Category Archives: Dwell Conference

Dwell Conference Summary

All the audio for the conference is now up.

Here are my notes from the talks. Feel free to copy, paste, and edit as you listen.

Pastoral Priorities: Watching Your Life & Ministry (CJ Mahaney)

Dwelling in the Kingdom Mission (Ed Stetzer)

Dwelling Incarnationally (Eric Mason)

Dwelling in the Text (Mark Driscoll)

Dwelling with Non-Christians (Darrin Patrick)

Dwelling in the Gospel (Tim Keller)

Dwelling Through the Text (Mark Driscoll)

Persuasion (Tim Keller)

A friend of mine asked which two talks I would suggest listening to if you’re crunched on time. I would recommend (in this order) 1) Dwelling in the Gospel; 2) Dwelling with Non-Christians; and 3) Persuasion. I know, but I couldn’t narrow it down to two.

 

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Persuasion

Tim Keller

“Persuasion” – Tim Keller (full .pdf download of Keller’s talk)

I have also included abbreviated notes and the Q&A for Keller and Driscoll that followed this talk:

You have got to convince people through the mind before you can expect to affect the heart.

 

(1)  Paul on persuasion and the cross

     a.    Verbal bullying *using force of personality, witty, and cutting disdain, super-confident and demagoguery to beat the listeners into wanting to be on the speaker’s side)

     b.    (the opposite)

(2)  A basic model for persuasion

     a.    Listeners (‘receptors’) automatically interpret communication from the perspective of their own context

     b.    There are two basic approaches to communication: sender-oriented and receptor-oriented

                i.     We need to put words in the listener’s frame of reference

               ii.     This is analogous to “The Dummy’s Guide to…” The expert is entering into the receptor’s frame of reference and language to explain the truths of x.

              iii.     It is far easier to write a technical journal because we can use our jargon and do not have to do the hard work of interpreting truths so that our listeners can understand.

     c.     Practice

             i.     Listening

                    1.    You have to read what they read, watch what they watch, listen to what they listen to

            ii.     Enter the framework

               1.    What are the strongest held beliefs of your audience

                    a.    Teenagers will think the church is prudish, while Muslims think we’re too loose.                                      Contextualize to your audience.

               2.    Use emotion in a way that fits their context

           iii.     Challenging the framework

               1.    Find things that they believe in 4-6 and show them that something they believe strongly is inconsistent.

                   a.    For example, for college students who hold that justice is primary (that it is wrong for the strong to eat the weak)

                   b.    Then you show them that their belief in natural selection contradicts this because they came to be through the strong eating the weak

           iv.     Completing the framework

 

Table Talk

 

Questions

What are some specific listening strategies you would recommend for us?

[Tim] I regularly read periodicals and newspapers (Village Voice, Nation, New Republic, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, National Review, read the book reviews) Have dialogue with the writer. Imagine what they will say to your sermon. Chronicles of Higher Education. Ken Myers’ Mars Hill audio.

[Mark] Watch some TV and catch the shows your culture watches. Magazines and go to the magazine rack (every picture on the cover is someone’s heaven). Walk the mall and go into stores that you normally wouldn’t go to in order to see what people buy. Talk to clerks and people that are working – Who comes in here? What kind of attitude do they have?

What are some basic and common qualities of wolves?

[Mark] How do you decipher a wolf? They do not have the well-being of the flock in mind. The best way to confront a sin is in private. For those whose default is to go public, this is a red light. Typically wolves will have doctrinal issues. Also, he will typically go after the inner circle of power. He will sugar-up the pastor and wife. We need to be aware of these folks.

[Tim] Every book on conflict usually says there is a difference between someone solving a problem and another who is trying to destroy you. Haugk has a book on conflict in the church speaks of five stages. If you are too fast or too slow to call someone a wolf, you can destroy your church. You need to have people around you to help you discern in a timely way.

What are some challenges to urban church planting and children?

[Tim]The wife will have issues of carting the children around. It can be physically more tiring for the wife than in the suburbs. Raising a child before the age of eight is very difficult.

