EFCA One: Theme and Plenary Messages

Greg Strand – May 19, 2015 Leave a comment

EFCA One 2015: “The Gospel, Transformation and Disciplemaking”

The EFCA Vision guided/directed our theme: “We are praying God will raise up one million disciplemakers, impacting millions with the gospel and transforming entire cities and regions globally.”

From this Vision, we placed the foundation in the gospel (there is no other without it becoming another gospel!, cf. Gal. 1:6-9) and from there we emphasized three key themes:

  • The gospel transforms individuals, i.e., i.e. new birth, regeneration, becoming a Christian, etc. If one looks at the transformation language in the New Testament, one will see that the gospel transforms people, and it is those people, transformed by the gospel, that influence, impact, form, shape, etc., culture and cities and regions. The focus and application of the gospel, which focuses on the completed work of Christ, which is why it is good news, something done to be proclaimed, applied, received, is people. The gospel made alive by the Holy Spirit brings new life, it transforms. The gospel’s focus is not to transform cities and regions, social structures. The focus of the gospel is to transform individuals to make them part of a new community. And it is that new community, transformed and being transformed by the gospel, that impacts, influences and shapes  culture, cities, regions and social structures.
  • The gospel is foundational to discipleship in the local church. Often we conclude the gospel is necessary for salvation, understood only as conversion, not more broadly as in the New Testament such that our salvation is past, present and future. Therefore once we have been “saved,” understood in this more narrow, limited sense, we move on to other important matters in our discipleship such as parenting, marriage, culture, etc. And yet as Tim Keller writes, not only is the gospel the ABCs of salvation (conversion), it is the A – Z of salvation (sanctification). Granted the gospel is not everything, since it focuses on the completed work of Christ. Yet the gospel has entailments and implications for everything we are and do. Whereas the focus of discipleship in the context of the local church has been information, there is a right and necessary focus on transformation. It is information for the purpose of transformation, conformity into the image of the Son. There is a head, heart and hands component to discipleship.
  • The gospel as foundational to discipleship for the glory of God among all people. The gospel focuses on the Lord Jesus Christ, and as the gospel goes forth and the Holy Spirit enlivens it and brings new life to those who receive it by faith, creating a new community, the people of God, the church. Those people proclaim that gospel, in turn, and also embody that gospel, so that the church and her message consist of lyrics and melody, leaving an aroma of Christ. In essence this means that the gospel of Jesus Christ, which creates the people of God, is also proclaimed by the people of God and manifested in, through and by the people of God. In understanding the New Testament teaching of the nature of the church, the new community is missional by its very existence. We are redeemed for a purpose, for mission (which consists of a different nuance than missionary). And at the heart of mission is worship. As John Piper stated so well, “Missions exists because worship doesn’t. Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man. When this age is over, and the countless millions of the redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, missions will be no more.” And this begins in our communities and extends to the ends of the earth and to all people to the end of the age, so the goal is that a passion for God’s glory among all people will be kindled. We are an eschatological people reflecting heaven now, while we also experience the not-yet as well.

Plenary Messages

The following are our keynote speakers:

Phil Ryken, President of Wheaton College: The Gospel and Transformation

Crawford Loritts, Senior Pastor, Fellowship Bible Church: The Gospel, Discipleship and the Local Church

Ryan Kwon, Lead Pastor, Resonate Church: The Gospel, Discipleship and the Glory of God among All People

Please plan to join us at EFCA One 2015!

Greg Strand

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Affectionately called “Walking Bible” by his youngest daughter, Greg Strand has a ministry history that goes back to 1982. Since that time, he has served in local church ministry in a variety of ministry capacities: youth pastor, associate pastor of adult ministries and senior pastor. He is currently the EFCA's Executive Director of Theology and Credentialing. Greg reads voraciously and never stops learning — a passion reflected in the overflowing bookshelves that spill from his library to multiple offices. And he could tell you about each of those books! His hunger for learning pales in contrast to his great love for God and for teaching the Word of God.

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