Gender identity. Harassment. Sexual abuse. Race relations. Immigration.
Many of the hot-button cultural issues of our day strike fear in the hearts of Christians, and they often respond in one of two ways.
They either retreat in an attempt to seclude themselves in hopes that the issue might go away, or they become activists who seek to bring about social or political change.
While both of those responses have their place, what if believers felt confident and equipped to address cultural issues in a way that focuses on personal disciple-making? The 2019 Disciple-Making Conference is designed to equip believers to be salt and light in a culture that’s rapidly changing.
The upcoming conference is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019 at Green Street Baptist Church in High Point, N.C. The daylong event will feature keynote addresses, breakout sessions and more. Registration is $10 per person and includes all conference sessions, program materials and lunch. Registration is open online at disciplemakingconference.org.
The conference is sponsored by the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC).
“Many of the hot topics in our culture today aren’t just cultural issues, they are local church issues as well,” said Brian Upshaw, who leads the Baptist State Convention’s Disciple-Making Team and serves as conference director. “And there is often a lot of fear in addressing many of these issues. This fear makes us unsure of how to share the gospel with people who do not share our values. We hope this conference will give attendees confidence to engage in gospel conversations around these topics without anxiety or fear.”
John Stonestreet, president of the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview, will serve as the conference’s keynote speaker. The Colson Center’s mission is to equip Christians to live out their faith with clarity, confidence and courage.
Stonestreet is a speaker, author and commentator on a variety of cultural issues and topics. He co-hosts the BreakPoint radio program and podcast, which provide in-depth news, analysis, interviews and commentary on major issues. He has also written several books, including A Practical Guide to Culture, which will be available for purchase at the conference.
“We’re excited to have John with us at the conference because he’s articulate, knowledgeable and winsome,” Upshaw said. “He approaches topics from a biblical worldview and makes difficult topics easy to understand. He also has a heart for the local church and presents an approach where we can respond to issues in a positive and proactive way out of the victory that we already have in Christ.”
Stonestreet said he believes that cultural engagement from a biblical, gospel-centered approach has been overlooked by the church, particularly in modern times.
“I don’t think it’s been a conscious part of our discipleship,” Stonestreet said. “We don’t see engaging the culture as a central part of discipling believers, and I think it needs to be.”
During the conference, Stonestreet said he hopes to present attendees with biblical and practical tips on how to apply the foundational truths of the gospel, Christianity and the grand narrative of scripture to contemporary culture and many of the major issues of our day.
Several of the breakout sessions will also address specific cultural issues such as sexuality, gender, pornography, drug use, technology and more.
Stonestreet said Christians and the church don’t need to fear these issues or run away from them. In fact, he said, believers should embrace them and run toward them.
“We’re in a time where we are really tempted to run away because the cultural pressure is heating up, and we are certainly committed to safety, (and) keeping ourselves and (our) kids safe,” Stonestreet said. “These are noble intentions, but throughout history, the church has made the most difference when it’s run into the cultural brokenness, not away from it.
“You can’t do that unless you are equipped to do that, so I hope the conference helps Christians take their place in church history by doing that sort of thing.”