CG 2017 Recap

On October 13th, Made to Flourish hosted a catalytic event called cg2017. Nearly 1,000 pastors and congregational leaders gathered together across 20 different locations to participate in a conversation about the role of the local church in pursuing the common good. Each location heard from a compelling slate of national speakers as well as local practitioners who are living out these ideas in concrete ways. Join us as we look back at this exciting event.

Tom Nelson, President of Made to Flourish, started the conference by speaking about “Flourishing Leaders in the Church.” We live at a time when many people are confused about what a meaningful life is and how it is found. Unintentionally, the local church may have contributed to the cultural confusion about how meaning is found. The solution is for the local church to live into its grand purpose and design, forming leaders with integrity of heart and skillful hands by creating a culture of apprenticeship and empowerment.

Amy Sherman helped the crowd at cg2017 consider the role of the church scattered throughout the week, leading the conversation about “Flourishing Workers in the Workplace.” Flourishing workers understand their work in light of God’s work in the world. They understand they are part of a bigger story, participating in God’s renewal of all things. They also cultivate habits that form them spiritually–not merely through personal piety, but by living out the public habits of Jesus. After Amy’s address, a panel from the Surge school in Phoenix shared how these ideas could shape the everyday working lives of people–from entrepreneurs to painters to nurses to janitors.

Pens were writing feverishly as Andy Crouch took the stage to address “Flourishing Culture in the City.”  He shaped the conversation around the modern cultural shift in three major centers of power: Wealth moved from land to money; Work moved from bodies to engines, and Knowledge moved from Wisdom to Information.  These cultural shifts resulted in widespread diminishing of relationship, personhood, and flourishing.   But these shifts are not without precedent, and we are not without hope.  The same cultural realities emerged in ancient Rome, into which the church was born.  Could it be that the local church is the only viable answer to the isolation, vulnerability, and disintegration we feel so palpably today?

Each of our 20 locations also featured local talks delivered by practitioners in each city.  These talks played a crucial role in translating ideas into practical realities.  This framework was central to the goal of cg2017 to stir the imagination for how the church could pursue the common good in each unique local context.  The world is not changed by good ideas, but by people (with God’s help through the power of his Spirit) living out those ideas.