Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Erwin McManus Open National Pastor's Convention

I'm reporting from the National Pastor's Convention in San Diego the next few days...

The conference opened today with Erwin McManus of Mosaic Church of Los Angeles. I've met Erwin before, several years ago, and it's amazing how much he's starting to look like a 45 year old Robert DeNiro. But I digress.

First, a few observations on the NPC as compared to the National Outreach Convention which I attended in the same place (the Town and Country Conference Center) last November.

1. NOC was bigger than NPC--by a factor of about 1/3. NOC topped out at almost 3000; there are about 2000 here.

2. NOC was more theologically conservative than NPC. Not that NPC is a hotbed of liberalism. More controversial speakers (such as NT Wright) and writers (such as Brian McClaren) as on display here.

3. NOC was younger than NPC. The average age is probably about ten years older here.

4. Both NOC and NPC devotes a lot of programmatic space to The Emerging Church. I should add that NOC focused more on the missional church, which in my mind is a much more useful concept (i.e., when a church thinks and acts like a missionary in its community).

(By the way, I'd need an hour to give you my whole take on the emergent phenon. There are both positives and negatives. Personally, think the category will pass as it merges with missional and organic church concepts.)

Erwin explicated some of the concepts of his newest book (Soul Cravings), namely that all humans have the same cracving and questions, and that questions should be the heart of our apologetic, not answers first. BTW, I know from people inside Mosaic that the church rejects the moniker "emerging."

I'll try to update the PM session later or Wednesday AM.