June 15, 2023
I spent last week in Houston, Texas. I was there for an event at South Main Baptist Church that was hosted by Truett Seminary. The summer intensive was called Acts: New World, New People with British New Testament scholar N.T. Wright.
For three full days, N.T. Wright led 500 people through the Book of Acts. It was an inspiring, beautiful journey through a book about the leadership of the Holy Spirit in the life of the early church. The early apostles were attempting to spread the Gospel in the midst of a hostile culture. However, with boldness, wisdom, and clarity, Peter, John, Philip, Paul, and the others brought awareness of God’s great Rescue Plan for God’s people through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We also, of course, made applications about how we can be Resurrection People in the midst of our own hostile culture that seems addicted to secular modernism’s various, harmful ideologies.
One of the joys of these kinds of events is also the community you find with other participants. On the first night, I found myself at a hole-in-the-wall BBQ restaurant, eating amazing Texas brisket with a Baptist pastor from Woodville, TX and a Church of Christ pastor from Fort Collins, CO. On the second night (during a break), I went to the Houston Natural History Museum with an Episcopal priest from Minneapolis, MN (I chuckled when I saw that the dinosaur exhibit had been paid for by an oil company; that seems only fair, I suppose). And on the third day, I was grateful that South Main Baptist Church’s pastor, Steve Wells, took time out of his jam-packed schedule to meet with me to talk about what it means to lead a congregation.
I was also able to grab some amazing Tex-Mex with former Ardmore member Barry Parks. He and his wife, Nancy (who has been recovering from some recent medical issues in the hospital), miss you all dearly and are so grateful for the lifelong friends they still have at our church.
I am so grateful to the church for providing these sorts of opportunities for myself and the other members of the pastoral staff. These experiences are important for reviving our spirit, expanding our horizon, and giving us the space to listen for the voice of the Holy Spirit as we seek to lead us all into deeper faithfulness to Jesus.