March 11, 2010

Honolulu 2010 Conference Recap

One of the unique benefits of being an evangelical in Hawaii is the opportunity to attend Honolulu's annual Hawaiian Islands Ministries (H.I.M.) Conference without ever driving to the airport or getting on a plane.

I can't think of another Christian conference (anywhere) that regularly assembles such a well-rounded cadre of local, national and international pastors, Bible scholars, missionaries, counselors, youth leaders, artists, activists, seminary professors, business professionals and local church practitioners. While I don't always agree with the theological particulars or methodology espoused by every presenter, the opportunity to learn from (and worship alongside) a broad range of Christian teachers representing diverse streams of the evangelical landscape is simply marvelous.

Ever since my first H.I.M. Conference in 2005, participating in this interdenominational, multicultural gathering has become one of the highlights of my year. Last week's installment, Honolulu 2010: Let Your Light Shine, was no exception. Here's a quick 'best of' according to yours truly:

Best plenary speaker (tie): Keith Battle (Why Christians Should Expect and Endure Suffering) & Nancy Beach (Toward Wonder)

Best seminar speaker: Jan Johnson (Practicing God's Presence All Day Long)

Best part of the David Crowder Band concert: Belting my lungs out to "How He loves"

Most nuanced exposition of 1 John 5:13: Voddie Baucham (who contrasted "what the gospel requires" vs. "what the gospel produces")

Most unconvincing sales pitch: Gary Hamel (who suggested we apply market-driven business models in order to "re-invent church" and bolster "the Christian brand")

Most surprising, yet eloquent defense of the old-school institutional church: Tony Campolo (who is clearly starting to get fed up with the trendiness of church bashing)

Most noticeably absent conference mainstay: Jim Miller (It didn't quite feel like a true H.I.M. conference without him there.)

Having grown accustomed to H.I.M.'s knack for drawing "big names" like Philip Yancey, Dallas Willard, Francis Chan, Jim Cymbala, Shane Claiborne, Dinesh D'Souza, John Ortberg, Gary Haugen and Richard Mouw in recent years, I didn't notice as much star power in glancing over this year's list of scheduled speakers. As the conference progressed however, I discovered plenty of depth, particularly in two key areas.

1) Local church leaders serving in Hawaii. Of the conference's 55+ speakers, I counted at least 30 who are currently ministering right here in the Aloha State. While H.I.M. has become well-known for importing flashy speakers from the mainland, this year's slate was well-stocked with excellent local teachers including Ada Lum, Jordan Seng, Steve Peich, Randy Furushima, Lisa Orimoto and Jonathan Wong among others.

2) Women leaders. Again, don't let the lack of "celebrity" names fool you because this was probably one of the the most accomplished groups of women leaders assembled by H.I.M in recent memory. Those who were fortunate enough to attend seminars by Jan Johnson, Nancy Beach, Christy Pierce and Margaret Spicer were not disappointed. Not too many evangelical parachurch conferences can say that over 20% of their speakers are women. Oh, and did I mention Ada Lum was there?

For those who attended, what will you remember as the 'best of' H.I.M. Conference 2010?


Anonymous said...

You're my new best friend.

The Common Loon said...

You were certainly missed, Jim. Podcasts ain't the same.

Chris Daida said...

"Bolter 'the Christian brand'"? What decade are we in?

Pam Chun said...

Thanks for coming, Dan, and for your thoughtful reflections! Your feedback is always welcome. =)

mary s. fisher said...

Hi Dan, I too GREATLY enjoyed HIM. Almost didn't go cause of cost, but I need it every year as a hugh spiritual shot in the arm, keep it simple Mary, it's GRACE not works, let go, let God, applaud Him, I must decrease (I'm 65 now!) and He must increase. Pride gets a big kick in the head when you are a retired Senior me mellow Lord and just sit at your feet! Mary Fisher