20,000 Church Leaders Log On for 9-Minute Motivational Messages

"We're supposed to be revolutionaries. And that's odd that that sounds odd in this world but it's because the church has embraced the status quo instead of embracing what Jesus Christ brought into this world which was revolution."

That was the core message Pastor Brad Powell of Northridge Church tried to get across to fellow church leaders around the world within a short time frame of nine minutes.

He addressed a purely online audience on Wednesday during "The Nines" conference that featured back-to-back nine-minute video messages from renowned and lesser known communicators and pastors.

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The virtual conference, organized by Leadership Network and Catalyst, drew over 20,000 participants throughout the daylong event. Online attendees carried conversations on blogs and Twitter, making "The Nines" the most tweeted topic for about three hours that day.

"We have shut Jesus out of the church and by shutting Jesus out of the church we have become everything contrary, antithetical to what Jesus wants the church to be," Powell of Plymouth, Mich., said in his pre-recorded video.

"We need to let Jesus back in the church so that revolution can begin again; so our churches, instead of being turned inward will turn outward again; so that our churches, instead of being exclusive little clubs, parks and recreation for the middle class, will become inclusive again."

The Northridge pastor sees many churches today as "museums of what God once did" and many pastors as "curators of those antiquities." He urged church and ministry leaders to be on the offense and go after the world rather than on the defense and just trying to keep people from leaving church.

"We have to create a mission that is revolutionary," he stressed.

Some 75 pastors, authors and communicators sent in their webcam videos to share their passionate and personal messages with other church leaders. Among The Nines' virtual speakers were Greg Surratt of Seacoast Church, Rick Warren of Saddleback Community Church, Eric Bryant of Mosaic, and authors Leonard Sweet and Brian McLaren.

Bryant of Mosaic in Los Angeles used his nine minutes to talk about advocating for the rights of those who do not yet believe in Christ.

"Are we investing in people who might believe differently than us?" he posed.

Church is often seen as "a place to meet our needs as Christians" but Bryant encouraged church leaders to see it as a place that meets the needs of the world.

He challenged listeners to treat the world around them not as outsiders but as friends and to allow them into their lives and their community even if they might hold different beliefs. Then when the time was right, Christians would share with them how their lives have been changed by Jesus.

Author Leonard Sweet offered his few minutes of wisdom, telling church leaders how to deal with a big head.

"The more successful you get, the more [you're] used by God, the bigger head you got to deal with," Sweet said in his video message.

His answer to the big head syndrome is "humble confidence" or "confident humility."

Confidence is knowing that there are no limits to what God can do. But at the same time, it's knowing that without Christ, "I can't do anything," he explained.

"Humility is not putting yourselves down. It's accepting the great gifts and talents God has given you ... receiving them as gifts. These are not yours," he said.

The Nines was a free event and accessible to anyone interested in gaining some inspiration, motivation or just plain information. All 75 video presentations will be available for free viewing next week.

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