Adventist Urban Congress

I am in Huntsville, Alabama. The North American Division is sponsoring a convention called the Adventist Urban Congress. Adventists are talking about how to get more involved in urban ministry. With 6,000 churches in North America, it's a pretty small convention. I don't think there are 200 people here.

Nevertheless, it is a good attempt to try to begin doing something we have not traditionally done well. Very few Seventh-day Adventist Churches would be sorrowfully mourned if they were to leave the communities where they come to worship on a weekly basis. In fact, some communities would rejoice because they wouldn't have to be held captive in their homes until our Saturday worship services end for fear that they'll lose their parking spaces in front of their homes.

Some of today's presenters were Dr. Greg Allen, Dr. Ivan Warden, Monte Sahlin, Jim Cress and Alvin Kibble. Greg Allen's presentation was thought-provoking. I wish that we could consider tweaking the format of this conference. For one thing, it's a pretty intense conference. It started yesterday, Sunday, July 22 and won't end until Friday afternoon, July 27. That's a pretty long conference. Willow Creek is having a conference coming up August 9-11 (three days versus six). But the other significant change is something I learned at the Samuel D. Proctor conference years ago. When you have a thought-provoking presentation like Greg Allen's you should follow it up with a panel discussion of others practitioners and academics and take questions from the floor. We really would have been greatly benefitted by fleshing out some of the implications set forth in his presentation. And people from the floor could have come to a mic and asked questions in an orderly fashion. I just believe that it would have been helpful.

Finally, it's too long. The things starts at 8:30 am. And it does not end until 8:30 p.m. Tonight, Alvin Kibble preached. He finished his sermon at 8:56 pm.


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