ACU Summit 2019 Small Church Pathway
There is a “small church” movement taking place. Christian writers are producing books, journal articles, and blogs dedicated to it. Different lectureships and other Christian events are designed with small churches in mind. Just as the cries of Elijah all alone in 1 Kings 19:14 have been heard by God, and God responds that he is not alone, if you are in a small church, you are also not alone.
For the third year in a row, Abilene Christian University Summit will offer a special group of classes intentionally designed for those who love and labor in small churches. This pathway will be all day on Tuesday, September 17.
Dr. Jason Byassee will kick things off that morning. In addition to speaking in the small church pathway, Jason will also present in the Center for the Study of Ancient Religious Texts pathway on Monday and lead a mini-pathway on Wednesday. This Vancouver School of Theology professor has written a book about his labors with a small church called The Gifts of the Small Church, where he writes about the tremendous love and skills he received working there. He says that he is a better preacher and professor because of his time in a small church, and those in similarly small churches would greatly benefit from reading it. In his Summit presentation he will direct us toward the things that small churches do well, and help us worry less about “missing” things that many think should be happening in their congregations.
Jennifer Allen will also be presenting in the small church pathway, but I am sure she will attract audiences that expand far beyond just small churches. Jennifer is the director of Aspergers101, a tremendous resource. She, with her son Samuel, have been instrumental in getting Texas legislation passed regarding important things that help those with autism and Asperger’s, as well as those in law enforcement when they encounter someone with these challenges. Jennifer will speak about how churches can better serve those in their congregation with special needs. Her discussion will also serve parents with special needs children, as they feel unique pressures that many people in the church may neither have nor understand.
The remaining speakers are currently working on their Doctor of Ministry degrees (two at Fuller, one at Harding). Kent Jobe (Harding) will be exploring areas of community involvement. Austin Wright will talk about small church successes, even when it has absolutely nothing to do with size. And Omar Palafox will conclude the pathway by wrapping everything up, keeping us focused on spirituality rather than numbers.
From the diverse backgrounds of these presenters, we will receive just a small sampling of what is going on, or can be going on, in small churches throughout the brotherhood. And whether you show up for Summit or not (although I hope you do!), please remember that you and your church are not alone.