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National Outreach Convention to Equip, Inspire Church Leaders Amid Difficult Times

November 3, 2008

Over 2,000 Christian leaders from across the nation will be gathering
in San Diego this week for one of the largest and most influential
conventions on church outreach in the world.

And after a year of dismal church growth figures and amid startling
anti-Christian trends, organizers and past participants of the National
Outreach Convention say the need for the Nov. 5-7 gathering is clear.

“There’s nowhere like the National Outreach Convention to come
and get ideas and inspiration and just get charged up
evangelistically,” commented speaker and author Mark Mittleberg.

“When you’re with like-minded people who have a passion for
evangelism, and not only that but you’re with some of the top experts
in the world in the area of evangelism … for me, it’s a ‘cannot miss’
conference,” added Dr. Nancy Grisham, founder of Livin’ Ignited.

“There’s an energy [at the convention] that just refuels me in a special way,” she said.

Presented by Outreach magazine, this year’s National Outreach
Convention comes at a time when 90 percent of churches are not growing
and after a year that saw only two percent of church members invite an
unchurched person to church and only 50 percent of churches having at
least one person come to Christ.

It also comes as one of the most significant shifts in the
nation’s culture is the declining reputation of Christianity,
especially among young Americans.

A decade ago the vast majority of Americans outside the
Christian faith, including young people, felt favorably toward
Christianity’s role in society. According to a Barna study released
late last year, however, just 16 percent of non-Christians in their
late teens and twenties said they have a “good impression” of
Christianity.

Common negative perceptions include that present-day
Christianity is judgmental (87 percent), hypocritical (85 percent),
old-fashioned (78 percent), and too involved in politics (75 percent).

“Their (young non-Christians’) perceptions about Christianity
were not always accurate,” commented David Kinnaman, the president of
The Barna Group, “but what surprised me was not only the severity of
their frustration with Christians, but also how frequently young born
again Christians expressed some of the very same comments as young
non-Christians.”

As a result of the increasingly hostile and negative toward
Christianity, half of senior pastors interviewed by Barna for its study
contend that ministry is more difficult than ever before.

With the ever-changing societal landscape, church leaders
across the nation are being encouraged to attend – if not send an
entire team – to this week’s National Outreach Convention to gain
concepts and ideas that can be used to help them develop their churches
and strengthen their outreach.

“I think the greatest takeaway for us as a church is that our
entire team gets to come together and hear concepts and ideas, and
we’re processing them together and we’re going to be able to take all
of that, digest it, go back home and then figure out how to interpret
it for our context,” commented Joe Handley of Rolling Hills Covenant
Church. “That’s the greatest take home value.”

During the upcoming three-day outreach convention, pastors and
church leaders will hear from leaders of some of the most innovative
churches in the United States. Featured speakers include author and
speaker Erwin McManus, apologist Lee Strobel, pastor Dan Kimball of
Vintage Faith Church in Santa Cruz, pastor Miles McPherson of The Rock
Church in San Diego, and LifeWay Christian Resources director Ed
Stetzer.

The National Outreach Convention also features an exhibit floor
where participants can find and explore the latest products and
services that can empower their church for effective ministry. More
than 120 resource providers will be present at this year’s convention.

In addition, there will be more than 50 workshops on topics
including youth outreach, community outreach, creative outreach, and
targeted outreach. Outreach ideas and innovations as well as emerging
trends will also be shared.

Since 2003, NOC has been inspiring, equipping, and energizing
church leaders who have a passion for reaching the unchurched in their
local communities. It is billed as the single largest gathering of
church leaders, and resource providers for the sole purpose of outreach.

Source: Christian Post

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