By Josh Singleton and Chris Conrades
Josh Singleton, Associational Mission Strategist for Eastern Association and Interim Pastor at Crosspoint Church in Richmond, IN, recently had the opportunity to attend the Revive Conference that was put on by the NAMB Replant team. This conference was held in Birmingham, AL. Josh would say he did not know what to expect, but in the end it did not disappoint. From the beginning, the retreat was full and refreshing. Josh said he felt refreshed and equipped all at the same time.
As Josh reflected on the time in Birmingham, he wanted to share what he learned, and he hopes it will be an encouragement to another pastor.
Josh writes, “When we think about churches across the nation, but more specifically churches in Indiana, the pastors are tired, the church is tired, and there is some discouragement that weighs heavy. In the midst of this discouragement, it is hard to have hope. That may be the case for many of our churches, but it does not have to end there. Now is the time to be refreshed, and revived, in our pursuit of Christ. There is a community outside your walls that needs the Savior and is looking. The question that we must ask ourselves is whether or not we believe that we have the answer (I am here to tell you that we do). What do we do with that knowledge and belief though? That is the question…and the answer is easy, we share.”
During the Revive Conference, the conference speakers challenged and encouraged attendees. The challenge was to persevere, but also to be bold in standing for truth. Pastors were reminded that sometimes the hard truth is that the church has been doing the same thing, the same way, for far too long. The gospel has not and does not change, but the culture around us changing faster than ever.
Josh continues to write, “This change means that local churches need to look at the culture and be ready to love like Christ. The church needs to be ready to share the gospel with those that look different. Churches need to be ready to move our Sunday school class to another part of the building. We need to be ready to spend some time and money on the building so that it looks alive and welcoming. If the church building looks abandoned, then the community will think that is the case. Does the community know that your church is open? Does the building say welcome? Do the people say welcome?”
Josh was also challenged about true worship in the services at church. He shared that the most important thing that we can do during our worship service is to faithfully worship God. There are different methods to do this, but he shared that our worship needs to be directed toward who God is.
Josh shared that, “from beginning to the end, our service should be to point the guest or the church member to God. One of the biggest challenges that I have been faced with from this conference is about the music portions of the worship service. You see there are times that we “tack” music on to the service, with no direction. I am not talking about the songs just being randomly picked, I am talking about our response. I am not sure what you may think of, when you think of worship, but what comes to my mind is that worship is our response to God for who He is and what He has done or is doing. You see when we gather together, we have the blessing to not only hear the Word of God proclaimed, but we get to respond to who He is and what He has done through music. So how do you or your church respond to who God is and what He is doing or has done?”
Josh is looking forward to applying what he has learned in his own home church while also encouraging the pastors in his local association, the Eastern Indiana Baptist Association. If you have questions or would like to connect to Josh to learn more about this conference, he can be reached at email@example.com.