To find change within oneself or to find change within the church—that is what the two concurrent conferences in Nashville, Tn., are offering to pastors and youth leaders.
The former is the National Pastor’s Convention, May 18-22, which is designed to “refresh” and “renew” the souls and sense of ministry for pastors, their spouses, and church staff, according to the convention’s web site. The event is sponsored by Leadership of Christianity Today, Zondervan Church Source, and Youth Specialites.
Also taking place in the Sheraton Nashville Hotel will be the emergentYS Convention, May 19-22, tailored for pastors who are interested in emerging forms of worship that are a direct response to the post-modern culture.
"It's a broader cultural issue that is not tied to certain age demographics," said Mark Oestreicher, president of Youth Specialties, a Christian ministry which trains youth ministry workers and is sponsoring emergentYS along with emergent, an association of Christian leaders exploring the culturally changing church.
Participants from either convention can sign-up for seminars of the other.
Last year, there were 2,500 registered for the NPC and 700 for the EC. In an article highlighting the 2003 convention, the editor of Leadership, Marshall Shelley, noted that one difference she observed between the two was “NPC is for those over 35 and EC for those under 35.”
One EC leader said, "The difference between the modern church and the postmodern church is how each addresses pain. The modern church tries to pray it away. The postmodern church doesn't. Our church is trying to learn the language of the biblical prayers of lament, not just praying to escape pain, but to learn to dwell in the land of pain and uncertainty, because that's where people live today."
Differences may turn out to the strength of the conference. Mark DeVries, an associate pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Nashville, said one of the best things about the conference is the diversity of people that it brings together.