My Back-up Plan Emerges

This March there will be a conference called Futuregen taking place here in Phoenix. I can’t say that I’ve ever been to a Christian conference but I know Futuregen will be my first. The reason being is because I’ll be an official “Conference Speaker”. That’s right folks. Read ’em and weep. Someone as completely unqualified as myself with no seminary degree and who dropped out of community college will be in front of room full of pastors talking about a bunch of stuff of which I have no clue. What’s the world coming to? A drummer of a secular rock band is gonna be propped up in front a bunch of unsuspecting pastors and ministry types and will be expected to say something worthwhile? Uhhhhh……mmmm……..well………yeah…..I guess.

As it might surprise some of you, my participation has nothing to do with my incredible theological prowess. The real reason for my involvement is the doing of my friend, Dan Kimball from Vintage Faith in Santa Cruz, who has asked me to take part in a few sessions with him. Dan is a great guy, an experienced pastor, and a published author. He has recently been digging deep into the idea that most people outside the church love Jesus but dislike the church, which from my perspective rings very true. I think we’ll be discussing something along those lines so it could be a really interesting time. I’m smart enough to realize that if it wasn’t for Dan asking me to be involved, I would probably not even know about this conference much less invited to be a co-speaker. It’s pretty funny when you check out the list of speakers on their site and my credit is that I’m in a rock band. I had to laugh out loud when I saw that. God indeed has a twisted sense of humor. Maybe my credit is that I don’t have any credit. That’s a role I can definitely fill. Nevertheless, I’m intrigued and excited about what this event will be like. If it goes well, maybe being a “conference speaker” will be my safety net when the rock and roll dream dies. Where’s my headset mic and my lazer pointer?

If you could talk to a room of pastors, what would you say? I need some material.

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21 thoughts on “My Back-up Plan Emerges

  1. Oh man that sounds like a blast Zach! If they’re like the vast majority of pastors, just scrounge up some corny jokes and you’ll have their undivided attention. Give ’em hell. πŸ˜‰

  2. If you could talk to a room of pastors, what would you say?

    “Attention, pastors: What you studied in college and seminary no longer applies, and what you are doing in your church is no longer working.”

    Of course, I guess those who are going to this conference already realize this, which is why they are going to this conference in the first place, I guess.

    I think one of the greatest contributions you can give to this conference is your story. Where you are in your faith. The fact that you are a Christian yet also in a “secular” band (yeah, I hate that term too). I don’t think most pastors really understand how to live their lives missionally among “not yet Christians”. They spend most of their time with “already Christians”, trying to keep them happy and giving money and such. I think sharing your stories, like the one you talked about on Theohacks #2, will do much good. I think that the conversations you have had with people in your travels shows that people are really interested in Jesus, but not much at all interested in church. So shouldn’t we change our thinking about the church’s role?

  3. That’s an impressive line up. I’ve found that most people that aren’t comfortable confined in our churches fail to recongnize that Christianity is not about religion, instead solely about relationships. I was talking with someone the other day and they said, “so, wait a second… God is concerned with truth, love, and peace?” I wondered how long it had been since the Church lost our message and footing.

  4. i agree with your friend on the idea that most people do like jesus, but don’t like the church. i have had this same problem for years. the people at church never seem to exemplify the christian belief, and if that isn’t enough, church is boring, so to answer your question: ‘what would you say?’ i have absolutely no idea.

  5. If I had the chance to pour my heart out in front of a room full of pastors I would tell them this: In order to reach postmodern, gen Y, whaterver you want to call us it does not require a huge sound system and a kick ass program. What it does require is a genuine community that accepts and loves people where they are at for who they are. A community that accepts differences (doesn’t have to make everyone just like them) while embracing things in common. A community where I feel like I am free from the outside world rather than wishing the church would be more like the rest of the world. I would put up with crappy sermons and music on a pipe organ if I had a church with a community like that.

  6. In my experience (current church excepted) pastors tend to preach about a lot of stuff that seems only marginally connected to biblical teaching (and sometimes diametrically opposed).

    If you read the Bible with fresh eyes and an open heart, I think most would be amazed to see how much it is a book of economic values.

    With repeated warnings to the rich and powerful, with repeated castigations of the same (and very few towards your traditional minor league “sinners” towards whom most sermons seem to be preached), with repeated calls to care for and side with the poor and oppressed, I’d like to know why pastors don’t spend more time delving in to the economic teachings that seem to me to be the #1 most prevalent theme in the bible?

  7. Just do a good job representing the rest of us nobodys! :O)

    Maybe you’ll teach them something about being a Christian who doesn’t have an Academic education, but a “Street” one.

    Good Luck! May God be with you.

  8. You have the gift of insight into the lives of people who most of these pastors will never know and who will never walk into their churches. Tell them what they think of Jesus. Tell them what they think of church. Tell them about the barriers that you see that keep your friends away. Tell them why Mosaic appealed to you. Tell them why Rob Bell appeals to you (before he became a friend). Tell them why Jim would read Velvet Elvis. Tell them why your roadies wouldn’t set foot in a church and what they think about Christians.

    You live in a world that we never (rarely) get to glimpse. Share the wealth.

  9. Glad you’ll be speaking, Zach. I think your voice will be well recieved.

    As a guy in seminary, following God’s call into church ministry, I’d say something to the effect of “keep trusting Jesus, but wake up, pay attention…and slow down, find rest.” Do with it what you will.

    Peace, brother.

  10. I really have to second Dean on all this, Zach … he hit the nail on the head. You not only get a glimpse into these lives, but you strive (at least from my perspective) to know why they are that way and what has happened … in short, you care about people as people. I know that sounds simplistic but it’s rarely a trait seen among people. I’ll pray for guidance for you bro.

  11. If you just use lists with three items, they won’t ever argue the theological integrity of anything you say; they’ll be too enraptured with your organizational techniques.

  12. bring a goat out on the stage… wait no… thats been done… only do your presentation from powerpoint… make it completely silent… no wait that has been done too. Ugh.

    Man, your in a tough spot…. good luck!

  13. Zach – Congratulations man! Nothing like being a guest speaker at your first ever Christian conference. That should interesting. Just goes to show…it’s not what you know, but WHO you know!!! haha..jk.

    By the way..this is Jack Somers, just some dude from Arkansas that loves Jimmy Eat World…used to be somewhat of a regular on the board.

    I just started reading your blog, after seeing your post on the message board..interesting stuff here..keep it up.

  14. Like the church in Berea…

    Acts 12:11-12

    “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

    Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.”

    Encourage pastors to encourage their congregation in this. They were prepared with their minds and then accepted with their hearts, all the while searching the scriptures daily.

    What you put into your heart is what will come out. Put in the Word and Jesus’ heart will flow out. His heart is one of compassion for others. BUT, we shouldn’t think pastors can expect a compassionate congregation if they only ‘preach’ those rambling topical sermons. How much of the time does it become what the “pastor” thinks and not what Jesus taught or gave evidence of in the OT/NT. Go verse by verse, chapter by chapter, book by book. You’ll never leave anything out! πŸ˜‰

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