What about a church planting situation?

[Mark] The line between family and work gets too blurred if you are not vigilant. When you open your house to many people, there will be many devious people who are coming. You need to be very discerning and set parameters around your family.

What does it look like to get rid of wolves in your church?

[Mark] You need to have an extremely small door for the position of elder. The mistake I made at Mars Hill was that I was the only one to carry around the gun so that I was the only one to pull the trigger on getting rid of someone. The time to fire an elder is about two weeks before you have thought about it. “Hire slowly, fire quickly.”

[Tim]  Having a group of people who mitigate the decision are like shock-absorbers. We need to let the offender that you stand behind their decision and hand it over to them (especially in the context of a larger church).

Do you think you are dumbing down the sermon when you speak of being listener-focused?

[Tim] Yes. It is not a bad term. The Gospel is offensive and you want people to understand that it offends them. You want to simplify and interpret the message for people.

How can I accurately discern if I am called to plant churches?

[Mark] Fiorst, you need to have a sense of God’s calling. Second, that call needs to be confirmed by the church (per 1Tim 3; Titus 2). Third, you need to be assessed by a group that knows the ins-and-outs of church planting (not merely a congregation). Invariably, we either over or under-assess our ability.

[Tim] “Counsels do err” (WCF). Even though a counsel may say you are not ready, they may err.

How do you move from a small Bible study to a missional church?

[Mark] Launch the equivalent of a church service. You are going to have several launches. You should do this incrementally. Launch multiple care structures.

Give us an instance where you tried this method of persuasion and it did not take? How did you react?

[Tim] Most people are not persuaded. I am shocked when someone is convinced because people are typically skeptical and suspicious. I don’t have high expectations.

How do you help/encourage your wife so she feels like a partner in ministry?

[Tim] Be attentive to your wife and see how her gifts can be used. Find a spot where she can plug holes in the church and get someone to ask her to help. Your wife should be as active (but not much less) as a mature woman in the church. She should be an example, not an exemplar.

[Mark] Define the role of what the pastor’s wife is and is not. You need to be explicit about this because many people will come in with their expectations of your wife. Your wife should be a mature member of the church. There is no job description for the wife. Take into account the season of life you are in the church and family.

How essential is racial reconciliation in urban church planting?

[Tim] We ought to be as racially diverse as we can (b/c Eph 2 presents this view), but we also need to reflect our community. There are places where the diversity would be superficial – so that we could try to be like Noah’s Ark (two of each kind). You’re never where you ought to be in this area…you have to go after and invite those who are different than yourself. If you make a general call for leaders you will get people who look like you to gather around them. You are leveling the playing field.

[Mark] Going to multiple campuses is our way of trying to reach these various cultures. You can intentionally work towards making your elders diverse (without compromise). 

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Dwelling through the Text

Mark Driscoll

Nehemiah

This is a story about Nehemiah planting a church in the city of Jerusalem.

Mark suggests that a church planter should write in a journal. He has been strategically prepared (in education, commerce, etc) in the capital of Susa by God for the re-building of Jerusalem. The information was not new to Nehemiah, but it hit him in the new way.

In the same way, the need for church planting in the city is not new information. There is a need – dead church buildings, apostate seminaries, etc. How will this hit you?

Four or five months after the Lord broke his heart he risked being killed by sitting in front of the king. He is willing to lose his high position (he lives in the palace and has much power) so that he can re-build that which has been torn down.

You need to pray and fast and articulate your plan. You better be able to articulate your plan of action before you go and try to gather finances and people. It should be written down. Everything he does is bathed in prayer. There are times that you will have to be confident and bold enough to ask for policies to be changed (Nehemiah asked for a law to be changed).

He asked the king to vouch for him. When you go out, you need to be able to say that there is a group supporting.

You need to continually look for evidences of God’s grace to encourage and keep you from discouragement. Every time Nehemiah’s prayers are answered he gives glory to God for the provision.

