Pastor David Whiting of Northridge Church, Rochester, N.Y.

ROCHESTER, N.Y.—More than 200 pastors and leaders attended the “16:5 Conference” at Northridge, a Baptist church in Rochester. Fifty churches from six states were represented.

David Whiting, lead pastor at Northridge, explains the philosophy behind the 16:5 Conference, the first of what will become an annual event. “Acts 16:5 says, ‘So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.’ Many churches seem to choose between growing deeper as a church or growing wider as a church—or to put it another way—between making better or making more disciples. We don’t think we have to choose between the two. In fact, we believe we can and must focus on both. . . . We believe it is God’s will that we grow both deeper and wider!”

Keynote speakers Pastor Whiting and Dr. Milo Thompson, founder and president of Christway Ministries and former president of Baptist Bible College of Pennsylvania, addressed the theme “True Relevance,” shedding light on how believers can fulfill the Great Commission without compromising the truth, even when the truth is offensive in our culture.

In addition to Whiting and Thompson, workshop leaders included Dr. Jim Jeffery, president of Baptist Bible College of Pennsylvania; Dr. Howard Bixby, executive vice president of Christway Ministries; Scott Bixby, pastor of outreach and discipleship at Northridge; and Mike Maloney, a Rochester church planter who has seen his church grow to over 250 in less than two years.

“Northridge Church has experienced God’s blessing of growth significantly in the last 10 years,” says Jason DeGraaff, pastoral intern at the church. “Over the last four years, since beginning a building campaign, we have nearly doubled in size, now running approximately 1,100 each Sunday. We were able to share our story of transition and change over the last 10 years of remaining true to the Scriptures while connecting with our culture in a relevant way.”