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Today in Chicago, seven pastors gathered together to participate in blunt conversations about their different approaches to ministry. No keynotes. No canned messages. These are “the conversations you never thought you’d hear.” Audio and video is not yet available, but there have been several people live-blogging the event.

Luke MacDonald provides some general observations. Here is James MacDonald’s take.

Below are quick rundowns of each session. I’ll be updating this page as more become available. At the bottom, I’ve included my 12 favorite tweets from the #elephantroom Twitter feed.

Session 1: Preaching to Build the Attendance vs. Preaching to Build the Attendees
- Matt Chandler & Steven Furtick
Summary & Quotes from Chris Vacher and Jake Johnson

Session 2: Culture in the Church vs. Church in the Culture
- Mark Driscoll & Perry Noble
Summary & Quotes from Chris Vacher and Jake Johnson

Session 3: Compassion Amplifies the Gospel vs. Compassion Distorts the Gospel
- Greg Laurie & David Platt
Summary & Quotes from Chris Vacher and Jake Johnson

Session 4: Unity: Can’t We All Get Along? vs. Discernment: My Way or the Highway
- Steven Furtick & James MacDonald
Summary & Quotes from Chris Vacher and Jake Johnson

Session 5: Multi-Site: Personality Cult vs. God’s Greater Glory
- Perry Noble & Matt Chandler
Summary and Quotes from Chris Vacher and Jake Johnson

Session 6: Money?
- David Platt & James MacDonald
Summary and Quotes from Jake Johnson

Session 7: Love the Gospel vs. Share the Gospel
- Greg Laurie & Mark Driscoll
Summary and Quotes from Chris Vacher and Jake Johnson

Conclusion: Lightning Roundtable
Summary and Quotes from Jake Johnson


12. James MacDonald: Churches have “selfish shepherds, shallow services, and starving sheep.”

11. Matt Chandler: “Depth is not the enemy of conversion.”

10. Steven Furtick: ”It’s easy to say, “shoot the wolf” until people start calling you the wolf.”

9. People are fake online, not more honest. We decided it doesn’t work. - Perry Noble on internet campus churches

8. James MacDonald: “God’s plan A is humility, God’s plan B is humiliation….to be proud is to pick a fight with God.”

7. David Platt: ”When your wages rise, don’t raise your standard of living, raise your standard of giving.”

6. DashHouse: Loving #elephantroom but I’m very uncomfortable with our fascination with celebrity pastors

5. Mark Driscoll: “It’s a Shepherd’s job to be unloving towards the wolves, OUT OF LOVE for the sheep.”

4. James MacDonald: “If you want only enough of Christ to save yourself, then you probably don’t have enough to do even that.”

3. Greg Laurie: If a church doesnt evangelize, it will fossilize.

2. David Platt: ”I think the best way to reach people is to exalt the glory of God.”

1. Mark Driscoll to Steve Furtick: “You like listening to Piper and Osteen? That’s like saying I’m a meat eating vegetarian.”

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17 thoughts on “Live-Blog Notes from The Elephant Room Conference”

  1. Dave says:

    This sounds awesome! Any chance at audio links?

  2. Seth says:

    This conference could spawn another chapter in your Counterfeit Gospels… the “rock start” gospel…

  3. Chris says:

    Hey Trevin – thanks for the links to my notes. The event was great – solid content, great presentation, engaging style. I loved it.

    Not uptight about details – Vacher, not Vachar :)

  4. Chris Carr says:

    Good stuff – I had the privilege of being at the live campus. Best one-day conference I have attended.

    One note — the humility/humiliation (#8) quote was by Driscoll not MacDonald.

  5. kylegoen says:

    Thanks for the info and the links. Good to be able to read and keep up with this from another country.

  6. Zack says:

    Thanks for this.

    Anybody know whether they will be made available for download?

  7. I really hope that after all the dates are done, they would release some links of audio at least. A lot of interesting dialogues going on.

  8. Patrick says:

    My one concern about such a conference is that the presence and kindness of faithful pastors like Chandler, Laurie and Platt might seem to lend credibility to men like Furtick and Noble.

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Trevin Wax

​Trevin Wax is Bible and Reference Publisher at LifeWay Christian Resources and managing editor of The Gospel Project. You can follow him on Twitter or receive blog posts via email. Click here for Trevin’s full bio.

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