There will be those who will oppose you. How do you deal with criticism? Remember that criticism these days is instant, constant, permanent, and global. You need to flee to the Gospel to get through. Criticism will happen. You must assume that this will happen. Set up strong accountability structures around you so that you can give an answer to anyone that will make a charge against you. If Satan can’t make you sin he will make you busy. If he can’t make you fall, he will make you preoccupied with myriad of things. You will emotionally die as people you love will turn against you.

You must learn to let your critics to be your coaches.

Verse 11: He surveys the city at night so that he will be anonymous. He is doing a contextual survey of his city.

He does not tell anyone because he is motivated by a pervading call in his life. If you do not have a sense of calling, then you will give up.

Chapter 4:9 – The trowel is for building and the sword is for defending what you build. Do you know how to defend your people (theologically, physically, legally)? The job of the pastor is to shepherd the flock of God. You must be cautious to not think that you should shepherd wolves that will break into your fold. You have to get rid of them. The heretics that will sneak into your church will rip your church apart – even more probable than the critics from the outside.

Chapter 7 – You need to surround yourself with men of great character. You need to have a priest, prophet, and king who will meet the needs of your congregation.

Chapter 8 – The word is preached and then priests are released into the congregation to care for those who have confessed and believed in the word preached. This is analogous to small group ministries.

13:8 – Underlying much urban ministry is anger. You need to understand godly-motivated anger so that you do not sin. When you see sin, you should be compelled by anger and compassion to be a change agent. Verse 23: There is no room for cowardice in leadership. You need to take action rather than debate about issues too long. You have to be careful the example that you set for your people. 

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Dwelling in the Gospel

Tim Keller

Rather than share my sporadic notes on this, I thought it would be best to scan the sermon that was printed in our packet (from which Keller “read”). This may help begin dialogue on what the Gospel is and what the Gospel does.

Dwelling in the Gospel – Tim Keller

 

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Dwelling with Non-Christians

Darrin Patrick

Preliminary Questions:

Do you love non-Christians? Do you have good friends that are far from God? Is your heart broken consistently for lost people?

Romans 10:15 – It is your job to realize that you have been sent. He wants to take away excuses for why we are not reaching the lost and propel us to go out and accomplish our task of evangelism.

God is the first missionary in that he pursues fallen humanity throughout the biblical narrative. Genesis 12 (Walt Kaiser calls this the Great Commission of the OT). The seed promised to Abraham is Jesus. Matthew 4, Jesus links evangelism, discipleship, and mission together (cf. chapter 28:18-20). John 17 teaches us that we are in the world but not of as we try to reach the world.

John 1 is the seminal chapter on incarnational ministry. An example is Zacchaeus where Jesus tells him that he wants to stay at his house. He doesn’t just tell him a message but lives out his mission in his home.

1Cor 5:9ff – it’s assumed that you will and must dwell with unbelievers. The problem Paul is addressing has to do with not dwelling with those who are sexually perverse and call themselves “Christian.”

There are opportunities for being around non-Christians: Tailgating, pay-per-view events, happy hour, video game times, basketball at the gym, a hobby (photography). “Theology at the Bottle Works” is a mercy ministry of The Journey in St.. Louis. You are not going to happen to step into personal evangelism, you have to be intentional in it. (1Cor 9; Acts 13; 14; 17 – Paul went to places with the purpose of sharing the Gospel story with Jews and Greeks). Get involved in people’s lives. If someone is terminally ill, find out about their illness through study of what they have. If someone is a “foody” find out about the fine dining culture. Essentially, care about people enough to take interest in their interests.

Recommendation: Becky Pieppert books. The problem with Christians is that we don’t know how to be ourselves.

The Seeker movement has rightly challenged us to think through missional worship. That is, helping people understand what is happening in the service (keeping away from Chriistian-ese – lingo that is not easily definable).

This is an investment and a sacrifice. It can hurt your sermon preparation; but it can help it by making you aware of real needs in your community. Christ sacrificed (through his relationships) his reputation as a good rabbi.

Our non-Christian friends need to see how we are similar to them and how we are different than them. If you are a struggling father, admit that. But also talk about what makes your desire to be a better dad. You don’t have to hit people over the head with some ideological principles that makes us distinct from them. They need to see anecdotally how we are different.

