Just one week ago the 2019 G3 Conference kicked-off in Atlanta. As we look back at the conference, I’m reminded of God’s goodness to us for an opportunity to gather with 4,600 brothers and sisters in Christ for three days of singing, preaching, and fellowship in the gospel of King Jesus. We had in the room people from every state in the United States plus a minimum of 12 different nations. Watching online was a massive number of people from 30 nations—estimated at 225,000 people over the weekend.
This year, the focus was missions. How do we connect the dots from the mission field to the local church. As each sermon was preached, it was clear that God was making a statement from his Word in regard to missions. If I had to put a review into one succinct sentence, I think I would say the 2019 G3 Conference communicated the following:
Missions is the work of local churches who disciple, train, and commission elder qualified missionaries to the nations with the good news of Jesus with absolute confidence that God will accomplish his mission for his glory.
Local Church Emphasis
Missions is not the work of parachurch ministries. Missions is the work of the local church who may use parachurch ministries to accomplish their work. However, the point of emphasis throughout the 2019 G3 was that local churches bear this responsibility and must engage in the work of missions for the glory of God.
With this in mind, we had several pastors preach in the G3 Conference. Some people asked why we didn’t have more missionaries preaching, and that’s a good question, but the point is that God uses pastors to disciples, train, equip, and eventually commission out from their local church specific missionaries for the work of getting the good news of Jesus to the nations.
We must never overlook the local church and under estimate the labor of faithful pastors in the work of missions. From the very beginning of the missionary work with Paul and Barnabas in Acts 13 to the land of Scotland where John Paton was discipled—missionaries are sent out from local churches with the message of reconciliation—the hope of the nations. Through the entire process, the local church in Antioch was involved and received reports from the missionaries regarding their work. This is essential as we consider the work of missions and the authority of the local church. This equation will not support rogue missionaries roaming the hills of foreign countries with a backpack and a blog site used to give reports and ask for financial support.
Elder Qualified Missionaries
One key point of the 2019 G3 Conference that surfaced in the Q&A and in a couple of the sermons was that the missionaries we send out to the field need to be elder qualified missionaries. This position is based on textual evidence (see Phil. 2:25 and 2 Cor. 8:23 and note the word “ἀπόστολος” translated messenger) and supported by plain logic. If the work of missions is not merely roaming through jungle trails and telling people the good news by handing out gospel tracts and if the mission of God involves the work of planting biblical churches among the nations, we must be sending out elder qualified candidates to engage in this work.
How should women engage in this work if they’re not called to be elders? First of all, women for the most part will find themselves supporting their husbands on the mission field as they seek to plant healthy and biblical churches that will multiply and continue the mission of God. At times, a woman with the gift of singleness will find herself desiring to engage in specific mission work where she will move to a specific country, join a local church, and engage in the discipleship of women, children, and perhaps some mercy ministry opportunities through their local church.
In other circumstances, young women who desire to train for missions will spend time on the field under the supervision of seasoned missionaries while under the authority of a specific sending church. Unless she has the gift of singleness, she will need to be under the leadership of her husband in due season, so this can be a bridge opportunity that may not lead to full-time missionary work or it may in God’s providence lead in that direction, but God is in control of that process from start to finish.
During the 2019 G3 on missions, the point was made that we can’t view missionaries as those who couldn’t cut it in the pulpit in America, so we ship them off to the nations to engage in missions. Antioch sent out Paul, and he wasn’t a guy who couldn’t cut it in the work of gospel ministry. There must be a clear connection between missionary, elders, and the local church.
Sovereignty of God
As we consider the fact that the world is vastly unreached with the gospel (41.5% according to JoshuaProject.net), how will you invest your time, talent, and treasure through your local church in order to reach the nations with the gospel? No matter how small your church is, everyone has a part in this process and we can all engage in the work of missions. Consider the fact that our local churches need to be praying, sending, and going to the nations for the glory of God.
The mission of God is the message of Jesus and that message of reconciliation is sent out from local churches to the nations. We must pray, send, and go with unshakable confidence that God will accomplish his mission through persecution, trial, disease, death, betrayal, sickness, hardship, and pain. God will accomplish his mission on the good days and bad days—in seasons of mountain top joys and valley pains. God will accomplish his mission for his eternal glory!
In 2013 we launched what was planned to be a Bible conference for churches in our area, and it turned out to be a national conference from the very first year. Apparently, the Lord had other plans for what is known as the G3 Conference.
Through the years we have heard of many stories through personal interaction and e-mails that have flooded our office about how the Lord used the G3 to encourage and help struggling believers, new believers, and many pastors who lacked resources and a good network of support. Those e-mails serve as a reminder of why we organized the conference from the beginning. Not only do we place a great deal of emphasis upon the preaching of the Word, but we organize a quality bookstore and exhibit hall that enables attendees to take home great resources and make connections with helpful ministries.
As we plan for the upcoming G3 Conference, we hope you will plan to join us for “The Mission of God.” Take time to watch this short video and reserve your seats before 9/25 in order to save $40 per ticket.
The 2018 G3 Conference is just one week away at this point (with the Spanish conference starting next Wednesday). Due to the preparations of the conference, I will be working with our staff to make necessary preparations, pray, and prepare to preach in the conference. I hope to see many of you in Atlanta, but if you can’t join us, I will encourage you to do the following:
Pray. The event is designed to glorify God in the equipping and encouraging of believers from around the world.
