Transform 2015: Better together for...

Transform 2015

Efrem Smith opened Transform 2015 in Garden Grove, California, January 19,. with 368 people in attendance. His message began with a powerful tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. He spoke of the work King accomplished and the work left for Christians. With racial tension at an all-time high in our country, Smith went over the genealogy of Jesus, beginning with Abraham, who came from modern day Iraq and worshiped the moon.

“Pumping through the veins of Jesus is the blood of Iraqis and moon worshipers,” Smith said. “That means in the bloodline of Jesus, on his family tree, there are Libyan, Sudanese, Ethiopians, the cursed, the oppressed, the privileged. We see Jesus and we reimagine him as a white guy with blue eyes. But Jesus was a multicultural Jesus.”

Smith challenged attendees to think about how they represent Jesus. Neighborhoods are changing. The church as a result will be changing.

“Jesus is now living in you. You're not a suburban guy, you're a multiethnic guy, which means you can plant churches anywhere, you can go anywhere. Be white if you want, be black or be a radical Christian, building bridges, tearing down walls, and justice will roll down,” he said. “We must decide what it is we are better together for. What we're better together to do. What we're better together to dream. What we are better together to fight for.”

 

Breakouts and workshops

Tuesday morning began three days with over 22 breakout sessions. Glenn Herschberger, director of mobilization, reports the missions breakout focused on how to do short-term missions well and how to get better at mobilizing missionaries in our churches.

Pastor Phu Pham led the breakout for Vietnamese pastors, with Converge senior VP Doug Fagerstrom and Converge Northwest executive minister Steve Welling bringing a preview of the School of Church Leadership. Fagerstrom told the group of about 25, “The most important way to begin your walk with God is to learn how to read the Bible.”

Three workshops were also held. David Lied taught church leaders about marketing and branding their churches more efficiently. Efrem Smith taught how to reach changing neighborhoods through the church. Bethel Seminary professor Mark Strauss gave a lesson on what our society thinks about theology.

Claiborne: ‘You can see Calcutta everywhere’

Keynote speaker Shane Claiborne gave a powerful message Wednesday night on what it's like to follow Jesus―not just to attend youth group or go on a mission trip, but actually follow him and serve.

“What does it mean to love our neighbor as ourself?” Claiborne asked. “We need to ask what does it look like to place the gospel in our neighborhood.”

Claiborne shared about his time in Calcutta, India, serving in orphanages alongside Mother Teresa. “Part of what I learned is that you don't need to go to Calcutta to find Calcutta. Mother Teresa used to say, ‘Pray God will give you the eyes to see the ones who are lonely and outcast. You can see Calcutta everywhere if God gives you the eyes to see,’” he said.

 

Ridout speaks on racial reconciliation

President Scott Ridout closed the week of networking with a message reminding leaders Jesus Christ is the cornerstone, not only of our churches but our lives. Ridout also addressed the issue of racial reconciliation in the United States, noting the growing silence from the Anglo evangelical church.

“To my brothers and sisters of color―black, brown or yellow―, I'm sorry,” Ridout said. “We will figure this out. I have no idea what that means but it will be a long and hard road. We need each other. We can't have any walls between us. Lean onto me, I'll lean onto you and we will all lean into Jesus Christ.”

Watch all of the videos from Transform here

    Point - Fall 2017

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