This year Crawford Loritts, Jack Graham, James MacDonald, Mark Driscoll, Steven Furtick, T.D. Jakes, and Wayne Cordeiro.
The aim of the event is to have pastors with differing philosophies discuss issues involved in planting, growing and leading churches.
Trevin Wax has undertaken to live blog the event with MacDonald’s blessing and has provided extensive notes on each session.
Controversy surrounded MacDonald’s invitation to Jakes. This is addressed in Session 4.
Wax has put a lot of work into these reports, and offers the following disclaimer before each: This is merely a summary of my notes, taken down live during the event. They may not be word-for-word and will need to be seen on video in order for their context to be fully understood. I will be updating this post every few minutes as the session goes on.
In reading these reports the elephants seem to all be outside the room and there’s a lot of group-hugging going on, but it’s interesting to hear these people in conversation in their own (Wax’s note version) words.
Elephant Room 2: Live-Blog Session 1
Topic: “With a Little Help from My Friends”
Summary: Is there a future for denominations? Will networks simply replace them, or will they reinvent themselves? What can denominations offer that networks of churches cannot? Describe the health of world missions and missionaries as you see them serving around the globe. Is the model of sending missionaries through a mission agency still effective? Or is church planting through healthy churches the way to go? Is there a lack of accountability plaguing most missionaries? How can that be changed? How does para-church help or hinder the local church in world missions?
Speakers: Jack Graham and Mark Driscoll, moderated by James MacDonald
Elephant Room 2: Live-Blog Session 2
Topic: “Can’t Buy Me Love”
Summary: What elements must accompany a faithful presentation of the gospel? What can a pastor do to ensure that others in his ministry are presenting the gospel in all its fullness? What are some ways you have seen decisions for Christ effectively acknowledged? What responsibilities does the preacher have to lead people in a public response to the gospel? When have we oversimplified or made the gospel formulaic? When have we made the gospel too complicated, and demanded more in our evangelism than the Scriptures do?
Speakers: Steven Furtick and Crawford Loritts, moderated by James MacDonald
Elephant Room 2: Live-Blog Session 3
Topic: “Hard Day’s Night”
How can a pastor effectively manage the pressures of ministry? What are the warning signs for burnout? What do you see pastors doing today that is most detrimental to their marriage and children? What about pastors who are unmarried? What single action is most healing to your emotional health in ministry—and what action is most damaging? How does the care of your own soul affect the relationships that matter most?
Speakers: Wayne Cordeiro and James MacDonald, moderated by Mark Driscoll
Elephant Room 2: Live-Blog Session 4
Title: “Ticket to Ride”
What are the “majors” of Christian doctrine that cannot be diluted or denied for a person to be a Christian? How can we help one another move beyond the bare minimum of accepted belief, to a pursuit of robust, soul-satisfying, biblical substance? How should we relate to those who do not yet embrace the benefit and priority of sound biblical doctrine? Is there a difference between a person in error and a wolf in sheep’s clothing? What benefits derive from keeping the majors on a separate list and not letting the ‘minors’ divide us? Is it possible to love the truth without compromise and still work passionately for unity?
Speakers: T. D. Jakes and Mark Driscoll, moderated by James MacDonald
Elephant Room 2: Live-Blog Session 5
Topic: “Come Together”
Two of the largest churches in America, both in Dallas, one of America’s largest cities—one church is almost 100 percent black, the other almost 100 percent white. Is this a problem? What factors, beyond local diversity, are widening this divide? What causes such obvious segregating of the races? In what ways does being a minority worshiper hinder worship and service in the church? What churches are achieving success at breaking down these walls, and how? What do you see the other pastor doing better than your church does it?
Speakers: Jack Graham and T. D. Jakes, with Mark Driscoll moderating
Elephant Room 2: Live-Blog Session 6
What do you do when a staff member fails morally? How bad is bad enough for dismissal? What responsibilities does the church continue to have to the former staff member? What if the failure involves a higher-profile pastor in your area or circle of influence? Is it ever acceptable to name a fallen pastor publicly? Can a fallen pastor re-qualify and be restored? In the same church? How soon is too soon? What safeguards can be established to help those who sincerely desire to remain faithful?
Speakers: Crawford Loritts and Wayne Cordeiro, moderated by James MacDonald
Elephant Room 2: Live-Blog Session 7
Topic: “We Can Work It Out”
What responsibilities do we have to local pastors who exist outside our theological boundaries, but within the body of Christ? How do you confront a brother in error while showing fidelity to truth, and to the truth about biblical relationship? Given the freedom to preach your conscience, is there anywhere you wouldn’t preach? Does a pastor’s association really communicate endorsement, or is that just a carryover from fundamentalism? How can pastors practically encourage/challenge those who are different than they are? How do the benefits of broader community weigh against the dangers of confusing people about your own convictions?
Speakers: James MacDonald and Steven Furtick, moderated by Mark Driscoll
Elephant Room 2: Live-Blog Session 8
Speakers: All pastors