The Eastern Hub in North America hosted their annual conference, on 19 - 21 September 2019. The event took place at One Harbor Church, Morehead City, Eastern North Carolina.
Churches from the region gathered to consider what it means to live in and minister to a culture that has abandoned truth, and Biblical principles. Sessions included exhortations to courage, to holding God's Word high and a range of encouraging, practical opportunities that this season offers the church to advance the Kingdom.
Seek the welfare of the cityDonnie Griggs
Donnie opens the conference with an exhortation to seek the welfare of our cities. Firstly, to accept that our faithfulness to Christ means that we are living in exile, surrounded by a culture that does not celebrate or support the Word. Donnie then works through Jeremiah 29, noting that God sent his people into exile. While there, God asks that we give ourselves to our communities, putting down roots and committing to them. That we seek the welfare of its people, through good works and especially through prayer.
Singleness, Celibacy, and HomosexualityBrian Recker
Brian Recker delivers a punchy session looking at the poignant issue of singleness, celibacy and LGBTQ people in our churches. He suggests three practical steps for churches, including:
- that we stay away from unnecessary debates around the use of specific terms and language
- the need for a posture of repentance by churches when engaging with gay members of the community
- the need for churches to honor and empower the single, celibate lifestyle in our church communities.
As exiles, it often seems we want to embrace the world in all the ways we shouldn’t, while avoiding engaging the world in all the ways we should. We are gospel people, mission people, which means we must remain engaged with the mission field around us. Yet, engaging in a different way, an older way, as those with a word from the future, from the only culture where we really belong. A Gospel Culture. Understanding that a church in exile should not be a church in retreat! (Luke 10:29-37)
Bryan Hart speaks to the challenge of pastoring people through politicized issues and gives us four strategies to over come them. He mentions the unhelpful marriage of conservative politics and religion, the difference between political issues and political philosophy, what the Bible says about politics and the risk politics poses to the church. He then talks through four practical strategies for helping our people deal with these challenges.
AddictionDonnie Griggs and Travis Evans
Donnie Griggs and Travis Evans, two pastors from One Harbor give us some background to One Harbor's work in the area of addiction and substance abuse. They share about their own journey as a church, what they have learned and a couple of practical steps churches can take to acknowledge the problem and serve their communities.
Foster care & adoptionEmily Recker and Kimberley Hart
Emily and Kimberley discuss adoption and fostering. Both of their families have welcomed children of different ages into their homes for a number of years. They discuss the heart behind it and Biblical perspectives. They close with practical steps toward becoming a foster parent, and what we can all do to support families that are fostering/adopting in our communities.
Reproducing courageous leadersDonnie Griggs
Donnie Griggs asks the question, 'What sort of leaders do we need when living in exile?'. He contrasts our inclination to appoint leaders because of sentiment or need with Paul's instruction to the Philippians; working through a range of characteristics and frailties to be cognizant of when appointing leaders in these challenging times.