I don’t know if you’ve heard about these, but if you’re interested in entering a full-blown “church lab,” a program that will allow you to savor God’s work to reform one local church–Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D. C.–then you need to sign up for May’s 9Marks Weekender.
It’s being held from May 17-21, 2012 (update: March is full, but May is still open) at CHBC, just a few blocks behind the Supreme Court. Here’s a bit more information about this exciting (and often ecclesiologically transformative) event:
Three times a year, 9Marks and Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC host around fifty pastors, seminarians, and church leaders from Thursday night to Monday morning for a full-on immersion in the life and inner workings of Capitol Hill Baptist Church, a church committed to living and ministering biblically.
You’ll have box seats for a new members’ class. You’ll be front and center for lectures from Mark Dever on expositional preaching and implementing change. You’ll even go behind closed doors to observe an elders’ meeting. And all that’s just the first half of the weekend.
From leadership to worship to body life and more, it’s all on the table. So bring your questions, and don’t forget to stash some cash for the CHBC bookstall.
Why should you attend one? Well, here’s why:
We encourage pastors and church leaders to attend because, just as every Timothy needs a Paul, so every church needs a model. “Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you” (Phil 3:17; 4:9).
You may not implement or even agree with every last thing you see during your visit, but having this biblical model can help develop a more directed movement in the way you serve and lead in your local body.
Then again, maybe you know where to go, but feel clueless about how to get there: “I know I want elders, but what do they do when they meet? I know I need to preach, but how do I go about preparing sermons week in and week out? I know the budget needs work, but I’m no accountant.” The goal of The 9Marks Weekender is to provide an environment in which leaders can observe and discuss the biblical and practical dynamics of nurturing love and holiness in a local church.
You don’t need to be a Southern Seminary student or a Southern Baptist or even a Baptist to attend this event. Regardless of your background, this would be a fantastic way to encounter some really keen thinking on the local church and its polity, its leadership, and the way a healthy church can function.
It would be hard for me to put into words how thankful I am that I did a Weekender and then a CHBC internship (which I also commend to seminarians and future leaders–well worth moving to DC to do!). Even if you have no prior plans to buy into the “model,” I would encourage you to go, whether you’re from Maine or Chicago or Louisville or Oregon or Brazil or China. It’s that formative for getting a framework for how to shepherd the members of Christ’s church, the engine of his triumphant, world-defying kingdom.