by Rod Groom
Did you know…
- that there is a charismatic Pentecostal Wesleyan church denomination planting new church starts?
- that the typical Christian in the United States in the future may be a thirty-year-old Asian woman?
- that the CMA churches outside the United States have taken on a project to plant at least one Alliance church in every county in the U.S. over the next few years?
I learned this and many other things at the New Room Conference this year (September 16-18 in Franklin, Tn). This conference is an annual meeting sponsored by Seedbed, the resourcing arm of Asbury Theological Seminary. Many people were in attendance. While most were United Methodists, we also had Wesleyans, Free Methodists and some Salvation Army officers/ministers. There was wonderful worship, great breakouts to choose from, and wonderful general sessions as well. Some of my favorites included Dr. Brian Russell of the Florida (Dunnam) Campus of Asbury, Andrew Thompson, Carolyn Moore, Dr. Stanley John, Lisa Yebuah, Dr. Sandra Richter and Dr. Kenneth Watson. Some of the younger pastors and theologians stunned me with their love and Spirit-infused insights. All of the plenary sessions are available in video, while the breakout sessions are in audio, with a couple in video. If you would like to see or hear these, you can buy the package for $39.95 here.
There were four United Methodist Bishops there, including Mike Lowry of the Indiana Annual Conference. Here is his review of the conference: Read his review of the conference. Bishop Lowry is currently assigned to the Fort Worth area.
Overall, I left the conference feeling excited and hopeful. Some people claim New Room is looking to split the United Methodist Church, but in fact, it is not. It is working to help bring about revival and to establish a new network—The New Room Network—among all Wesleyan churches and movements. There is a common focus in all of these churches on our Wesleyan theology and doctrines of holiness and sanctification. Some other impressions of the conference can be found at Good News Magazine, Matt Lipan’s blog, and an article by Mark Tooley.
The most controversial aspect of the New Room Conference is what was called the Wesleyan Covenant Network, and is now being called the New Room Network. This is the item many feared was trying to “split the church.” It is actually a network of Wesleyan churches hoping and working towards revival. A Covenant has been formed which can tell you more about it here. Also, learn more about the Network at http://newroom.network/. Is this something to be feared? Let us know at email@example.com.