Elephant Room – Round 2 Thoughts

In January our team went to “The Elephant Room – Round 2” hosted by James MacDonald at the Harvest Studios in Chicago IL in January.

The Elephant Room is unlike any conference I have ever attended. Pastors at the Elephant Room were sat down to hash out controversial matters live and unscripted on camera. It was unique, controversial, awesome, and tons of fun!

Here are some random Notes via each session:

“Come Together,” Jack Graham and T.D. Jakes, moderated by Mark Driscoll

Story: Two of the largest churches in America, both in Dallas, one of America’s largest cities—one church is almost 100 percent black, the other almost 100 percent white. Is this a problem? What factors, beyond local diversity, are widening this divide? What causes such obvious segregating of the races? In what ways does being a minority worshiper hinder worship and service in the church? What churches are achieving success at breaking down these walls, and how? What do you see the other pastor doing better than your church does it?


  • Getting together with like minded churches is still important.
  • SBC (Southern Baptist Convention) was moving left (liberal) and went back to being right (conservative) in churches, schools, colleges and seminaries. That’s an impressive change.
  • Focus for the SBC is now on church planting and assisting churches.
  • Acts 29 is a “cross generational” movement. That needs to be defined more.
  • More people are moving to a dual affiliation when it comes to denominations.
  • Denominations are like an Oldsmobile – “nobody’s buying it”.
  • Maintaining movement focuses on local churches.
  • Churches often move through the following four stages: Man, movement, monument, museum. Which one is your church at?
  • There has to be an honor for the past to impact the future.
  • Are you a kingdom builder or an empire builder?
  • Characters and caliber of the leader matter in every setting, all the time.

“Can’t Buy Me Love,” Steven Furtick and Crawford Loritts, moderated by James MacDonald

Story: What elements must accompany a faithful presentation of the gospel? What can a pastor do to ensure that others in his ministry are presenting the gospel in all its fullness? What are some ways you have seen decisions for Christ effectively acknowledged? What responsibilities does the preacher have to lead people in a public response to the gospel? When have we oversimplified or made the gospel formulaic? When have we made the gospel too complicated, and demanded more in our evangelism than the Scriptures do?


  • The gospel is the most precious message on earth.
  • The results do not define the theology.
  • The content of the message is paired with the approach.
  • There is not a broad definition of the gospel that stems across denominations.
  • 1 corithians 13:3-11 illustrates the 4 elements of the gospel.
  • We forget the urgency of the gospel – hell is forever!
  • We must point people to Jesus and let Him do the work.
  • Preaching is truth communicated through personality.

“Hard Day’s Night,” Wayne Cordeiro and James MacDonald, moderated by Mark Driscoll

Story: How can a pastor effectively manage the pressures of ministry? What are the warning signs for burnout? What do you see pastors doing today that is most detrimental to their marriage and children? What about pastors who are unmarried? What single action is most healing to your emotional health in ministry—and what action is most damaging? How does the care of your own soul affect the relationships that matter most? PERSONAL NOTE: This was the best session of the day!


  • That which fuels you on the inside can also destroy you.
  • 50% of leadership is self management.
  • You capability is not equal to your ability.
  • The devil doesn’t care which side of the boat you go off as long as you go off.
  • Find out what God calls YOU to do.
  • We cannot forget what we are learning now!
  • Stop asking what are you do and start asking how are you doing.

“Ticket to Ride,”Mark Driscoll and T.D. Jakes, moderated by James MacDonald

Story: What are the “majors” of Christian doctrine that cannot be diluted or denied for a person to be a Christian? How can we help one another move beyond the bare minimum of accepted belief, to a pursuit of robust, soul-satisfying, biblical substance? How should we relate to those who do not yet embrace the benefit and priority of sound biblical doctrine? Is there a difference between a person in error and a wolf in sheep’s clothing? What benefits derive from keeping the majors on a separate list and not letting the ‘minors’ divide us? Is it possible to love the truth without compromise and still work passionately for unity?


  • Sex is either gross, from God, or a gift.

“With a Little Help from My Friends,” Jack Graham and Mark Driscoll, moderated by James MacDonald

Story: Is there a future for denominations? Will networks simply replace them, or will they reinvent themselves? What can denominations offer that networks of churches cannot? Describe the health of world missions and missionaries as you see them serving around the globe. Is the model of sending missionaries through a mission agency still effective? Or is church planting through healthy churches the way to go? Is there a lack of accountability plaguing most missionaries? How can that be changed? How does para-church help or hinder the local church in world missions?


  • Your church can be no more integrated than your life.
  • The lack of courage is apauling in the local church.
  • There needs to be something diverse about your Christianity.

“Help,” Wayne Cordeiro and Crawford Loritts, moderated by James MacDonald

Story: What do you do when a staff member fails morally? How bad is bad enough for dismissal? What responsibilities does the church continue to have to the former staff member? What if the failure involves a higher-profile pastor in your area or circle of influence? Is it ever acceptable to name a fallen pastor publicly? Can a fallen pastor re-qualify and be restored? In the same church? How soon is too soon? What safeguards can be established to help those who sincerely desire to remain faithful?


  • Galatians 6 is the attitude, Matthew 18 is the approach.
  • When there is a sin, there is an issue.
  • 2  Corinthians 7 – If you are more concerned about your reputation than the problem there is no repentance.
  • Repentance does not care about reputation.
  • It’s better to confess than to admit.



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