Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Engage 09

Last weekend I went away with a bunch of good mates to Engage 09 in Katoomba. This year was a lot smaller than last year, due to Engage being run over two weekends. This gave the conference a smaller more relaxed feel, and it also made it easier to get good seats. The two speakers were Matt Chandler and William Taylor. The talks this year also felt shorter and this time round each speaker got to give the same amount of talks (three each).

Matt Chandler was a passionate and funny speaker. I did get the feeling that he was assigned his passages and the titles as he kinda didn't stick to the title or the passage. His first talk was called "Lead with humility" with the text of Mark 10:32-45, but pretty much he spoke on Colossians 1:15-23 (and Ephesians 2) and talked about how the Gospel is not about us, it is about Jesus. We are saved from sin to the Gospel. We are really just extras in a movie that is all about Jesus.

His second talk was called "Love with fidelity" with the text of Mark 10:1-12. But instead of talking about divorce he went to Genesis 2 and 3 and talked about how men are to be men and need to grow up and take responsibility. He stressed marriage and talked about not settling for a non-Christian spouse. Of all the talks, I think this one was the most talked about. He did mention that there were more things he wanted to say, but he didn't have enough time.

The last talk of the event (titled "Give with generosity") was Chandlers and he talk on Mark 10:13-31 and how we are the most entertained generation ever and yet we are still bored; how most things we own will be at the dump in 10 years time and how as Christians we are actually a part of something bigger than ourselves. The Gospel should impact us in every part of our lives and we should never think to barter with God and create our own religion, because that will not work and we will find out we are not a good God.

William Taylor is from the heart of London where 350,000 people commute every day to the square kilometer around his old church. He deals with professionals and was a great choice for an event that is aimed at young workers. William kept all his talks within the Gospel of John and challenged us to think about how we can live as Christians in the work place. His main key verse for all three talks was John 5:24. His first talk was titled "Orientated to Work" and was about what on Earth God is doing. He said that Jesus does the work of God and God is giving life and judging. He also said that Jesus' work is not political, material and not just about charitable works or miraculous signs.

His middle talk was called "Orientate to the World" on John 8:31-47. We saw that Jesus saw the world as dead and condemned, unable to help themselves, blind and in darkness, in slavery and has the devil as for a father. This was a sobering view of total depravity. William compared this view to what the world thinks about itself. Pretty much what you or the world thinks about Jesus is what they think about God. The good news is that its God's mission to bring life and without that we are all dead.

The last talk Taylor gave was titled "Orientated to the Word" from John 5:1-17. He argued that the Word of God is the Spirit of God who is in the business of giving life. Jesus' words healed a cripple and Jesus even said that what he spoke was spirit filled and that whoever hears his word will have eternal life.

The whole conference was good. I would have liked Chandler to have talked longer, as he was a little bit scattered. But it had a good relaxed feel, with multiple options of things to do on the Saturday night. (I went to a Q&A with William Taylor where he gave some good practical advice about being a Christian in the workplace). The whole conference was well suited to 20-30 something workers.

Because the event was run by KCC you will have to buy the talks for $2 (I'm unsure which of the two weekends the talks come from). I will be getting them as one of the guys we were staying with got sick on Saturday and spent that day in bed and so missed out.


  1. Why should it matter from where in the bible someone speaks? Just coz the booklet says one passage, can God not use the whole bible to convict, challenge, change? U speak nothing of how u were affected in this regard. Merely an intellectual rundown. I'd've preferred a personal glimpse of how Jesus is working on your heart.

  2. Hi mfunksta,

    Thanks for posting on my blog. It doesn't matter where from the bible someone speaks, it just that I felt there was a disconnect between Chandler titles and what the sessions were to be about. I though that showed some disconnected between the communication between the speaker and the organisers. It was a minor thing as what Chandler said was great. eg With a session about leading with humility we got a message about the gospel. You really can't complain about that.

    You have also pointed out what must be a character flaw of mine because I only gave an intellectual rundown of the events that transpired. I think that might be how I am wired. Hopefully not hard wired, so in future I can be more reflective.

    I think you would of liked the people I went away with as the conference provoked great discussion between us about the use of the bible and why when we review a sermon some talk about the method of the talk rather than the message of the talk.