SEATTLE – Pastor Mark Driscoll set the tone early during a meeting of Christian leaders strategizing for a faith-driven resurgence on the first day of a two-day conference at Mars Hill Downtown Church by walking out on the stage and screaming, "I am not ashamed. I am not ashamed. I am not ashamed."
The host of the annual Resurgence conference then shouted, "I am not ashamed of what?" To which the more than 800 people in attendance replied back, "Of the Gospel." Driscoll continued, "Of the Gospel of the Good News of the person and the work of Jesus Christ. This is a day for courage, not for cowards."
Driscoll was followed by other megachurch pastors later on Tuesday, there to discuss how leaders can continue to pastor and evangelize in a culture that appears to be embracing biblical values less and less. The conference theme, Call to Resurgence, is based on Driscoll's newly released book of the same name.
Well-known preachers, including Rick Warren and James MacDonald, are scheduled to talk on Wednesday. Judah Smith, Matt Chandler, Greg Laurie, and Crawford Loritts spoke at the conference Tuesday.
At the event, Chandler was asked by The Christians Post what he thought was the most important thing Christians should remember when engaging today's culture.
"You could answer that question quite honestly historically," Chandler, the teaching pastor at Village Church in Highland, Texas, answered. "Historically, when cultural pressure has pressed against the church the tendency of some has been to try to tweak the message in order that it might be more readily accepted.
"History will show that has always led to death," he continued. "That has never led to revival. My hope for the young men out there, but really all of us, is that there would be a faithfulness to the word of God and an unapologetic yet humble posturing of ourselves about who the king of glory is and where salvation comes from, and really how to line ourselves up with how God designed the universe to work. And so my hope would be that we be steadfast in the Scriptures, serious about the things of God, be men of prayer, men of action, and I think that's what's necessary to see that resurgence."
Loritts, who is the senior pastor of Fellowship Bible Church in Roswell, Ga., was also asked the same question offstage at the conference.
"It's hard to isolate the most important thing, but I think we need to remember the difference between being aggressive about the issue and yet at the same time not being judgmental concerning the person," Loritts said. "Typically, as followers of Christ when we get involved in the culture and start engaging in issues of the culture we go from one extreme to the other.
"We so not want people to dismiss us and to dismiss what we are saying that we give a disingenuous presentation of the Gospel and we kind of back away from that which is wrong or we go to the other extreme and we start condemning people and castigating them," he said. "But we are to have a love for the people, be engaging and loving and be grace-filled when it comes to the individual. At the same time, speak clearly, forthrightly with the issues that collide with our view, our worldview and what the truth of the scriptures is all about."
In addition to hosting the main speakers at the Mars Hill Church downtown Seattle location, satellite locations include Bellevue, Wash.; Reno, Nevada; Orlando, Fla.; and Albuquerque, N.M. The conference will be hosted at venues in those states, respectively, by pastors Judah Smith, Larry Osborne, Bob Coy, and Levi Lusko.
The combined attendance for the conference at all venues is more than 1,800 people, with about 13,000 viewers signed up to watch the livestream online, according to organizers. Registered viewers include people from 153 countries.
The event is also being live webcast for free for individual viewing on the Resurgence Conference website: http://theresurgence.com/conference.