‘Reimagine’ is focus of 2021 Disciple-making Conference

December 16, 2020

A single line in an ancient text chronicling the nation of Israel’s history contains an important truth for believers today.

Not much is known about the sons of Issachar who are referenced in 1 Chronicles 12, but they are described in verse 32 as having an “understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do” (NKJV).

The impact of COVID-19 has underscored the need for church and ministry leaders to be modern-day sons of Issachar — to understand the times and know what to do.

N.C. Baptists will explore those concepts at the 2021 Disciple-making Conference, scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 23, at Friendly Avenue Baptist Church in Greensboro with in-person speakers. A series of virtual breakout sessions related to the event will be released on Wednesday, Feb. 24. The theme for the event is “Reimagine” and will emphasize that while God’s mission never changes, the current times require new means of ministry.

“We want to encourage N.C. Baptists to reimagine their ministry based upon a call back to a New Testament understanding of the gospel and their mission,” said conference organizer Brian Upshaw, who leads the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s (BSCNC) Disciple-making team. “We want to help people acknowledge the moment we are living in, but not be absorbed by the moment.

“There are relevant means for the day, but the mission hasn’t changed.”

The conference will serve as an extension of resources released by the state convention this fall to help pastors and church leaders navigate different aspects of ministry amid the lingering effects and impact of the novel coronavirus. “Reimagine” resources are available at reimaginenc.org, and they are designed to help churches consider and develop innovative practices that uphold core New Testament church principles.

While God’s mission never changes, the current times require new means of ministry.

The impact of COVID-19 is also requiring an innovative approach to the annual conference. The 2021 event will feature a hybrid mix of in-person and virtual components. A series of keynote speakers will highlight the in-person component from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the host church, while at least 20 breakout session offerings will be made available virtually.

In-person attendance will be limited to approximately 300 people, with social distancing and other health and safety protocols in place. Registration will open Monday, Jan. 11, 2021, and cost will be $12 per person.

In-person attendees will receive a grab-and-go boxed lunch at the conclusion of the session, as well as a bundle of free books and other resources.

Vance Pitman, senior pastor of Hope Church in Las Vegas, Nev., and Jim Shaddix, professor of preaching at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, will be keynote speakers.

Pitman founded Hope Church in the fall of 2001 as a church plant from First Baptist Church of Woodstock, Ga. From a small group of 18 adults, Hope’s fellowship has grown to more than 4,000. Hope has also sent hundreds out on mission and commissioned 60 churches in the western United States. Pitman is the author of the book “Unburdened,” which was released earlier this year. He also hosts a podcast on leadership.

Shaddix has served as a preaching professor at Southeastern since 2012 and has pastored churches in Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana and Colorado. Before coming to Southeastern, he served as dean of chapel and professor of preaching at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He has authored or co-authored several books on preaching, including “Power in the Pulpit,” “Progress in the Pulpit” and “The Passion Driven Sermon.” His latest book is “Decisional Preaching.”

Breakout sessions will focus on innovative approaches to local church ministry and will address topics in the areas of evangelism, discipleship, children’s ministry, youth ministry, family ministry, women’s ministry, collegiate ministry, church planting, pastoral ministry, preaching, small groups, worship and more. Special attention will also be given to virtual and hybrid ministry.

All conference registrants (both in-person and virtual) will have access to recordings of all of the content for a period of time after the event.

Given the fluid nature of the ongoing coronavirus response by state and local health officials, all conference details are subject to change. For the most accurate and up-to-date information and details about the 2021 Disciple-making Conference, visit the event website at disciplemakingconference.org.


by Chad Austin  
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Learn how our current circumstances cause us to reimagine new ways to approach disciple-making.

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