20 Aug INAUGURAL GATHERING SUMMARY
July 21-24, 2015
We wanted to post a summary of events and experiences of the 2015 Gathering and Verge Camp for purposes twofold: One, for those who weren’t able to join us to be informed. Secondly, for those who were in attendance to be inspired again. This is a pathway back to the words spoken and the felt presence of God to going forward. Our theme was THE WAY FORWARD. The Gathering 2015 could be summed up in six words: It exceeded all of our expectations!
The Opening Session of Verge was an experience of heaven’s invasion during worship. Sean Smith brought on in season word knowing who you are in Christ. The altars were full of students coming to receive Christ as Savior and many rededications.
The R3 Members had morning sessions tailor made to addressing the issues that involve us and the challenges we face. Tuesday morning we entered a corporate pursuit of the heart of God in worship led by Pastor Brian Holden and team. It was evident that those who came were hungry for the manifest presence of God and that God was more than willing to meet us where we were in one place, in one accord!
Pastor Rusty, the President of R3, opened Session One by stressing who we are as an organization or we could say an organism. We are not a church planting movement, although, there are church planters among us. R3 is involved in “Partnering” with leaders, churches, and ministries in three vital dimensions: RELATIONSHIP, RESOURCE, and REFORMATION. We exist to serve the members and serve one another in the Great Commandment, the Great Commission, and the Advancement of the Kingdom of heaven of earth.
We heard from Dr. Kevin Harrison, President of West Coast Bible College and Seminary. Dr. Kevin shared the purpose of WCBCS is to make continuing education more accessible for those with families and jobs, as well as, more affordable by dramatically reducing costs associated with college tuition today. R3 ALLIANCE has partnered with WCBCS to use the online academic resources to assist our requirement levels of education for those seeking licensing and ordination. It is also a means to further one’s education with Master’s and Doctorate Degrees. You can learn more by going to their website: www.westcoastbible.org.
Session One was taught by Pastor Rusty on the Three Keys of Uzziah’s Success (2 Chronicles 26:1-15). Uzziah was used as a pattern for all leaders related to serving the church today and how God defines success or failure in His sight. We strongly urge everyone to go to the R3 App, which you can download for free, and listen to the audio of this teaching. This was an essential life lesson from King Uzziah that is very much needed in church leaders today! NOTE: When you are listening to the audio of the sessions you will hear talking in the background because we had a group from the Ukraine with us who needed translation.
Session Two Pastor Jay Stewart focused on the topic of Navigation and how we as leaders are to guide people through these times of unprecedented challenge and confusion. Pastor Jay enlightened us on the need for God’s men and women to recapture the concept of “Shabbat” (Sabbath) and learn how to recharge our inner batteries for the long journey, as well as, redefine our identity in the presence of the One who created us and called us. Again there was a much needed message and we encourage you to listen to it on the R3 App.
The Wednesday morning sessions were jam packed with indispensable information. We heard from Dr. Jerry Williamson, the President of GO TO NATIONS, a worldwide missions sending agency. Dr. Jerry gave us insights on the American church living in a Post-Christian Culture and keys to fulfilling the Great Commission for times like these. He shared his book, The Pulse of a Nation with us. You can find out more about this tremendous work and order Dr. Jerry’s book by going to www.gotonations.org.
In Session Three Dr. Michael Brown brought an exhortation entitled I Bear Witness. Dr. Brown took us on a journey of his testimony and God’s promises to him and how those promises unfolded differently than he thought they would and occurred in a timing not his own. The bottom line of Dr. Brown’s message for us was, “Blow off the dust from the promises God gave you and keep believing that what He had promised He is also able to perform.” Write down the revelation for it awaits an appointed time. Though it tarries, wait for it for it will surely come and not delay. (Habakkuk 2:1-4). The teaching was follow by a time of prayer and ministry to one another. There was a prophetic word given by Pastor Wayne Benson that we need to go back and listen to and claim for it was a word for us!
Veteran Missionary Curtis Silcox shared how God spoke to him over twenty years ago regarding a work in China. He thought that he had missed it because the time and opportunity never seemed to open. Then suddenly a door was opened exactly at a time when the church is emerging into a more influential position in the nation. The opportunities are amazing and Curtis is working to network the Church in China with other global ministries. Curtis brought a delegation of 12 students and 6 adults to both R3 Gathering and Verge Camp. We are in the planning stages of connecting with ministry opportunities with R3 and are planning a Verge Student Camp in China in 2016. If you are interested in China Missions or Verge in China stay tuned for more details.
Sessions Four and Five were combined with Dr. Brown addressing cultural shifts especially in the areas of the LGBT Community. Dr. Brown emphasized the fundamental approach to reaching any culture is to understand their objectives and to feel the weight of their objections. We need to know how to speak truth compassionately into their confusion and bring them back to divine design. Why were we created? How do we function? Dr. Brown referred us to his book Can You Be Gay and Christian? and another book Compassion Without Compromise for resources. Some other resourced websites are: www.help4families.org and www.sexchangeregret.com. Session Five concluded with an extended time of Q & A with Dr. Brown. There is no way for us to do justice to how much valuable information was shared in these sessions. Please take advantage of the recordings on the R3 App.
In conclusion, the entire week was a wonderful time of help and healing, visioneering and refreshing, and fellowship and encouragement. Each night was powerful as we participated in the Student Verge Camp. The times of lunch and fun on sugar white sands of the emerald green beaches of Destin were amazing! This was a worthy investment of time and resources. We hope all of our R3 Members and perspective members will make plans to connect with us via blogs, conference calls, regional round tables, and our next annual Gather in July 2016. Stay tuned for details.