Thursday, September 10, 2009

Observation on The Nines

Did you watch any of The Nines conference?

I watched less of it than I expected to, but still quite a bit.

Well, I watched about 7 or 8 speakers, and listened to another 10-15 probably. I had to bail out in the afternoon, so I missed a lot of the guys I was most looking forward to: Driscoll, Stetzer, Patrick, Warren,

The last guy I caught was John Ortberg, and I was glad for that. Before him I heard Brad Bell, who I'd never heard of, but who gave a great little talk on pastors taking care of themselves and their families. Jud Wilhite took the same sort of tack, talking about personal integrity, guarding our hearts and reputations. Bell's was more along the lines of spending quality time with wives and kids and also stuff like "Go take a nap," which is not the sort of leadership lesson you'd expect from most. :-)

Earlier in the day, and the absolute best talk I heard, was Skye Jethani's, which is no surprise as I think his book The Divine Commodity is one of the few must-reads of 2009.

And as a testament to the diversity in The Nines lineup, after Jethani had finished talking about measuring success by faithfulness and not seeking legitimacy in numbers, we had plenty of "bursting barriers" guys and others still plugging away on the church growth mantras (which should by now be debunked, as America has more megachurches than ever but fewer Christians).

Greg Surratt and Pete Wilson, two multi-site guys I love and consider friends (even though they may not claim me :-), gave good solid talks that belied just how on fire their ministries are right now. Humility speaks volumes.

Amy Hanson gave a calm but incisive talk on ministry to, by, and for the senior citizen crowd, a positive and cheerful rebuke of the church's idolization of youth that was probably lost on many because it was too gentle. Her 9 minutes were likely the most innovative 9 of the whole day -- I mean, which of these fauxhawked hipster pastorpreneurs even talks about old people in anything but dismissive terms these days? -- but I'm wiling to bet most in the Nines crowd tuned her out as soon as they saw she was a) a woman, b) not gesticulating "dynamically," and c) talking about old people.

In all, I thought The Nines was a neat experience and opportunity. I'm thankful to Leadership Network and all those who gave us 9 minutes of their time for making it happen -- and making it happen online and for free. It was a great gift.


Bill Streger said...

Skye's talk was the only one I caught - and it was a matter of timing. It just happened to be starting as I went to Ed Stetzer's blog... and I have to say, it was divine providence. What he said was exactly what I needed to hear (and need to hear every day)...

I stopped watching after that, because I knew it would most likely be downhill from there. (And judging from what I saw on Twitter, I was right). I've got enough baggage from my church growth movement roots without listening to anybody talk about audacious innovation or cutting-edge synergy.

jason said...

I'm not a church leader on any level but I kept having The Nines put in front of me. Messages on Facebook, Twitter, etc.

I found many of the messages challenging and inspiring just as someone walking with Christ even if not a "church leader." I wanted to see Driscoll & I'm bummed I missed it and can't find it on the net anywhere.

Ortberg was brilliant. The opening talk on pride was powerful as well. I can't say there was a single speaker who didn't challenge me in some way (even if they weren't all great speakers.)

Lonnie said...

Shouldn't any book titled "The Divine Commodity" at least be available as a free download?

Anonymous said...

"wiling to bet most in the Nines crowd tuned her out as soon as they saw she was a) a woman," Thank you for telling it like it is. I use a pen name on my blog to disguise that I am a woman because I know that, since I'm blogging on ministry issues and not writing about homemaking/children/women's issues, I won't be taken as seriously. Christian ministry blogging is a boys club, really.

Some think I'm imagining this bias, but if they could see some of the treatment by other pastors that I've received merely as the "pastor's wife" they'd think differently. I know my readership on the blog would drop if I revealed my gender.

"c) talking about old people" As a friend of mine said, "But what about the older generation, especially in rural areas? Don't they need a church and a pastor, too?" Everyone thought we were nuts when my husband accepted a call to a 150-year-old church with members mostly 65-85 (we are in our 30's). We've been blessed by their mature wisdom, and it's disappointing to see such a bias against Christians of an older age.