Watch on livestream during the weekend. Visit the G3Conference.com website on Wednesday and Thursday to get started with the livestream options.
Download the G3 app (FREE in your app store) where you will find all sessions in the archives after the event.
This is a hint…the newly improved G3 Conference website will be launched just prior to the event.
Last of all, don’t forget the special conference registration rates for 2019 that’s only available for one week after the 2018 event.
After the G3 Conference passes, the DBG blog will be back to normal starting January 30th. Until then, I appreciate your prayers.
This week, the 2017 G3 Conference will be held in Atlanta, Georgia. As we pray, plan, and prepare for the attendees to arrive, we would ask that you pray with us for this conference. If you aren’t able to attend the conference, you can join us through the livestream option on the website. Thank you for your prayers. May the Lord use the G3 to educate, encourage, and equip through sound biblical teaching.
It’s hard to believe that the 2016 G3 Conference is now another page in the history books. This year the focus of the G3 Conference was the doctrine of the Trinity. People from around the nation and beyond gathered together on our church campus located just west of Atlanta for an intensive weekend of preaching and singing. Thousands more, from 52 different countries, watched the G3 through our Livestream. As always, the G3 is designed to be a theology conference rather than a Christian pep rally built upon a superficial foundation.
Preaching and Teaching
One of the foundational goals of the G3 each year is to educate people in sound biblical teaching and preaching. This year, we had 13 different sessions packed into three days. If you add the pre-conference session with Dr. James White on Wednesday evening and the post-conference sessions on the Lord’s Day by Dr. James White and Dr. Steven Lawson, that brings the numbers to 16 sessions over 5 days.
One of the main emphases of the G3 this year was to point out that the doctrine of the Trinity is not some esoteric teaching reserved for the seminary classroom or selective group of spiritual elites. The doctrine of the Trinity matters because God matters. How we view God will shape our worship and many other aspects of life and ministry.
I was joined by a lengthy number of preachers (Bruce Ware, Steven Lawson, James White, Tim Challies, David Miller, Anthony Mathenia, H.B. Charles Jr., and Todd Friel) in the conference, and it seemed like there was a great mix of different styles, focal points, and specialties among the men speaking in the conference. From pastors to seminary professors (and Todd Friel), the mixture provided depth, knowledge, and wisdom.
I preached the first session of the 2016 conference by preaching from the Great Commission passage. The goal was to exhort everyone and remind us that we as Christians are called to proclaim a triune God from a Trinitarian book. Tim Challies followed with an overview of the Trinity. From that point, the conference was propelled onward.
With the conference in full stride by this point, the Trinity in salvation, the dependence upon the Holy Spirit in preaching, roles among the Persons of the Trinity, sanctification, the resurrection of Christ, and beholding the Trinity in worship were all different subjects that followed throughout the next two days. There was a richness to the preaching and teaching.
All who go to hell go there because of their own free will. All who go to heaven go there because of God’s sovereign will. ~ Steven Lawson
Jesus had to be fully God in order to represent God to man & fully man to represent man to God. ~ Steven Lawson
It’s hard to be godly and popular at the same time. ~ H.B. Charles Jr.
God demands perfect righteousness and in Christ, God supplies what God demands. ~ H.B. Charles Jr.
The Bible is like Big Mama’s house where you eat what she serves or you don’t eat at all. Can’t pick and choose! ~ H.B. Charles Jr.
You don’t want your election to be on the basis of what God foresaw. ~ David Miller
We know the Trinity because we’ve been known by the Trinity. ~ Tim Challies
The hard work of exegesis is an act of worship and a service to others. ~ James White
The Qur’an is only 14% the length of the Bible and was written by a man with no understanding of the Trinity. ~ James White
The Trinitarian confusion would evaporate with great exegetical teaching. ~ Todd Friel
There are no loopholes in the command to be Christ-like. ~ Anthony Mathenia
The #1 most magnificent evidence that the Spirit controls a person is that they love and want to be like Jesus. ~ Bruce Ware
Good conferences have their place in the life of the church. One of those purposes is to encourage one another. That certainly happened during the G3 this year. I was greatly encouraged by old and new friends in the faith. However, we were never intended to remain in the huddle. We must move forward and get back in the game of life and ministry.
One particular man was in attendance this year from California who was with us last year as well. The difference between this year and last year is that his wife was not in attendance this year because she finished her course in this life within the past several months. This gentleman came along with friends – a good way to be encouraged in the faith. I met a sweet couple who told me that they had been dismissed from their church a few weeks ago. He was looking for another church to serve as pastor. I could see the tears in their eyes as I spoke to them after one of the sessions. It’s good to join together and be encouraged in conferences.
God has not called us to remain in endless hours of theology conferences. God expects us to learn, gain tools, and be encouraged among the saints, and then He sends us back out into the context of difficulties, trials, and problems. Ministry is never easy. There will always be real people with real problems, but we can rest assured that we have a real Savior who has real solutions.
My heart is full of joy, my mind is full of truth, and my body is tired after this past week. As I reflect on the success of the G3, I’m freshly reminded of what a great church I serve. I’m freshly reminded of what a good pastoral team I serve alongside. I’m grateful and encouraged and tired, however, I’m already looking forward to the 2017 G3 Conference. I hope to see you there.
If you’re interested in early registration for the 2017 G3 Conference, you can go ahead and register until 1-29 (save $80).
All of the sessions will be archived to the G3 Conference website over the next several days.