During this past reading break, from Wednesday to Saturday, representatives from several churches gathered at CTS to take part in the church Renewal Lab. The Renewal Lab was also available for seminary students to either take as a class or to audit. Churches involved in the lab sent representatives for ten key areas of church ministry, including worship, youth, prayer, and discipleship. The teaching team at the lab consisted of Scott Vander Ploeg, Carl Bosma, Larry Doornbos, Keith Doornbos, and Kevin Adams. The main theme of this lab was “Tell”, and the focus was the centrality of telling the gospel in our congregations. We reflected together about how to make the gospel central to church life, how we ourselves can tell the gospel story, and how important it is to have gospel-centered sermons. Kevin Adams, who is a church planter, pastor, and author working in Granite Springs, CA, spent Friday teaching and encouraging us. His evening message, he exhorted us to “not be afraid” as we share the gospel, appealing to Jesus’ calling of his first disciples in Luke 5. The Renewal Lab proved to be a productive and encouraging conference that gave congregation leaders and members a chance to both be inspired by God’s work and to think strategically about how to improve and expand their ministry in their own churches and communities. The next lab, with a focus on “Form”, will take place in January.

By: Daniel J. DeVries