Thoughts from the GCM Conference in Alabama

September 21, 2011

Paul, Matt and I had the opportunity to travel to Alabama last week (yes “Alabama”, “opportunity” and “last week”–as in September–just appeared together) to participate in the Gospel, Community, Mission Conference in Huntsville (put on by the GCM Collective).  All told some 400 people from across the United States (especially the South), came from a wide variety of churches, many of whom are somewhere in the beginning stages of transitioning from more traditional to missionally minded bodies of believers.

Having been back a few days now, I’d like to take a moment to share some things I learned and heard on the trip:

  • I now know the difference between “barbecue” and “cookout”.  Google it if you’d like to join the ranks of the informed, or you can also tell a southerner that you’re barbecuing hotdogs and hamburgers if you’d like the matter explicated with a southern drawl.
  • “Am I the kind of person people come to with sin?  No?  You’re probably a legalist” -Steve Timmis
  • Southern hospitality–or at least the flavor we experienced–is AMAZING!  Summit Crossing Community Church did an awesome job!
  • “It is essential for my godliness to be in community” -Steve Timmis
  • One of the sessions really challenged me to connect my understanding of the person and work of God to the world we live in. So, we understand the triune God in a fragmented world, the sovereign God in an anxious world, the creator God in a material world, etc.
  • “People understand justification because they see a community that no longer has to justify itself through work, sex, success, etc…Its the same with forgiveness.” -Steve Timmis (I realize it appears Steve was the only speaker.  I swear he wasn’t…)
If you’re interested in checking out some of the audio from the conference (available here under “GCM Conference 2011) I’d recommend “What is the Gospel?” by Jeff Vanderstelt, “Generous Church” and “Stealth Church” both by Steve Timmis.  Very good stuff.
UPDATE: For another interesting look at the conference check out what people were saying about it over on Twitter (hashtag #GCM2011)


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