London Men’s Convention 2011

‘We’ve got him’ were the words that brought to fruition ‘Red Dawn’; the covert operation to apprehend Saddam Hussein in 2003.

I have no idea whether Stephen Fletcher, omnicompetent administrator of the London Men’s Convention, shouted  something similar when he recently received the confirmatory e-mail from Mark Driscoll. But he’d have been forgiven for whooping in celebration! It’s now official, Mark Driscoll is coming to London. And he’s playing live in the Royal Albert Hall for the benefit of the 2011 London Men’s Convention. This is very good news. And I hope that it’ll be received as such.

I realise that Mark Driscoll is not everyone’s cup of tea; some don’t approve of his risqué, unconventional and abrasive style even if they stand with him on the substance of his ministry. But here’s a Reformed guy, preaching the gospel, stimulating ministry and mission, especially amongst the emerging generation, and he’s doing it for the glory of Christ. What’s not to give thanks for? He’s been in London in a virtual sense for a while, now he’ll be here physically. It’ll be good to welcome him.

It would be hard to overstate his influence on the evangelical scene over the last five years. I first came across him through a series of MP3s. Then I went on holiday with ‘Confessions of a Reformission Rev’ and ‘Radical Reformission’. I was gripped. Along with the other Co-Mission senior staff we heard him speak at the Dwell Conference in New York along with Tim Keller and others. And after that came more books; ‘Vintage Jesus’, ‘Vintage Church’, ‘Death by Love’ and so on. That’s as far as I’ve got. He fires me up for mission. He helps me get back in the game on ministry. And on the subject of family and mission he should be electric.

In addition to Mark, we’ve also got Rico Tice, the public face and driving force of Christianity Explored. Now married and a recent father, Rico is well known and well loved by all at the Men’s Convention. And to be honest, it wouldn’t feel right not to have him. But that’s not why we ask him. We ask him because he has this disarming way of getting under our skin and getting to the heart of the issue that he’s been asked to address. I love hearing him evangelistically. But we usually only ever hear him doing that. This year he’s teaching the scriptures and helping believers understand the implications of the gospel. And so we’ve got him on being faithful at church. And for oen who’s based his ministry around serving Christ in the local church setting he’s going to be worth hearing.

But I’m also hugely looking forward to hearing Marcus Nodder. I may even be there to welcome him to the stage. I think the plan is that with Wanyeki, I’m compering. Be very afraid! But Marcus and I were at Oak Hill Theological College together and he was one of the finest preachers of our cohort. (For the record I’d put Daf and Costa in the mix as well!) I’ve listened to Marcus a few times since then when I’ve downloaded stuff from St Peter’s Barge. I’ve enjoyed some of the series he’s done in the Minor Prophets. What I like about having Marcus at the Men’s Convention is that he’s doing the hard yards’ week in and week out. There’s nothing showy or spectacular about him or his ministry. But it’s no less signifiacnt for that. He regularly serves up top drawer Bible teaching even if it’s not as widely known as Mark’s. Mark may fire us up and shake us up with some provocative things. But Marcus will build us up. He’ll be helping us think though how we can be faithful in the workplace. And he’s well placed to comment on those things since he ministers in Canary Wharf.

The speaker line up is fantastic. And we’re back in the Albert Hall. Book early and bring your friends. This year could be memorable.

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