Challenge to Churches: ‘Choose Compassion Over Apathy’

By Bryan Malley

GRAND FORKS, ND (October 21, 1010) – More than 400 people descended on Hope Covenant Church to attend THRIVE-ND last weekend for teaching, worship and workshops.
Hope and the Northwest Conference co-sponsored the event, which was facilitated by a team from Bayside Church in Granite Bay, California, an Evangelical Covenant Church.

Ray Johnston, founding pastor of Bayside and keynote speaker on Friday evening, opened the event by challenging pastors and lay people to embrace vision, compassion and hope.

The early Church had a “vision that was greater than their fear,” Johnston said. “A lot of churches today, their only vision for the future is to bring back the past.”

Asking churches to choose compassion over apathy, Johnston then explained that good deeds can lead to good will, which can eventually lead to openness in sharing the good news of the gospel. As he closed the session, Johnston said that churches must also be a place of hope and encouragement for those who already attend, as well as those who are new to the church.

On Saturday, attendees – who came from almost 30 different churches – had the opportunity to choose from breakout sessions designed to equip them for various aspects of ministry. Breakout workshops covered a range of topics, including Preaching and Communication Dynamics, God-Size Your Church, Worship Leading and Leading Worship from the Heart, and What is a Thriving College Ministry?

Bayside, which hosts an annual version of THRIVE at its campus in California, hopes to continue to replicate the event on smaller scales at venues across the country. Johnston will be one of the evening speakers during the Midwinter Pastors Conference January 31-February 4 at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Rosemont, Illinois.

Editor’s note: This story is an edited version of an article written by Bryan Malley, director of communications for the Northwest Conference.

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