Yesterday, Pepperdine University invited a group of Southern California ministers to a lunch and roundtable discussion of the Pepperdine Bible Lectures. I know about half of you who read this blog aren’t from Churches of Christ. You should know the Pepperdine Bible Lectures (which take place every May on Pepperdine’s beautiful Malibu campus) is the closest thing Churches of Christ have to an annual gathering. You should also know that even if you aren’t part of that heritage, it’s an amazing event that I commend to you highly.

The gathering began with a lot of handshaking and greeting as you might expect. We then grazed on lunch, and listened to some of the good things Pepperdine is doing (the Boone Center for the Family, the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, etc.) The gathering was well attended and I thought Mike Cope’s (Mike is the newly appointed Director of the Bible Lectures) opening talk about life in ministry and the role the Bible Lectures played in his own life was terrific. It helped everyone get to know him better, and paved the way for us to share the same with one another.

From there, we simply shared ideas about the PBL…those things that have been swimming around in some of our heads for some time. A lot of the ideas centered on preserving the PBL’s core and innovating around the edges–though there was a some variety in what people viewed as the “core.” To me, it’s a spiritual oasis for Christians–especially those in church contexts that lack strong preaching, vibrant worship, or a sense of spiritual vitality. It’s also a family reunion of sorts–in the best sense. For me, that’s the core. Innovating around the edges will be welcomed by most.

President Andy Benton (present for the afternoon as well), Rick Gibson, and Mike all did a great job of listening genuinely–and I have no doubt they’ll sift through the ideas well. If you have some thoughts, I’m sure they will give them a sincere listen. Leading on from the legacy of Jerry Rushford is a substantial undertaking, but I really believe it will happen through the ministry of Rick Gibson and Mike Cope.

If you are interested in this year’s Pepperdine Bible Lectures, you can find more information here.