'Conspirators' Bring Together New Styles of Christianity

More than 300 people participated in "The New Conspirators Conference" last week that brought together hip-hoppers, community workers, and mainline pastors who all were looking for new ways to connect the new generation with Jesus Christ.

Attendees were greeted with an urban atmosphere Saturday morning when rap and hip-hop gospel songs were shared for worship at the conference. Ohmega Watts, a Christian hip-hop producer and vocalist, sang while two people were break dancing behind him, according to conference attendee Jonathan Brink in his blog.

"Personally I loved it," said Brink in his blog. "A few of us stood in the back dancing and enjoying the sounds. But I'm sure there were a few who weren't quite used to rap as an expression for worship."

Afterwards, Efrem Smith, co-author of The Hip Hop Church, spoke about the need to tear down traditional structures that are associated with the "white" church, according to Brink. He also spoke about what it meant to be loved first by God so we can love others.

Earlier in the conference, representatives of the four Christian "streams of renewal" gathered Friday, Feb. 29, for a brief introduction of their stream and Q & A session. The emerging, missional, mosaic, and monastic streams were present for the special intro session.

The emerging stream tries to reach the young postmodern generation who are interested in spirituality but not in what is offered by traditional churches. To address the problem, emerging leaders started creating cafes and art centers that engaged specific populations of the un-churched and de-churched. Emerging churches tend to be more relational and experiential.

Similarly, the mosaic stream also originated with young people but they came from ethnic churches. Mosaics wanted to be part of richly multicultural congregations that reflect Gods kingdom. Like the missional church – which has an outwardly-focused model that address the needs of those outside the church instead of those inside the building - they tend to invest more of their resources outward in mission, but they also share cultural practices in their lives, congregations and communities.

And lastly, the monastic stream began about 20 years ago with new monastic orders that moved into tough urban communities to work with the poor and practice spiritual disciplines together. Unlike the other three streams, most monastics have no interest in church planting, and they are much more critical of the dominant culture.

"While there are differences between these four streams, they flow together," the Conspirators Conference wrote it its booklet. "These new conspirators all share a strong common passion to create new forms of more authentic faith in their lives, families and communities, and to create congregations that are more outwardly focused in local and global mission."

The "New Conspirators: What in the World is God Doing?" conference was held at Bethany Community Church in Seattle, Feb. 28-Mar. 1.

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