The One Story Disciple-Making Conference “is the annual conference where we gather pastors to talk about impacting lostness through disciple-making. Disciple-making includes evangelism, and evangelism is the essence of disciple-making. We’re winning people to Christ, developing them and sending them out on mission with Christ to make more disciples,” said Brian Upshaw, team leader for disciple-making at the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.
This year’s conference (Feb. 23) was created to prepare believers to connect with unbelievers in a modern context. Upshaw said the people that churches are trying to reach are far away from any kind of Christian background or Christian narrative in their lives.
“So, it’s important for us to listen and observe and hear from the culture. Just as a missionary does in a foreign context, … they are taught to understand and exegete their culture.
“We have to know who we’re trying to reach with the gospel. We have to love them for who they are; listen to their stories and hear why they’re broken or hear why they don’t like the church; and hear why they’re open to Jesus but not Baptists. We don’t have to like what they say, but we have to listen,” Upshaw emphasized.
Speakers will address three main themes at the conference: Hear, Connect and Share.
Ed Stetzer, executive director of LifeWay Research, will speak on the theme of “Hear.” Upshaw believes Stetzer will help pastors think like a missionary in their own contexts, while also being both affirmed and encouraged to make disciples. Stetzer is a contributing editor for Christianity Today, a columnist for Outreach Magazine and executive editor of both The Gospel Project and Facts & Trends Magazine.
Afshin Ziafat is a converted Muslim. Speaking on the theme of “Connect,” Upshaw said Ziafat “has a powerful testimony of understanding, because he came out of one culture and connected to another culture.”
Ziafat, lead pastor of Providence Church in Frisco, Texas, is the founder of Afshin Ziafat Ministries. He helped launch Vertical Bible Study at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, where he also partners with Elam Ministries and travels into the Middle East regularly to train Iranian pastors.
Radically saved from a life of drug addiction in 2002, Robby Gallaty helped create Replicate Ministries in 2008 to educate, equip and empower Christians. He is currently the senior pastor of Brainerd Baptist Church in Chattanooga, Tenn.
Teaching on the third theme, “Share,” Gallaty will present the redemptive story of God, how He pursues a people for Himself and most importantly, how He invites believers to share the one, true story with the culture around them.
“An exciting addition not on the brochure is Jon Erwin, a movie-director and producer who did ‘October Baby’ and ‘Mom’s Night Out,’” said Upshaw.
Erwin is currently working on a documentary called “The Jesus Revolution,” which is about the Jesus Movement of 1960s and 70s. Upshaw said, “Erwin’s goal for the movie is to use this documentary to share the gospel with Millennials who are of the same wiring of being spiritually curious but not really institutional.”
Erwin will discuss the reason behind “The Jesus Revolution” at the conference, while illustrating the importance of stories and how to communicate the gospel to today’s modern context.
Lori McDaniel, the Global Mission Catalyst at the International Mission Board, will be offering a track for women during the conference. Upshaw said he’s really excited about this session. “We have over a dozen different speakers. This is the first year in recent years that we have done a specific focus for women – such as pastor’s wives or women leaders in ministry,” he said.
The One Story conference will be held Feb. 23 at Center Grove Baptist Church in Clemmons, N.C.
The conference is offered at no charge. Lunch will be available at $7 for those who preregister. For more information about the event or equipping sessions, visit ncbaptist.org/disciplenc.