Meditations on Kainos 2015

It’s a wrap.  Our Kainos15 conference is over, and a few days later I’m reflective over the amazing time we had together.  

Kainos began for very pragmatic reasons.  As Fellowship Memphis (the church I was leading at the time) was becoming more and more visible as a multiethnic church, I found myself having the same conversations with young leaders eager to learn principles on how to plant a multiethnic church.  Finally, I said we have to get everyone in the room together, and Kainos14 was our first shot at it.  

Now one year later, with twice as many people, we convened at the Canon Center in downtown Memphis for a jam packed forty-eight hours.  When it was over I was ambushed by many telling me that next year they were going to bring more people.  Next year?  Really?  We’ll see…I need to catch my breath.

Some thoughts on this conference in no particular order:

1. The Worship was Christ-exalting and prepared our hearts to receive what the Lord had for us.  Shout out to Rick Trotter, Darnell Harris and the worship teams for their labor.  Through their efforts, Christ was lifted up, and the people caught a vision for what multiethnic worship could be.

2. The speakers.  Wow…the speakers!  I won’t give an itemized account for how God used each one (and that he did), but I found, in general, several things helpful.  First, the gender and ethnic diversity were spot on.  To hear from men and women, African American, Anglo, Asian and Latino was beyond helpful, it was essential to the purpose of our conference.  Second, the combination of academicians, pastors and practitioners made for a potent mix.  To have pastors like Derwin Gray, Matt Chandler, Eric Mason and Gabriel Salguero (among others), sandwiched between leading voices in the academy like Michael Emerson, Korie Edwards and Soong Chan Rah made for a rich tapestry of prophetic edge and rich statistical analysis (though the professors also waxed prophetic at certain points).  Finally, for such a tight subject matter as race, speakers didn’t come across as redundant.  For example, my father didn’t talk so much about race as he did the cardinal virtue of love, and how that is to govern our relations with one another.

3. The focused tracks for church leadership, non-profits and worship leaders was a new emphasis this year.  These smaller, concentrated environments were rich breeding grounds for the attendees to dialog and try to wrap their arms around the concepts being taught.  

Through it all I felt a wonderful move of the Spirit of God. In one session I sat in the balcony.  Tears welled up in my eyes as I witnessed God do, “exceeding and abundantly more than I could ask or imagine”. God is good.  

I know you’re wondering what’s next?  As I write, we are working on a major meeting to convene key leaders in the multiethnic movement to dream together and discern how to take Kainos to the next level.  Stay tuned for more details, and hope you can join us next time!