SYNC ’13 Conference – Gospel-Centered. Missional Leading.
by: Sherry Atkinson
For 28 years Mark Powers served as a music minister at several different South Carolina Baptist churches. Then a few years ago, he became director of worship and music at the South Carolina Baptist Convention. There God began to lead him down a different path – a path that led him to a missional church mindset.
Powers spent time with several worship leaders thinking, praying and studying about what missional meant and what it would look like. “We are so locked into our institutional thinking that we have to challenge ourselves and work together to move to a missional mindset. It’s a process,” he said.
The result – there are now nine resource groups in South Carolina which help worship leaders move toward a missional church mindset. “That’s what has become my heartbeat,” he said.
Three years ago Charleston Southern University had a heartbeat to reach youth ministers, and the first SYNC Conference was born. “The SYNC Conference has expanded to include pastors, pastoral staff and marketplace leaders interested in producing strategic change through missional means and ideas,” said Dr. Rick Brewer, vice president for student affairs and athletics.
Charleston Southern University and the South Carolina Baptist Convention partner together for the SYNC Conference. “At the convention,” Powers said, “we are working to redesign our events so that they are missional in intent. Everything we are doing is moving in that direction, so the SYNC Conference is right in line with my heartbeat.”
During the two-day conference, April 18 & 19, conferees will be involved in spiritual enrichment, leadership development, creative ideas sessions, lunch dialogues and keynote speakers who will both inspire and challenge.
“This is a very eclectic program of presenters who will expose participants to a broad range of strategies for moving God’s people on to God’s agenda for missions and ministry…,” said Brewer.
Presenters and worship leader are as follows:
Sonny Holmes, Lead Pastor of Northwood Baptist Church, North Charleston, South Carolina, said, “Charleston Southern has assembled an impressive line-up of leaders who understand Kingdom mission and engaging contemporary culture. SYNC is a power move beyond the boundaries of the campus and into the communities, churches and leaders around the region.”
Holmes will speak about Turnaround Churches - churches that have plateaued or declined – about which Holmes has personal experience and knowledge. He will discuss the molecular structure of turnaround, reversing negative momentum, overcoming mission inertia, accelerating through the turn, and several other topics regarding church turnaround.
Holmes graduated from The Citadel in 1971 and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (MDiv, 1982; DMin, 1990). He has pastored four congregations and served on the staff of the South Carolina Baptist Convention for three years.
Dr. Reggie McNeal serves as the Missional Leadership Specialist for the Leadership Network of Dallas, Texas. He enjoys helping people, leaders and Christian organizations pursue more intentional lives.
McNeal encourages and motivates others to create opportunities – whether it is a group raising a million pounds of food this Easter for their regional food banks; or folks taking on generational poverty; or churches who are adopting some of the poorest parts of their city. “
When you are with people like that, it is very energizing and fulfilling,” he said. “Rather than just evaluating how busy we are at church and how involved our church program is, we have to think about our impact in the world.”
McNeal’s past experience involves more than a decade as a denominational executive and leadership development coach. He also served in local congregational leadership for more than 20 years, including being the founding pastor of a new church. His education includes a BA degree from the University of South Carolina and the MDiv and PhD degrees both from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Doug Paul has spent the majority of his ministry life starting things out of nothing. At the megachurch he started with, he began a young adult ministry, then an alternative, postmodern worship service, all the while pioneering new initiatives as the Pastor of Multivenue and Multisite and a makeshift Communications Director.
He then planted a church in Richmond, Va., using Missional Communities (Eikon Community Church). Today, he serves as the Director of Content for 3DM. Due to his unusual background of multisite and church planting, his specialty is in both church planting and megachurch leadership.
Raised in Alabama, Alvin Reid went on to study ministry and graduate from Samford University. After graduation, Reid attended seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas. He earned an MDiv and a PhD in evangelism at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Since then he has served the Lord as a missionary in Indiana where he served as state evangelism director for the Southern Baptists. Reid then moved to Houston where he spent three years teaching at Houston Baptist Theological Seminary. In 1995, he moved to Wake Forest, North Carolina.
“The American church stands at a crossroads of great opportunity… Churches and leaders are recovering the gospel as the power of God to salvation and missional living as a demonstration of gospel change in the believer's life,” said Reid. “I look forward to being at SYNC, not only to share my own passion about the missional shift happening today, but to learn as well!”
Phil Wickham has released six CDs, Give You My World in 2003, a self-titled album in 2006, Cannons in 2007, Singalong in 2008, Heaven & Earth in 2009, Response in 2011, and Singalong 2 in 2012. He has also led worship at Soul Survivor Church. Wickham graduated from Calvary Christian School in Vista, California. Wickham's father is also a worship leader. His older brother, Evan Wickham, is also a musician who used to serve at Calvary Chapel in Vista, and now currently serves at Horizon Christian Fellowship in San Diego, Calif.
Pete Wilson is the founding and senior pastor of Cross Point Church in Nashville, Tennessee. Over the course of nine years, Cross Point has grown to reach more than 5,000 people each weekend through its five campuses located around the Nashville area and online.
As one of the fastest growing churches in America, Wilson’s ministry - an outreach focused on helping people become devoted to Christ, irrevocably committed to each other and relentlessly dedicated to reaching those outside of God's family with the Gospel - has led to him being a frequent speaker at national and international church conferences. Wilson earned his bachelor's degree in Communications from Kentucky Western University and attended seminary at Southern Seminary in Louisville, Ky.
In the light of the SYNC Conference, Brewer cites Leonard Sweet’s book, So Beautiful: Divine Design for Life and the Church. Sweet speaks of an MRI-shaped life model with the framework as Missional, Relational and Incarnational.
“There is a generation that is hungry for an experience that is missional, relational and incarnational,” Brewer said. “We’re excited as to what can happen in the future as we continue to respond to the needs and issues as well as being on the leading edge of ideas to encourage and build the local church.”
Register online at charlestonsouthern.edu/sync For more information, call Charleston Southern University at 843-863-8082.