiarity of what has gone on in biblical/theological scholarship of the past (I could rattle off the scholars quoted or interacted with but it would be a long list, and trust me, they’re people who have said substantive things and are worthy of engagement).
There was a wonderful emphasis on operating according to a biblical/Christian world & life view. No less than four presenters, including the conference’s organizer Bishop Joseph Mattera, quoted Abraham Kuyper’s dictum: “In the total expanse of human life there is not a single square inch of which the Christ, who alone is sovereign, does not declare, ‘That is mine!’”
There was also a strong emphasis on important cultural issues, such as marriage, which is only between one man and one woman. Bishop Harry Jackson completely refuted the idea that gay “marriage” is a civil rights issue while Bishop Mattera spoke about generational blessings that result only by following the blueprint laid out in Genesis 1:27-28. This is something that he takes up more fully in his new book Walk in Generational Blessings, which I was blessed to receive a free copy of. Dr. Roberto Miranda touched on immigration and other issues facing Hispanics, but I most benefited from his description of sanctification as an “agonizing process.”
I only wish I had taken notes because so many profound things were said. The panel on marketplace ministry (it was called something else but I lost the program so I can’t remember what) was amazing. To see such successful businesspeople with such intense devotion to Christ and his kingdom was inspiring. It’s wonderful to know that so much money is being poured into the work of the Gospel; things like missions, shelters, rehab centers, halfway houses for pregnant teens to stay while they carry their babies to term, scholarships, church grants, and so much more.
I was also blessed by the humility of participants. Everyone was on a first name basis. There was no big deal made of titles. PhDs, MDs, JDs, and clerical titles didn’t matter. Christ mattered! And if ever there was a group of people who you’d think would have an issue with pride, it would be this group, since all of them are big movers and shakers. Wasn’t an issue.
I was also impressed, taken aback even, by how much we prayed throughout the conference. At the end of every presentation we’d spend a few minutes in prayer and there were two sessions devoted entirely to prayer. I appreciated that they made us group up with people we didn’t know in order to pray for the work of the ministry. Half the presenters were friends of Chuck Colson so we also prayed for the Colson family on a few occasions in light of his declining health.
I could go on and on but I’ll close by saying this: These last two days have charged me up to want to pray more, do more, get more involved. My pastor and I are going to have to take this back to the church and see what things we can be doing in order to make a greater impact on our city.