March 29, 2012 by C.J. Mahaney
Categories: Conferences | Interviews
In an earlier post I introduced you to Matt Chandler, who is speaking at Next 2012 on “The Church and Culture.” (Tomorrow is the last day to get a discounted registration, by the way.) Today I want to share with you a similar interview I did with Kevin DeYoung. Kevin is a close friend, a fine pastor, and one of my favorite authors. He is also one of the brightest and most discerning guys I know. He happens to be a Michigan State fan, and although I think the Big 10 is overrated we both hate Duke basketball and that only strengthens our friendship.
Kevin is also no stranger to the Next conference—he has spoken there every year since 2009. Each of his messages have been exceptional and I expect this year’s (on “The Church and Relationships” and “The Church and Holiness”) will be no different. Below are some questions I asked Kevin that relate to the theme of the church, and his two topics at Next 2012 in particular. And if you want to get to know Kevin even better, you can listen to his previous conference messages.
When did the local church become important to you and why?
I can’t think of a time when the local church wasn’t important in my life. I was baptized as an infant and have been at church almost every Sunday of my life, usually two times on Sunday. I don’t say this to boast, but to show that I grew up in a family where the importance of church was a given. Church is where we sang, worshiped, heard sermons, prayed, and made friends. It’s always been at the center of my life. I hope I can pass on the same legacy to my children.
Share just one Scripture passage that has impacted your understanding of the church.
In Ephesians 1:22-23 Paul says the church is “the fullness of him who fills all in all.” Think about that. God fills all in all, and yet the church is the fullest fullness of our all-filling God. That means the church must be incredibly special and important to God.
You're talking about "The Church and Relationships: How not to be a stupid friend." What's a stupid friend?
A stupid friend is a fool as Proverbs understands a fool. If you want to find out if you are a stupid friend, come to the conference.
What are some of the more common misconceptions people have about relationships in the church?
I can think of two very common misconceptions. One is to think that relationships are as easy as joining a small group and being in love with the idea of community. Wrong and wrong. Relationships are painful and always disappointing. The other misconception is really a missed opportunity. Churches talk a lot about marriage and parenting. There are classes on both and seminars and conferences and retreats and books aplenty. But we don’t offer much on friendship. We need to do a better job helping Christians with all of their relationships.
You're also speaking on "The Church and Holiness." You have a book on the topic coming out in the fall. Why is this an important topic to you?
It is important because I want to grow in holiness and because I fear that some “gospel-centered” Christians could stand to be “godliness-centered” as well.
How should we understand the world "holiness?"
Most simply, holiness is God-likeness. We are to be holy because he is holy.