By Allan Dunbar
What a unique opportunity God has placed before Christian churches and churches of Christ this year!
Sadly, for 100 years this family has failed to model what “together in Christ” should look like. God is orchestrating something very special through the ministry of the North American Christian Convention this summer. It will be a time designed to add substance to dreams. The entire approach in planning focuses on building relationships with all who share this heritage and mission.
In truth, the NACC will mirror a variety of events being planned by instrumental and a cappella groups throughout 2006. Each group’s planning provides evidence that we really want the dream to come true.
NACC President David Faust’s executive committee (which includes representation from the a cappella fellowship), with sensitivity and purpose, has crafted an outstanding program that will unfold at the Kentucky International Convention Center in Louisville June 27-30. I’m reminded that “we make ourselves poor by the things we miss,” so we dare not miss this one.
Unique Program Events
• Cane Ridge Tour, Tuesday, June 27—We’ve planned a tour to Bourbon County, Kentucky, to reflect on our common heritage at the site of the early 19th-century Great Western Revival. This road trip will feature a tour of Cane Ridge, a worship session at the old meeting house, lunch, and a museum visit. Buses will leave from the convention center. Speakers, program personnel, and tour hosts will come from both the Christian church and church of Christ. This event is sponsored by Christian Standard and The Christian Chronicle. Ticket information for all special events can be found on the NACC Web site, www.nacctheconnectingplace.org.
• Ministers’ Mentorship Breakfasts—These Wednesday and Thursday morning sessions will provide an opportunity to cultivate a meaningful learning experience between a seasoned ministry leader and someone who is eager to grow and learn. Prominent male and female leaders in the Christian churches and churches of Christ will spend time with a small group of emerging leaders in a roundtable setting. These breakfasts are sponsored by Milligan College and Standard Publishing. Tickets are free but space is limited. Information about reserving space is on the NACC Web site.
• Morning Prayer Session—Start each day at 8 am in a small group for morning devotion and prayer. A special location set aside in the hotel or convention center for one hour Wednesday through Friday will allow us to pray together. These intimate moments could easily be the highlight of your week.
• President’s Luncheon, Wednesday, June 28—President Faust invites you and your spouse to come and enjoy great food, good conversation, and a lot of laughs as we toast and roast Bob Russell, who is retiring from 40 years of ministry with Southeast Christian Church in Louisville. All our luncheons are being sponsored by Provision Ministry Group.
• Seniors’ Luncheon, Wednesday—This luncheon features Wally Rendel, Wayne Smith, and music from the Gospel Lads.
• Ladies’ Luncheon, Thursday, June 29—Women’s ministry will be a focus for workshops this year. This luncheon will feature Becky Pippert and music from Steve and Annie Chapman.
• Leadership Banquet, Thursday evening—Max Lucado of Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas, who is known for his teaching and writing ministry, will impact our leaders in the matter of getting past our divisions to what can be accomplished by working together.
Speakers and Leaders Prayerfully Chosen
Outstanding preaching and teaching have always been hallmarks of the NACC. Our eight speakers for the main sessions this year equally represent both the a cappella and the instrumental fellowships of churches (see box, page 5). The worship times in these sessions will feature “incredibly singable” selections under the leadership of Eli and Ruth Reyes from Southside Christian Church in Orlando, Florida. The worship team from Richland Hills Church of Christ in Fort Worth, Texas, will be an integral part of that worship team. Likewise, the morning Bible Studies at 9:00 am will be led by just the right folk from both groups.
The NACC Teen Convention is sponsored and run by Youth in Ministry. This full-featured Teen Convention will be held at the Galt House, just a couple of blocks from the convention center.
National Bible Bowl is back! We’re thrilled that both the National Finals and Beginner Bible Bowl will be at this year’s NACC. Participants in the competition at the Galt House will have complete access to the Teen Convention program in the same facility.
An outstanding children’s program has been planned. Babies, toddlers, and preschoolers will have their own areas to play and learn with supervision and teaching by excellent child-care workers. School-age folk can go on day trips (with one chaperone for every 6-10 children), or attend VBS-style programming during the day. Worship services just for school-aged participants will be featured each evening. Registration is required and information is available on the NACC Web site.
The past two convention years have had great programs but disappointing involvement. It’s great to be in a location that represents the heart of this movement. We are expecting a huge attendance because of this opportunity to celebrate our common heritage and faith.
Our workshop tracks for this year help define this celebration. In fact, some workshop themes are returning this year after some absence: Christian education and discipleship; eldership; women’s ministry; and more emphasis on Restoration Movement issues. The choices available have all of us filled with excitement and anticipation. Add in the exhibit hall, college and ministry events, fellowship with thousands of brothers and sisters who love the Lord and his Word, and you have a “full meal deal”!
As the history of our movement is written, what happens the week of June 27-30 in Louisville at the North American Christian Convention will be a milestone moment in a history that we all cherish.
I’m looking forward to seeing the dream come true . . . with you!
The NACC Web site is www.nacctheconnectingplace.org.
Allan Dunbar is executive director with the North American Christian Convention.