Benny Pfahlert attended the A29 Oz Conference

And wrote up a review, in typical Pfahlert style. Here's some highlights (I quote):

  • They spent a lot of time talking about 'The Message,' or what Acts 29 thought was 'the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.' I was very impressed and could see that they are Grace Alone, Faith Alone, Christ Alone and Scriptures Alone people. They understood and clearly articulated what was the difference between THE Gospel and the FRUITS of the Gospel. I was very encouraged.
  • The Acts 29 blokes were earthy, tough, straight talkers.
  • Acts29 are unashamedly complementarian. Thank the Lord for the 'man up' message of these brothers. Too many organisations have custard in the spine on this issue which results in less Australian blokes reached in the long haul.
  • They're on about the great commission primarily. They see making disciples as the primary activity, that, when blessed by God, gives birth secondarily to a church, i.e. a group of believers. They're after conversion growth not transfer growth.
  • I got no hint of them having Pentecostal or Charismatic theology, in fact, they considered anything even remotely "gospel plus" as anathema. They spoke vigorously against prosperity teaching and wordless incarnational evangelism. They were very serious about reaching out without selling out.
  • American generosity. Acts 29 said repeatedly, "We have come to serve." I believe them. They don't want "Acts 29" badged churches. They genuinely want to share their tools and resources.
Here are some of his questions:
  • There was not a lot of expository preaching; this is understandable as most talks were topical, but when there was a reasonably long section to deal with e.g. 1 Peter 5:1-5, the speaker skipped across it. Not a big deal, but a difference I noted in comparison to my heritage.
  • They spoke repeatedly about contextualization i.e. taking time to be truly missional... Ironically I did not feel that the Acts 29 leaders did this with regards to working out what was the best way to recruit and train church planters in Australia.
  • Dave Fandy used the word "calling" erroneously to refer to being called by God to plant a church.... Half the world's Christians use the word "Calling" erroneously, but I raise it because it surprised me. Acts 29 were so careful with their use of language, and if there's a word you want to use carefully in ministry recruitment, it is the word "calling."
  • Speaker choice. It is very curious to me that the Australian church planters put on the ticket at the conference were Steve Chong (Kirkplace Presbyterian Church, Sydney) and Will Henderson (Engage City Church, Brisbane). These two men were godly, humble saints, but neither of them have had much experience in church planting (nor claimed to be experts). Steve began in January 08 and Will's church launched on 15th Nov 09. I would have liked to have heard from one of the nations best practitioners who was long in the tooth.
  • Acts 29 do not understand ministry apprenticeships nor the role they've played in Australian church history. When I explained MTS Apprenticeships to both the International Director and the Aus/NZ Director, it was like someone pressed 'pause' on their screen savers (their faces). When I finished my 60 second description of the MTS recruiting strategy (MTS Challenge à MTS Apprenticeship à theological education à MTS Trainer), they simply got back onto talking about what they do in the States. It was like two ships in the night.
I think the full thing should be appearing on Sola Panel sometime soon.