What are the people that irritate you? You have to bathe your homophobia, racism, preferentialism in the Gospel. Christ came to redeem all kinds of people.

 

Table Talk

What are the main obstacles in connecting with non-Christians?

Being yourself and honest. It is oftentimes easier connecting with people we do not know than people we do know. We have to allow people to see our lives that we do not have to have it together.

So much of what Darrin talked about has to do with being intentional in our lives and relationships. We need to try and not be so enmeshed in strategic church planting that that is the only thing we can talk about. Our passion for reaching the lost can become an idol. We theorize about how to reach the lost and do not reach the lost.

Our arrogance that impels us to micro-manage the weekly service or other gatherings of our people.

Many times we can find solace in our title as “pastor” around our Christian friends, but around out non-Christian friends there is no pretense in our relationships with them. We can go from conference to conference and leave ourselves with little or no time for people (Christian and non-Christian).

We presume that our friendships with non-believers can only be superficial and we, therefore, miss the imago Dei present within the non-believer. We short change ourselves when we fall into this false view of humanity and being connected. One of the qualifications for being an elder is “hospitality,” which means to be welcoming into your homes.

We do need to be aware of our weaknesses so that if we are tempted to get drunk ata pub, you need to stay away from those situations. That does not mean, however, that you divorce yourself from being involved in people’s lives. You can have people over for coffee or dinner.

Recommendation: Jerram Barrs, Being Human

What hobbies, interests, and activities do I participate in or could I participate in that might enable me to meet and befriend non-Christians?

We need to be reminded that Christ has redeemed us as humans. We cannot expect to be super-human. We are intended to be sanctified and become human – through and through. We need to learn how to integrate our faith into the hobbies and interests we have in the world. We can affirm our desire to go workout, sports bars, motorcycling. 

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Dwelling in the Text

Mark Driscoll

This is the hardest thing for him to talk about since much of it is intuitive. You have to know and love Jesus. To do this, you need to spend time in the text. It will impact your life and, subsequently, your marriage.

Six questions he asks himself when he is studying:

  1. What does the Bible say? Prov 35:6. The Bible is verbal plenary inspiration. The Bible is the primary means by which God uses to speak to us. He encourages us to fast a few days a month in order to simply read the Bible – fasting from internet, cell phones, e-mail, meetings, etc. Jesus often drew away from busy-ness
  2. What does it mean? Letting Scripture interpret Scripture. Use commentaries, other people, resources that will help you get in the life of the original hearers.
  3. What is the take away point? Perhaps it is a word, an image, a doctrine (i.e. providence, atonement), an emotion (Naomi changed her name to Mara), or a life study of a person (i.e. Nehemiah).
  4. Why/how is there resistance to what is true? We have a proclivity to suppress the truth. We need to be honest in our own lives (as we prepare) as to whether we have applied this text to our lives. “Before we can live a life, lead a family, lead a church, we have to acknowledge some of our own resistance.” How do we respond to those who will defend themselves. The Puritans would assume a resistance in their hearers, this is why they spent a considerable time preaching (not because they were merely verbose).
  5. Why does this matter? As my witness, my fathering, my husbanding, my pastoring. There are several layers to everything we learn and apply. Our life will affect our families, churches, and culture. The Gospel will be magnified and spread by our faithful application of this text. “The Bible is not just true, it is helpful.” It’s not like the phonebook that is true, but it helps people live better lives. It’s true that it leads to eternal life, but it is also the way to a better life here on earth. One of the worst reductionisms in our Bible reading is that it is just for me. We need to evaluate our lives one these several levels so that we can make an impact on our culture and spread the fame of Jesus.
  6. How is Jesus the hero? When you talk about Jesus, the Holy Spirit likes to show up to do a work on your hearers’ ears. We cannot merely use the Jesus exemplar so that we tell people to live like Jesus. He is the hero and Savior of men, not merely a model on how to be a better businessman or even pastor (though this is an aspect of Christ’s life).
    1. 25% of the OT is prophetic, which are tied to Jesus’ fulfillment
    2. Christophanies

                     i. “the angel of the Lord”

