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An Interview with 2012 Assembly Speaker Ed Stetzer

This coming June, members and friends of the Anglican Church in North America will gather at Assembly 2012 in Ridgecrest, NC. A celebration of what the Lord is doing in and through us, Assembly 2012 will feature several guest speakers to encourage and impassion us in our callings, both as individuals and as a church.

Dr. Ed Stetzer, a renowned author, speaker, pastor, and researcher will speak with us about how we must “join Jesus on His mission.” President of LifeWay Research, Ed Stetzer has planted, revitalized, and pastored many churches. He has trained pastors and church planters on five continents, holds two masters degrees and two doctorates, and has written dozens of articles and books.

Our Canon for Provincial and Global Mission, The Venerable Canon Dr. Jack Lumanog, spoke recently of his excitement to hear from Dr. Stetzer. “I am blessed by Ed’s passion for Kingdom growth. It will be an inspiration to all of us whether we are serving a local parish or about to start a new one! I am always encouraged by Ed’s teaching because he understands this Anglican moment that we find ourselves in as a Province. The potential for Kingdom growth is enormous and his leadership and friendship at this moment is a blessing to our whole Church.”

Anticipating Dr. Stetzer’s discussion with us at Assembly 2012, the Anglican Church in North America conducted a Q&A session with him. Here’s what he had to say:

Q: What message do you hope to share with members and friends of the Anglican Church in North America at the upcoming 2012 Provincial Assembly?

I have three messages, I think, so there will be a variety of themes: transformation, gospel, church planting, revitalization, etc. However, the central point will be that we need to join Jesus on His mission.

When Jesus proclaimed, “As the father has sent me, so send I you” (John 20:21), he declared that we are participants in his mission. Our call is not to go do what Jesus did— died on the cross, for our sins, and in our place. But, our call is to do what Jesus said– he told us to live out the Great Commission and the Great Commandment– to share and show the love of Jesus. So, the church joins Jesus in his mission.

Q: Why does church planting matter and what is the best way to get involved?

It matters because, upon hearing the words of Jesus in the Great Commission, the disciples responded by planting churches. So, when Jesus said “go,” they thought “plant.” That’s a fascinating response and worth emulating.

Churches can get involved in a couple of ways:

1) Parenting: taking direct responsibility to “mother” a “daughter” church from their own congregation.

2) Partnering: teaming up with others in church planting by sponsoring a new church.

I think every church can be a parent or partner.

Q: What, have you noticed, are some particularly unique ways of spreading the Gospel today?

I certainly think that social media would be one.

Another we found in our research for Transformational Church is a desire to engage in ministries of mercy as a way to show the love of Christ—giving us the opportunity to share Christ.

In this research, the largest project of its kind ever done, we surveyed 7000 Protestant churches in North America and searched for characteristics of transformation. Then, we followed up with those in the top 10% and sought to discern what made them who and what they were. The answers were fascinating– and one of the factors that showed up was a passion for the ministries of mercy I mentioned. However, there was much more– seven elements to be exact– including missionary mentality, vibrant leadership, prayerful dependence, relational intentionality, worship, community, and mission.

Q: How do you think the Lord is working through you today and how can the Anglican Church in North America continue to pray for your ministries?

In addition to my full time role as President of LifeWay Research, I recently planted a church on the weekends. I am an unpaid volunteer, but also the lead pastor—so pray I can balance that out well.

Q: When you’re not writing, blogging, or giving public speeches around the country, what are some of your favorite hobbies?

I only really have four hobbies: one wife and three grade-school age daughters. 😉

I plan to pick up hobbies when they are all at college!

Q: Are you working on any projects, or books, that we can be on the look-out for?

The newest book will be out in May. It’s called The Subversive Kingdom: Living as Agents of Gospel Transformation and also have a video curriculum by the same name. I’m pretty excited about it.

If you have not already done so, there is still time to register for Assembly 2012 and hear from Dr. Stetzer and other guest speakers. As Canon Jack concluded, “All of the faithful of the Anglican Church in North America – whether we are ordained or lay – will be blessed by his teaching ministry at Assembly because we will return to our local parishes revived for mission!”

To learn more about Ed Stetzer, visit his LifeWay Research blog at http://www.edstetzer.com/.

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