Four Takeaways From the Thrive Conference

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By Pastor Joe Terreri

I had the opportunity to bring our pastoral staff to the Thrive Conference this fall. We were all challenged, encouraged and inspired by our time with our PennDel Ministry Network family and Dr. Carolyn Tennant. Here are four takeaways from our time at the Thrive Conference.

  1. That was the clearest biblical teaching on the role of the prophet we had ever heard. For many on our team, our experience had been that most teaching on prophetic ministry usually veers off into the bizarre and downright goofy. We were genuinely informed by Dr. Tennant’s teaching on prophetic ministry in the local church. We walked away from Tuesday morning’s session desiring to stay open to how the Spirit of God is desiring to speak to our church through those with the gift of prophecy.
  2. Evangelism is more effective when we try to identify where the Spirit is already working in people’s lives. Instead of trying to “do evangelism” as some kind of scripted speech or forced conversation, Dr. Tennant challenged us to approach evangelism with the mindset of joining with God where He is already at work in the lives of people who are far from Him. In my mind that takes the pressure off me to say the right words and instead to listen to both the person we are trying to share the Gospel with and to what the Spirit is wanting to say through us.
  3. Those with apostolic giftings need to discern where they should put their focus. As Dr. Tennant pointed out, those with apostolic giftings can have so much passion to push back the darkness and take new territory for Christ’s Kingdom that they can have trouble knowing where they should invest their time and energy because they are so aware of the needs all around them. The challenge to discern where God is calling us to focus in the midst of lots of opportunity was helpful for our team.
  4. Healthy Pastors, Thriving Churches is a vision I believe in. I love the direction our Network is going. It was so encouraging to head home from the Thrive Conference with so many helpful takeaways that were enriching for both my own life and Connection Church. It’s a privilege to be a part of what God is doing in the PennDel Network. I can’t even begin to imagine what God could do through a group of pastors who are committed to being whole and healthy human beings as they lead their churches to make everything about Jesus’ glory and mission to make disciples of all nations.

Joe is the Lead Pastor of Connection Church in North Coventry, PA. He has served at Connection (formerly Spring Valley Community Church) for 13 years. He is a 2006 graduate from the University of Valley Forge. He is married to Cheryl, and they have four children: Joseph (12), Lucy (10), Olivia (7) and Ezra (5 months).

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