Types

 i.     Figures and institutions (Adam, priest, prophet, king, sacrificial system)

    Events

       i.     The Exodus, Passover, Day of Atonement

    Titles

       i.     Suffering Servant, First and the Last, Shepherd

     

    What is sad about so many in the ministry is that so many pastors use the Bible for other means other than for knowing Jesus. They go to the Bible for approval, self-exaltation, material gain, puffing up with knowledge, for comfort for our spouse. If you do not go to the Scriptures for Jesus, he will oppose everything you do. He will not be content with being a means to an end.

    Bottom Line:

    The Bible’s true, it’s about Jesus. 

    Table Talk

    Church planting is what happens when a man gets excited about Jesus and tells others about Him. What are ways we can get excited and stay excited about Him?

    Are you a closet light beer drinker? No. I am not a hypocrite.

    Why have you changed from being angry to being heart-broken over those who teach false doctrine? What I perceived to be false teaching knew what they were doing. Now I realize that there is demonic deception so that these people do not know they are teaching false doctrine (who believe they are teaching rightly). Also, I think I have become a pastor (as opposed to merely a prophet) to help people think through issues.

    How can a preacher get better at answering objections in a sermon? Preach more than one sermon (get feedback in between services). Ask for feedback among your elders. Bounce ideas off them. Have an on-line discussion board so you can see questions people have. For those who are getting ready to plant a church, it would be wise to plan your first year of sermons in ministry.

    How do we talk about Jesus being helpful without falling into pragmatism? We need to be afraid of compromise not pragmatism. We want to use our doctrine because it works. We do not want to denigrate our doctrine so that something works. He draws a metaphor of prophet, priests, and kings for our present-day context. Prophets want to have doctrinal solidarity. The priests want to minister to the needs of the people. Kings organize well. We need to learn from each of these offices. Finding out what works best is not a sin but compromise is.

    How do you structure your study time? Office at the church and a study at home. (1) saves on commute time. (2) I can study whenever I want. (3) My wife and kids have access to our libraries. (4) Your family see us studying the Bible. You’re integrating your study into your life. You need to set aside a few days a month to get away and spend time alone with God.

    What is the most-effective way a wife can encourage her church planting husband? [Gracie, Mark’s wife responds] That is husband-specific. I erred in trying to answer that question before I asked him; ask it often since the seasons change, Lots of encouragement even though you think he doesn’t need any help, advice, or encouragement. Even correction is encouragement. Keeping your husband a priority. [Mark resumes] A missional thought pattern should also be utilized when we minister to our spouse.

    Apart from the Bible, what are your top three resources? Biographies are huge. You don’t really know if he knows what he is talking about until he is dead and the full effects can be seen after their dead.

    From your own disciplines, how have you used them to meet with Jesus? I am a constant reader.

    How do you intentionally develop your staff? Set up a culture where we really trust the Bible and love Jesus. So much of what becomes the culture of the church is modeled by the pastor.

    We take responsibility even when you don’t feel like it’s your fault. This is seen in the life of Jesus who took our sin upon himself even when it was not his fault to own. Driscoll would discourage building ministries that will allow them to abdicate their duties to their families and the church. Possibly bring all the families together on Wednesday nights, teach them, and equip them to teach their families.

    Your goal should be to see all your men become elders. You want them to be at that level of elder in their doctrine and life. They all won’t get to there, but that is what you aim for.

         Best advice he has received as a church planter:

    “Be a sanctified version of yourself” (John Piper) – advice given to Driscoll he considers the best advice he has received as a church planter.

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    Dwelling Incarnationally

    Eric Mason

    We keep hearing about urban legends, but we do not see the legend. Too many times incarnational ministry is an urban legend – people talk about it, but it is not visible on so many places.

    John 1

    Verse 14: “dwelt” – this is an allusion to the tabernacle of the OT. The glory of the tabernacle and the Temple is now found in the man, Jesus. Jesus is the proto-type of what it means to live for the glory of God. What gives incarnational ministry its impetus?

