No Other Gospel: TGC National Conference Reflections
This week most of our pastoral staff attended The Gospel Coalition National Conference in Indianapolis, along with 8,000 of our closest friends. The Gospel Coalition (TGC) is a network that promotes and encourages Gospel-centered resources and ministry. In an age where many conferences simply promote new fads and pragmatic approaches to ministry, TGC has stood apart in building on the foundation of the Gospel and the Scriptures as the foundation for all ministry.
2017 is the 500th year of the Reformation, and this year’s conference celebrated this monumental occasion. Here are several takeaways from the conference:
The Reformation matters.
It’s a crying shame that many believers don’t know much about Church history. If we don’t know where we’ve come from, then we won’t have any idea of where we’re going. What took place 500 years ago shapes who we are today and where we are headed 100 years from now.
It’s not about the celebrity pastor.
While the plenary sessions were not as great as in years past, I continue to be thankful that TGC includes lesser known pastors and professors to address the entire conference. While still including well-known people like Tim Keller and Kevin DeYoung, the conference featured others who preach God’s Word faithfully.
The army is larger than our platoon.
8,000 or so people attended this conference from a variety of denominations and fellowships. While we disagree on significant areas of theology and the Church, we are united in the Gospel of God’s grace alone through faith alone in the person of Christ alone for the glory of God alone built on the authority of Scripture alone.
When I attended my first TGC conference in 2009, I went with college and seminary friends. Over time we have gone our separate ways and I’ve connected with others from around the country. The joy of the conference is reuniting with these friends in the Gospel. Connecting with others was great, but these conferences also allow for our pastoral team to spend more time together. It’s fun to laugh, joke, and experience these things together as a group.
We boast in the cross.
Tim Keller preached the final message from Galatians 6 and focused on verse 14: “But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ…” Our message and ministry is not one of pragmatism, but of the Gospel of God’s grace and the cross of Christ which is offensive in our culture. If we seek to please man and simply do what makes others happy, then we will never preach the Gospel. But if our boast is the cross and we live for God alone, then we truly have what satisfies.
I’m thankful for a fun, challenging, and encouraging three days in Indianapolis. If you want to see more, check out TGC’s daily recaps. May we continue in faithful Gospel ministry with our boasting and confidence in Christ…alone.
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Zac Hess joined the pastoral staff in 2013 after serving as an intern during his seminary studies. He grew up on a farm in Ashland, OH and later met his wife, Sarah, who grew up as part of Grace Polaris Church. Zac pursued biblical studies at both Grace College and Grace Theological Seminary. He loves sports, the outdoors, reading, and a good cup of coffee. Zac and Sarah are the proud parents of Jacob and Caroline.