For the first-time, a second leg of the National Pastor’s Convention and Emergent Convention was held in Nashville, Tenn. An estimated 630 pastors and church staff participated in the NPC to experience spiritual renewal while a generally younger crowd of 730 explored artistic forms of holding church services and catering to an emerging generation.
“There really is nothing out there like what we do for pastors,” said Glenn Murdock of Young Specialties, co-sponsor of both conferences. “It’s non-denominational, non-model driven. It’s really an open forum where you come to hear a lot of different perspectives. It really ministers to their soul.”
Commenting on the new venue for the conventions this year, Murdock jokes, “We got too big for our britches.” He said they had more people than they had space for and by scheduling a meeting in Nashville more people could be reached.
The National Pastor’s Convention, May 18-22, served more as a retreat for pastors, their spouses, and their church staff while the Emergent Convention tackle the ongoing question of “how to change the church in order to keep up with culture,” according to Murdock.
Participants from either convention were open to attend seminars from the other. A cross of paths between the two proved useful.
“Pastors can be stuck in the past and reluctant to try new things,” said Murdock. “The Emergent Convention deals with theology and very cerebral and scholarly. A lot of it has focuses on art.”
For example, explains Murdock, a Tribal Church in Los Angeles, Ca., led a worship session during the Emergent Convention, which took place May 19-22, with a band using percussions as their only instruments.
“It’s hard for some people who have grown up with the organ and hymns to accept it, but when you look around and see people worship like that, they are drawing close to God,” he said. Murdock also noted it goes two ways. The emerging young crowd could also learn from the pastors’ passion and ability to shepherd
Even though biblically, there are a lot of ways to worship, said Murdock, the two crowds were only trying to accomplish one thing.
“Both of them want to minister to people and get the gospel out in the best possible,” he said.