Last week, on January 30-31st, we were encouraged to gather with leaders, pastors and networkers from 18 different cities for The Advance 2018. This year's focus was being Rooted in Christ through: Identity, Discipleship, Place and the Church. Chris Gough started our time together with a presentation of our current state of uprootedness- in a politicized and divisive cultural atmosphere, but that also God prunes and uproots things that will not glorify Him and the tension of living it out through the gospel.
We were also blessed by Jamie Winship who shared a powerful talk about the importance of rooting our identities in Christ in a deep and profound way - one that will ultimately transform us and the world. Eddie Wang shared his testimony of rooted in discipleship and relationship. On day two we were blessed to hear from Ebony Small of New York City Leadership Center, who gave a powerful talk of being rooted in place and the importance of being present wherever you are, as the body of Christ. Jeff Vanderstelt of Doxa Church, capped off our time together with a passionate call to saturate the puget sound with the good news and let every person have an opportunity to hear and experience the gospel.
Another powerful testimony was shared with a panel discussion of being rooted in our generations. We heard a wonderful story of "passing the baton" from senior pastor Gary Gulbranson to church planter Jeff Neuenschwander.
The keynote speakers were fantastic; however, the magic of the event was really the in-between time, when guests at the tables shared what was going on in their churches, cities and lives. We were encouraged to see the enthusiasm to gather, fellowship, worship and pray together to love and serve our cities better and to advance the work of the Kingdom.
Our last order of business every year is to hear and record from each city what they have discerned during this two-day event and what they will work to advance over the course of the next year:
CITY COMMMITMENTS The Advance 2018
522 (North East Region) – Redevelop our relationships with each other.
Vancouver, BC – How do we create a similar conversation (like The Advance) in Vancouver?; Focus on prayer.
North Seattle – Starting with our current united church gathering, then using our joint worship service to prayer over our schools, and then send out our congregations to serve each school.
Capitol Hill – Commitment to being committed! Being intentional with our current prayer gathering, being more outward focused, establishing more opportunities.
Shoreline – Enhance our prayer (meet together 3 times per month), build our unity (reach across ethnic groups, etc.), obey God’s vision.
Federal Way – Clarify the vision to take place in FW, what we are all about, and how do we do it; finish the 24/7 prayer movement (remaining 20% of half-hour segments)
Bellevue – Commitment to 100 days of prayer, continue Jubilee Reach, vision dinner (Saturate the Sound); what does it look like to plant more churches together (and fund them!)
Puyallup – Creating a culture of collective responsibility, launching a prayer initiative (national day of prayer), relationally pursuing church leaders that are not currently participating.
Renton – 2 day retreat together in April to develop a collective vision of what we believe God is calling us to do (including churches, non-profits) – move from prayer to action. Chris Gough is coming!
Issaquah – Ministry without prayer is arrogance; Christ exalting prayer; Begin to celebrate the wins and morn losses together.
Rainier Valley – Committed to reaching to other churches with the hope to build new relationships
Tukwila – Renewing efforts in developing alliances; connecting pastors currently not connected
Kent – Not present for this part of the day
Des Moines – Working on growing the network through “Coffee’s with Pastors”
West Seattle – Pursuing a strategy to saturate West Seattle with the Gospel; training congregations to make disciples
Below is all of our keynote speakers videos. You are more than welcome to share these to friends, congregants, pastors or whomever you feel might be blessed in hearing these wonderful presentations.