Why I’m Excited for SOLA Conference 2019
Joshua Lim | DECEMBER 27, 2018 | 5 MIN READ
The theme for SOLA Conference 2019 is “The Prevailing Church”. After reading that, you may be thinking, “A conference about the church? Thanks, but no thanks.” And I get it.
Our typical church experiences can feel so mundane and repetitive. We say hi to the same people, sit, sing, and listen in the same seats, maybe join a small group, confess the same sins, serve here and there, get bored, leave, and check out a new church. Rinse and repeat.
As a pastor, I experience the dullness too.
But that feeling is also why I am looking forward to SOLA 2019. The driving idea behind the conference theme is that the Church is being built and sustained by Jesus, no matter how strong the external cultural pressure or how fierce the internal struggles from within.
As the light of the world, God's Church will continue to be the hope of the world, reflecting Jesus who entered the world. Those bold words may seem to contradict our typical church experience. But could it be that our subjective feelings towards the Church don’t match up to the objective reality that is the Church?
Here are three truths about the Church that make me excited for SOLA 2019.
1. The Church is the blood-bought Bride of Christ
Jesus, the eternal Son of God, took on humanity and gave up His life on the cross. So we must ask: What compelled Jesus to go to the cross to bear the righteous wrath of God that was poured out over sin (Mark 10:38; cf. Psalm 75:8)? He wanted to redeem the Church as His bride (Ephesians 5:25-27).
So often, we view the Church as an embarrassment rather than the beautiful, blood-bought bride she actually is. It shows in the way we complain and criticize, and then withhold our commitment and care to make the necessary changes.
But despite all the Church’s shortcomings and flaws, we should see the inestimable worth of the Church in the inexpressible cost of the cross. I am hopeful that SOLA 2019 will help us to renew our vision to see the Church as Jesus sees the Church.
2. The Church is made up of the universal people of God
The Church is not just made up of God’s people gathered together in one building. Rather, it is made up of people from all over the world (Revelation 5:9-10). We stand together with fellow brothers and sisters in China and Tunisia and Peru.
Furthermore, the Church is not just made up of people who are alive right now, but it is also made up of all Christians past, present, and future (Hebrews 12:1). We stand in a long line of faithful brothers and sisters who have gone before us. We hold company with the Apostle Paul. St. Augustine, and Corrie ten Boom. Finally, we look forward to many other brothers and sisters who will come after us.
With every SOLA Conference, I am encouraged to see many different local churches gathering together as the people of God. I am hopeful that SOLA 2019 will grow our love not just for our own local churches, but for all local churches striving to love God and his people.
3. The Church has been entrusted with the Gospel
As the Church is made up of people who have received the life-saving message of the Gospel, the Church has also been entrusted with preserving and passing along that same Gospel (2 Timothy 1:14).
Whether or not the Gospel gets into the hands of the next generation will largely be impacted by whether or not we faithfully preserve and courageously pass along the Gospel. It’s on us.
And that’s a huge responsibility that we cannot neglect. Why? Because it only takes one generation for the Gospel to be lost (Judges 2:8-10). As members of the Church’s emerging generation, we now have the great privilege of being faithful stewards of the Gospel.
The Christians that have come before us have done their part, and now it is our turn. I am hopeful that we will hear the renewed call to be good stewards of the Gospel as the Church’s emerging generation at SOLA 2019.
Join the Church
My prayer is that SOLA 2019 will elevate our subjective feelings towards the Church to better match the objective reality that is the Church and its mission. And in doing so, I hope that the result would be healthier local churches representing Christ well for God’s glory. See you (and your local church) there!
Joshua Lim serves as a pastor at OMC: Family Chapel in Los Angeles, CA.