Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Lombard Meeting in Brief

Lombard Meeting in Brief…

This momentous gathering at the Lindner Conference Center in Lombard, IL, for the "Summons to Lead" conference was an awesome experience! The Conference was announced following the determination of the Board of Directors of the American Baptist Evangelicals (ABE) that any further effort or expenditure of resources directed toward renewal of the ABC-USA denomination was futile. A decision was then made to disolve the ABE organization.

The purpose of the Conference was to query the membership to see if a new beginning should be attempted as a new organization with a new vision and mission. In attendance were at least 350 individuals, including American Baptist Evangelicals member pastors from local churches across our nation, ABE officers, at least three executive ministers representing ABC-USA Regions, as well as officers and representatives from Mission America, Green Lake Conference Center, Northern Baptist Theological Seminary, Ministers and Missionaries Benefit Board, the newly-formed Great Commission Network, and Saddleback Church's Purpose Driven Ministries.

There was a full spectrum of positions and perspectives exhibited by the conferees, ranging from those that were, although uncomfortable and desirous of renewal, still feeling closely bound to the ABC-USA; those that were on the verge of deciding to disassociate from the denomination; and those from the ABC-Pacific Southwest Region who had already virtually disassociated. This spectrum required great skill and sensitivity on the part of the ABE Executive Director Bill Nicoson to successfully navigate us through the potential points of difference and concern toward a new and mutually-agreed-upon vision of a missional future together.

Bottom line:

  • Yes, there will be a new organization to follow as ABE ceases.

  • It will focus on networking churches that...

  • Have left the ABCUSA

  • Are getting ready to leave the ABCUSA

  • Have not left the ABCUSA, but want an evangelical network for purposes of fellowship, accountability, and shared ministry

  • The working vision piece is…
A group of Baptist congregations committed together to an orthodox, biblical and theological foundation that will result in the growth of the church of Jesus Christ as demonstrated by healthy congregations.”
Core Values
  • Biblical authority

  • Healthy churches

  • Relationships

  • Confessing (that is, a clear strong statement of faith)

  • Transformation (of churches and of individuals)

  • Reproduction (Evangelism and church planting)

  • Mission

  • Authenticity (of relationships)

  • Accountability

  • Leadership

A subcommittee will put the mission/vision/values piece together over the next several weeks.

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