Friday, June 29, 2007

Buzz Conference - Friday 29 June 2007 - Craig Groeschel

This morning's talk by's Craig Groeschel was definitely one of the most powerful of the conference. It was, in fact, so good that Mark Batterson commented during this talk afterwards that he was struggling to focus on his message because he was still thinking about Craig's!

Craig called his talk "Confessions of a Pastor"

His talk was precipitated by his own sense of failure and weakness and this poem by Sir Francis Drake:

Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too well pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we have dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when
With the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wider seas
Where storms will show your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.

We ask You to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push into the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.

Some points from Craig's talk:
  • Craig has a divine disturbance that he both hates and needs.

  • He confessed to us that he is a practical atheist.

  • He believes in God but has struggled with doing ministry as if He did not exist.

  • Craig quoted Isaiah 29:13,14 (below in NIV)

    13 The Lord says:
    "These people come near to me with their mouth
    and honor me with their lips,
    but their hearts are far from me.
    Their worship of me
    is made up only of rules taught by men.

    14 Therefore once more I will astound these people
    with wonder upon wonder;
    the wisdom of the wise will perish,
    the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish."

  • An early mentor told Craig that he needed to maintain "the pastor's mystique" by dressing in a certain way, speaking in a certain way, and - by all means - show no vulnerabilities.

  • Instead, Craig came to resonate with something that he heard Bill Hybels say - "The way I was doing the work of God was destroying the work of God within me" (may be loose quote).

  • Craig came to realize that he was a full-time pastor but a part-time follower of Christ.

  • Craig detailed three wrong belief:

    • First Wrong Belief: We believe that our effort is better than God's power

      • We'll be successful when.

        • we get out the right mailing,
        • or build the right building,
        • or make the right phone calls,
        • or have the right worship pastor,
        • etc.

      • If I just do a good enough job, then God will bless my ministry.

      • But there is a theological problem with this approach.

        • If I'm not successful, then it means that either

          • God did not come through for me, or
          • I suck.

        • In addition, if we blame ourselves for the declines, then we also must credit ourselves for our successes.

    • Second Wrong Belief: We start to believe that our private life doesn't affect our public ministry.

      • You have to determine your point of vulnerability and you need to be talking to someone about it.

    • Third Wrong Belief: We believe that we must please people more than we must please God.

      • In recent years, we've swung away from irrelevant exposition of Scripture toward a relevant engagement with culture. But we need to take care that we don't go too far in the other direction and be mostly about engaging with culture to the detriment of spiritual truths.

  • It's easy to drift away from God, decision by decision, neglect by neglect.

  • 5 Things that Craig Stepped Into

    • The Spiritual Disciplines

      • Craig's found no substitutes for

        • Time in the Word
        • Prayer
        • Fasting
        • etc

    • The Realm of Faith

      • We have to get to the place where we are taking steps that if God does not help us we will completely fail.
      • If we aren't doing this every 4-5 years, then we're doing something wrong.

    • Authentic Confession

      • Craig underlined that when we confess to God, we are forgiven by God.

      • But he said that to receive healing, we need to confess to others and cited James 5:16 (NIV):

        "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective."

    • Full-Blown Intentional Accountability.

      • We must be in an accountable relationship for every area of our lives.

      • "Your ministry will never outgrow your willingness to be accountable to others."

    • The Boldness of Preaching God's Word

      • We have to be careful that we don't get so into cultural relevance that we lose the counter-cultural Word of God.
Craig re-affirmed that he was a practical atheist but that he's in recovery.

"If I took my eye off the Cross for one minute, I would be back doing ministry as if it were by my power."


I still need to give some thoughts to Craig's talk. Very helpful.

- Metapost to all Buzz Conference posts

- graphic by kind permission of snaptography

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