    Verse 18: Jesus is in eternal community with the Father and brings that community to those who do not know him. His life is about exegeting the Father for the people exesato.

    Heb 2:17-18 – He had to be made like his brothers so that he might become a merciful and faithful High Priest… “He had to be made”: Jesus was authentically human, as well as authentically connected to the culture of the Jews. He did not ask them to submit to the culture of eternity (from where he originated), but he was made like his brothers (Jews).

    We see that he not only had contextual connectivity, but also spiritual connectivity. He did not allow his Jewish-ness impede his spiritual vitality. That is, he had a mission to complete and a faithfulness to the Father that took precedence over his context.

    He was also empathetically connected. “Able to help”: The people’s issues must become your issues. It is one thing to describe what the city is like, but we need to know a deeper reality of what it means to be a member of the community we are seeking to minister to. The public school problems aren’t problems with the city, generically. The public school problem becomes our problem.

    Darrell Guder’s definition of missional living: “By incarnational mission, I mean the understanding and practice of Christian ministry that is modeled by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.” His incarnational ministry includes his Cross and the proclamation of the Cross. With the goal and centrality of the Cross being essential to incarnational ministry.

    Titus 1:5 – Paul left Titus in Crete in order to raise up elders for the churches. Exegetically, Paul begins with practice and ends with the theological to define the practice. Chapter three shows that the Gospel has social implications (that were mentioned prior to). 3:1 Paul tells Titus to have the people be obedient to the ruling authorities. Then, in verse 3 and following he grounds the command in the Gospel. Incarnational ministry is the outworking of the Gospel.

    Principles for Dwelling Incarnationally

    Comprehensive Incarnation vs. Reductive Incarnation (social gospel)

    Just living in a community is not dwelling incarnationally.

     

    1. Dwelling as Servants (Diakonia)
      1. Matt. 20:26
      2. See Harvey Conn, The Secular City. The whole of the idea of service is found throughout the Bible. In order to be a healer of a city, you need to know the wounds and fractures of the city. You know this by understanding God’s view of shalom. If we do not understand God’s perspective we will be trying to stop nose bleeds rather than getting the anti-biotic that is causing the symptoms.
      3. Matt 23:37 – Jesus wept for the city because he understood its true need
      4. Col 3 – keep your mind on things above means having a God-centered imagination.
      5. This may be a housing issue. It is not just housing, but we want to look at what a Gospel-centered family, man, etc look like.
    2. Dwelling as Preachers (Kerygma)
      1. Col 1:28
      2. Acts 14:21ff – preaching the Gospel is not just bringing a message but bringing a life-change for the people
      3. Mark 1:14-15 – Jesus is teaching them about comprehensive repentance (metanoia); he essentially tells people to change their minds about what it means to truly live (it’s not just about getting a job, house, wife, etc)
      4. 2Cor 4:5
    3. Dwelling as Community (Koinonia)
      1. 1Jn 1:3
      2. 2Pet 1:3-4 – God invites us into the eternal fellowship within the Godhead.
    4. Dwelling as Worshippers (leitourgia/Proskynetes)
      1. Jn 4:20-24 – worship is not about location, it is about vocation.
      2. Abraham goes into a land and the first thing he does is build an altar. Worship of God is the ID card of the Christian. Our worshipful living is an apologetic for God.
      3. Worshipping God in spirit and in truth will help us not to embarrass God when we seek to minister to our cities.
    5. Dwelling as Teachers (Didaskolia)
      1. Heb 5:11-14
      2. If your people can’t grow others up in the faith then you are not living incarnationally – and definitely not centered on the Gospel. Every follower of Jesus must be able to build up disciples.

    Incarnational ministry is both programmatic and organic. You train people and they go and train people (on their own time without you even having to know about it).

    Practices of Incarnational Mission (Jer 29:5-7)

    A Practice of Presence

    A Practice of Place

    A Practice of Prayer

    A Practice of Peace

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