Friday, April 03, 2009

No National Founders Conference in 2009

The National Founders Conference will not not meet this summer. Though we will miss the fellowship, instruction and encouragement that the conference has generated over the last 26 years, there are good reasons behind this decision. Let me list several of them:

1. There are now many excellent conferences based on the doctrines of grace that are regularly held throughout the United States. Last year we counted over 50 such gatherings. That was not the case over a quarter of a century ago when the Founders Conference first began. The revival of the doctrines of grace has spawned this new era in which it is relatively easy to find a good conference to attend nearly any time of the year. We are grateful to see this development and encourage Founders supporters to consider attending one of the many Christ-exalting gatherings that will be held this year.

2. As announced at last year's conference we are in the process of working on a church planting initiative that will involve future networking and gatherings of like-minded church leaders and planters. Taking a break from the national conference this summer allows us to keep moving forward with this and adequately to prepare for such efforts. I am very excited about what God is doing in this regard and believe that it has the potential to further the advance of the gospel in significant ways.

3. Our regional conferences continue to meet annually and are doing a great job. Currently we have 4 conferences that are meeting: Arklatex (Shreveport), Southwest (Ft. Worth), Deep South (Jackson) and Midwest (St. Louis). These are excellent conferences that collectively serve several hundred people each year. Additionally, we continue to host an annual Founders Breakfast at the Southern Baptist Convention. This year's speaker will be Dr. Danny Akin. The breakfast will be on June 23, 2009 in the Crowne Plaza Hotel Coronet Ballroom A/B in Louisville, KY at 6:30 AM. (watch for further details and tickets to go on sale soon).

4. Though Founders has hosted dozens of conferences over the years and has seen the Lord use them to accomplish great things, we are not in the "conference business." We are in the "reformation business." Our goal has always been to see biblical reformation take root in churches throughout our nation and into the nations of the world. We have articulated this by declaring that we are committed to the recovery of the gospel and the reformation of local churches. We want to see the simple gospel of Jesus regain its place of preeminence not only in the work of evangelism but also in work Christian living and church growth.

5. We may periodically host future national conferences as the need and opportunity arises. We also may partner with other groups to sponsor gatherings and share resources that will further the advance of the gospel in our day.

Through the efforts of Ben Cripps, 16 years' worth of the past Founders Conference messages are available online. These, together with the wealth of material available on our website (maintained by Stan Reeves) will continue to provide loads of resources that are readily available to anyone who cares to access them.

It is encouraging to see what the Lord is doing in our day. Founders Ministries remains committed to to pray and work for ongoing reformation and revival. We are deeply grateful for the partnership, encouragement, support and prayers of those who share our vision to see vital Christianity returned to our churches that will result in renewed devotion to spread the gospel throughout the nations.

These are exciting days for all who love the gospel of Jesus Christ. God is doing a work of restoration among us. From what can be observed, this is obvious. But it I am convinced that there is far more taking place than can be observed. So let's keep pressing on as we look forward to even greater displays of His glory being manifested among us.

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

2007 Founders Conference

"God's Truth Abideth Still: Confronting Postmodernism," is the theme of this year's Founders Conference meeting at Bethel Baptist Church in Owasso, Oklahoma. We have heard some wonderful preaching as well as two excellent presentations on the theme by David Wells. Tonight he spoke on "Preaching the Cross in the Modern World." It is far and away the best theological assessment of evangelism that I have heard in more than 10 years. It is certainly the best exegesis of modern western culture in light of the biblical message of the cross that I have ever heard. You can read a very thorough report of his message from Timmy Brister. Frank Turk also has given a helpful outline of the talk.

This is a message that you should listen to with some friends who are genuinely concerned about biblical evangelism. You will want to hear it and hear it again and digest it together with others who want to be authentic and intentional in making the crucified Savior known to people who do not believe they have any need of Him.

One of the most important elements of a conference like is something that cannot be scripted, and that is, the spirit of it. By God's grace through the years the Founders Conference has been marked by a wonderful spirit of fellowship and encouragement. This year is no exception.

If God brings it to mind, please pray that the final sessions on Thursday and Friday will know the blessing of God on them as we have experienced it over the first two days. As an encouragement to pray, read Joe Thorn's insightful comments on what the proliferation of solid conferences in the last several years might be suggesting.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

David Wells at the National Founders Conference, June 26-29, 2007

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Theologian and author, David Wells, will be the main speaker at this year's Founders Conference in Owasso, Oklahoma. The theme is "God's Truth Abideth Still: Confronting Postmodernism."

Few evangelicals have thought as deeply or written as carefully about postmodernism as Dr. Wells. His most recent book, Above All Earthly Powers, Christ in a Postmodern World, is the fourth and final installment of his ambitious and very helpful project to analyze the intersection of confessional Christianity and postmodernism. The first book of the series, No Place for Truth: or, Whatever Happened to Evangelical Theology? (1993) is one of the most significant books to have appeared in the last half of the twentieth century. David Wells understands how the Gospel works and has courageously called evangelicals to return to and stand firm in that Gospel in the face of cultural sea changes.

This conference promises to be very instructive as well and encouraging. The fellowship, singing and teaching that take characterize the Founders Conference provide an opportunity to get your spiritual batteries recharged. I encourage you to join us for what promises to be a very beneficial few days together.

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