by Dudley C. Rutherford
Imagine God using the faithful to change the world in an extraordinary way—just as he did when his Spirit was unleashed upon the first century church, as described so vividly in the book of Acts. Imagine if thousands of churches came together today and God unleashed his Spirit on the world through them. You, your family, and your church can be a part of such an historical event at the North American Christian Convention in Cincinnati, Ohio, July 5-8, 2011. Whether you are in the ministry, nurturing a godly home, or living out your witness for Christ, this annual convention is a unique gathering for thousands of believers to be refreshed, encouraged, and challenged like never before.
I’ve been attending the NACC for over 40 years and it is my honor to serve as the president of the 2011 convention. I invite you to come and learn practical ways to ensure your impact for the kingdom of God mirrors that of the first-century Christians—believers who were united in mind and heart (Acts 2:44; 4:32), who boldly proclaimed the gospel (v. 33), persevered despite threats, floggings, and imprisonment (v. 18; 5:40, 41), and increased in numbers that astounded those around them (2:41; 4:4; 5:14). Like these early disciples, you can be part of a Christ-centered and Holy Spirit-empowered movement that sweeps across the land. If God used a dozen ordinary, unschooled believers to convert thousands with the power of his Spirit, imagine what he could do with thousands of churches coming together in the name of Jesus Christ! This is a life-changing opportunity for you to grow in a way you never imagined, and return home a world-changer.
A Dynamic Theme
Unleashed, the theme of this year’s convention, comes from my heart’s desire to encourage the church in America to uncover and recapture the foundational principles of the church in the first century. We’ve planned nine different main sessions that take us through the book of Acts, starting with chapters 1 and 2 where God unleashed his Spirit upon the early believers. The rest of the book, starting with chapter 3, details how God then unleashed the church upon the world. By the time we get to Acts 17:6, the church is accused of turning the world upside down (New King James Version).
These first-century believers knew that their role in taking the good news to the four corners of the earth, as the Lord commissioned in Acts 1:8, was critical to reaching souls for eternity. Your role is just as critical today, to passionately share what you know about your Savior and what you have experienced since you met him. Despite cultural pressure to keep quiet, conform, or be tolerant, Jesus calls us to be the salt of the earth, the light of the world, and a city set on a hill that cannot be hidden (Matthew 5:14). In short, we are called to be noticed. We pray that through the 2011 NACC God’s power will be unleashed on you to make an impact right where he has placed you.
It is easy to grow weary as we try to live out our faith, face opposition, and defend our beliefs. It is a challenge to raise children of faith in a world that makes sin attractive and appealing at every turn. Many Christians today are tired; maybe you are one of them. Come and be refreshed under the teaching of godly men and women who have been preparing to encourage you in your walk and give you a new vision of how to be used to reach as many as you can in your sphere of influence. Instead of the world influencing the church, the church should be influencing the world. Christians need to be reminded of their heritage and know that it is still relevant in the world today.
A Dynamic Schedule
This year’s convention committee has worked tirelessly to bring you a line-up of dynamic teachers to inspire you, including Francis Chan, sought-after speaker and author of the best-selling book, Crazy Love; Miles McPherson, former NFL player, minister of the Rock Church in San Diego, and author of Do Something; Anita Renfroe, comedienne and featured speaker at Women of Faith conferences; and Jeff Walling, one of the most gifted speakers in America. In morning, afternoon, and evening sessions believers can gather, learn, and worship with special music. You will also have the opportunity to choose from Bible studies and workshops with topics such as Web design for your ministry, finance, marriage, parenting, and more.
There is something for the entire family at this year’s event, which makes the NACC unique. For your children or the young people in your church, there are conventions within the convention with a Jesus-focused curriculum: a children’s convention for birth through age 12, a student convention for ages 13 through high school, and a college fair. Also on the agenda is an awesome women’s conference as well as not-to-be-missed luncheons geared specifically toward women and seniors. If you are on your own, come for the fellowship and leave with new friends!
A Dynamic Location
This year’s host city, Cincinnati, is a great destination city in its own right. If you are able to extend your time away, take in some of the city’s best attractions. The Creation Museum is a state-of-the-art museum devoted to bringing the pages of the Bible to life. The Cincinnati Zoo was voted one of the top zoos in the nation by Zagat Survey and one of the Top 10 Best Zoos for Kids by Parents magazine. The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center celebrates the inspirational journey from slavery to freedom. In nearby Mason, Ohio you can enjoy Kings Island Amusement Park with 80 world-class rides and attractions. Outlet shopping is available nearby. Sports enthusiasts can visit Great American Ball Park, home to the Cincinnati Reds, or Paul Brown Stadium, home to the Cincinnati Bengals. If you prefer something more interactive, the World of Sports offers basketball, miniature golf, racquetball, and an 18-hole executive golf course. To round out the activities before returning home, you can cruise along the beautiful Ohio River on the city’s premiere riverboat cruise line.
There is so much awaiting you in Cincinnati this summer! I have been praying for two years that you will have the opportunity to experience the growth God has already planned for you at the 2011 North American Christian Convention. Jesus said to his disciples, “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20, NKJV). The Lord will be there waiting for you at the NACC, and I am convinced his Spirit will be unleashed upon all of us as we seek to turn the world upside down for his glory!
Dudley C. Rutherford is the senior minister of Shepherd of the Hills Church in Porter Ranch, California and president of the 2011 North American Christian Convention.