Yesterday, the Oregon Christian Convention sponsored a two hour forum with Bob Russell. Bob was, for forty years, the preaching minister at the Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, KY. The OCC always has an event “Mayfest” the first weekend of May (the purpose of which I have never been able to determine). But Russell was the main speaker for Mayfest and so preachers from the Willamette Valley and northern Oregon were invited to dialogue with Bob.
There were about thirty preachers who gathered in a circle and spent on hour listening to Russell and then spent an hour dialoguing with him. Actually it was more than that because when I left 30 minutes after the session ended, Bob was still dialoguing one-on-one with preachers. While there was a wide variety of ages, from twenties through probably retirement age, I was struck by how many of these guys were in their late 40’s & 50’s.
- Perhaps that is indicative of the Christian Churches in Oregon. They are heavily rural and older.
- Perhaps it is because Bob was at the height of his ministry during the formative years of most of those guys who were in their 50’s (like me).
- Perhaps younger guys have given up on preaching and have no interest in hearing an “old guy” talk about it.
I will spend the next couple of days or so just sharing some insights that Bob Russell shared and interacting with them.
One quote before I go: Russell made one statement that I thought was insightful. “In all the large dynamic churches there is an air of anticipation that God is going to do something today. Something significant is going to happen here.” My thoughts: the vast majority of Christian Churches in Oregon are sedate, older, fairly traditional. That doesn’t mean that God doesn’t show up and do things in sedate, older, traditional churches, but do we expect that? Furthermore, there is the chicken & the egg question: do we have that anticipation because God has regularly shown up and done something in our worship in the past, or does that sense of anticipation allow God’s Spirit to move in significant ways? And is that sense that “God did something today” a result of programming and planning? Or is it a result of the heart attitude of all of the people? What do you think? Stay tuned.