The 2014 NEXT Church National Gathering will be in Minneapolis. Yes, Minneapolis.
But come on. Polar Vortex will be a distant memory by then! The weather will be just fine in early April...
NEXT Church is a conversation within the Presbyterian Church (USA) that seeks to inspire and nurture creative and vibrant ministry for a changing cultural context.
That's a mouthful. Here's the gist: The way we do church is changing. It must change, it will change. What better way to live toward that change than to gather with other pastors, church professionals, ruling elders and other leaders to celebrate, think, grow, and challenge one another?
What does NEXT mean to me? I cherish the support, inspiration, accountability and ideas that the NEXT conversation offers me as a small-church pastor. But there's one phrase from the mission statement that tugs at me above all:
...the church that is becoming.
The national gathering March 31-April 2 will be focused on the church that is becoming. There's a spirit of adventure in NEXT Church, an excitement and trust that our best days are still ahead of us.
We've got a great keynote team, several workshops around the themes "lead, create, discern," testimonies of how the church is stepping out in bold faithfulness right now, and lots more. What's probably most vital about the NEXT gathering is the community that gets built "in the margins" of the schedule. The conference team has built even more time for breaks, informal conversations, and Open Space than in past years.
I invite you to come to Minneapolis this spring. You will dream big and come home energized.
P.S. There are also regional gatherings coming up in Richmond (February 1) and in the Baltimore/DC area (February 22). I will be at both and if you're nearby, I hope you will be too.